This month, we are so pleased to celebrate our client Edimilson Mendes Ferreira, who just won his case to remain in the United States with his family after years of waiting in Immigration Court. Edimilson has lived in the United States for nearly two decades. In that time, he has raised two daughters and become a grandfather to three US citizen grandchildren. He has started his own successful housecleaning business, which he has now run for over a decade, servicing clients throughout the greater Washington region.
Earlier this month, Ava Benach received the Fenner Award for Public Service from Whitman Walker Health Legal Services. She got it for doing what she does best– winning cases! The award recognizes the unique relationship that Benach Collopy has formed with Whitman Walker Health. Whitman Walker Health is the premier health care provider serving the LGBT community in Washington DC. Since its founding in the early days of the HIV crisis, WWH has expanded its services to provide more holistic assistance to its community.
Today, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, I am thinking about the M.S. St. Louis. In 1939, while war waged in Europe, the M.S. St. Louis, a transatlantic ship carrying Jewish refugees fleeing the Third Reich, reached U.S. waters by way of Hamburg and Havana. Seeking protection from persecution and a safe place to start over with their families, these refugees hoped to be admitted to the United States of America.
On June 30, 2016, over 300 people gathered to celebrate Immigration Judge Paul Wickham Schmidt and to wish him well in his retirement after a truly remarkable career. For nearly fifteen years, Judge Schmidt was one of the giants of our local court in Arlington, VA. Here is his official biography from the Executive Office for Immigration Review and my comments after: Judge Schmidt was appointed as an Immigration Judge in May 2003.
Since last summer, when the Obama Administration hastily resurrected the concept of family detention to jail refugee women and children seeking asylum, thousands of women and children have languished in inhumane conditions, have been refused meaningful access to counsel and interpreters, have been hurled through bond proceedings with predetermined results, and have been sent directly and expeditiously back to the danger from which they fled – all in violation of U.S.
We are thrilled to welcome and announce the newest addition to our BR family, Elanie Cintron. Elanie has joined us in DC as an associate attorney from North Carolina by way of Brooklyn, New York (where she received countless awards and honors as a law student at Hofstra University, including the prestigious Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Fellowship) and Denver, Colorado (where she immediately set herself apart as a rising star in the immigration field as an associate attorney with powerhouse firm Lichter Immigration).
(Water tower in the remote town of Artesia, NM) I have recently returned from my trip to the detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, after 5 days of pro bono legal work on behalf of the refugee women and children detained there. After five 20-hour work days and personally experiencing all of the awful and heartbreaking things that I saw, I have returned exhausted and emotionally drained, but also inspired by the strength of these refugees and the dedication of my fellow volunteers.
Tomorrow I will be heading to Artesia, New Mexico – unfortunately not to tour the beautiful Southwest, but rather, to address the smothering of due process at the remote Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which has been converted into a detention center for women and children who have fled horrific violence and danger in Central America. In Artesia, women and children are being detained at length in inhumane conditions, intimidated and coerced by immigration officers, refused a chance for a fair hearing and access to counsel, hurled through a removal process with predetermined results, and ultimately, being sent directly and expeditiously back to the danger from which they fled – all in violation of U.S.
Our country is facing one of its greatest moral challenges in years: how will we treat the migrant children fleeing violence in Central America and seeking refuge within our borders? I know how I want us to treat them. Fairly, humanely, and within the parameters of the anti-trafficking law passed by bipartisan consensus in 2008 and signed by then-President George W. Bush. Under the TVPRA of 2008, a child apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) undergoes initial processing and screening to see if he or she is an unaccompanied child (UAC) from a non-contiguous country, such as El Salvador, Honduras, or Guatemala.
This post was written by Adilene Nunez and Francisco Lopez, law students at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. Meeting our client and gaining his trust In the fall of 2013, a man sat in an office at Catholic Charities awaiting our arrival. Neither of us had ever advocated on behalf of a client, so we were both nervous. Although our professors trained us in our clinic about how to interview a client and how to gather the facts and evidence to build a strong case, we were not sure what to expect from our client.