Clients of the Month March 2016- Mekonnen and Hanna Firew

Clients of the Month March 2016- Mekonnen and Hanna Firew Our client of the month for March 2016 is Mekonnen Firew.  Mekonnen and his wife Hanna are two of the strongest, most resilient people we have ever worked with at Benach Collopy.  They fled Ethiopia in fear for their lives after suffering horrific violence at the hands of the Ethiopian government, who wrongfully believed them to be working with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) because of their Oromo ethnicity.  

Benach Collopy Announces Summer Fellowship for Law Students Interested in Trans Asylum Issues

Benach Collopy Announces Summer Fellowship for Law Students Interested in Trans Asylum Issues       I have been so lucky to get to know so many brave, hard-working, family-oriented, and generous people from all over the globe. They all shared one thing in common: a willingness to take a chance to come to the U.S. to be the person they knew they were meant to be. -Ava Benach Description of Fellowship Surging violence against transgender and gender nonconforming communities worldwide continue to force a record number of individuals to seek protection at U.S.

Dree Collopy on Central American Refugees and Asylum Law

Writing in today’s Leadership Blog from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Dree Collopy explains the fundamentals of asylum law the critics, journalists, and politicians fail to understand: Any refusal to recognize gender-motivated violence such as rape and domestic violence as persecution worthy of protection under the Immigration and Nationality Act and the U.N. Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees reflects a complete lack of understanding of women’s relationship to the state and their own governments’ failure to provide adequate protection. 

Como Protegerse si ICE Llega a la Casa

Hay muchas noticias que ICE empezara unos en enero.  Todavia, el gobierno no ha anunciado eso, pero, en el espíritu de empoderamiento y lucha, queremos ofrecer algunos consejos sobre cómo responder sí ICE (la migra) llega a su puerta: NO ABRA LA PUERTA. PREGUNTE QUE LE MUESTREN UNA ORDEN JUDICIAL (“WARRANT”). ICE no puede entrar a su casa sin una orden firmada por un juez. Usted no tiene que abrir la puerta.

How to Protect Yourself in Case of an ICE Raid in Your Home

How to Protect Yourself in Case of an ICE Raid in Your Home Este aviso tambien disponible en español. Happy New Year!  Have an ICE raid! By now, everyone has heard that the Obama administration plans to celebrate the new year by rounding up families and removing them to Central America.  The administration hopes that the images of Central American families coming off of planes in San Salvador and Tegucigalpa will dissuade thousands of Central Americans from fleeing the violence and persecution that threaten their lives on a daily basis. 

Muslim Immigrants to US Were Abused before Trump Started Name-Calling

Muslim Immigrants to US Were Abused before Trump Started Name-Calling Let’s start here: Donald Trump is an abomination.  From his slander of Mexicans as rapists to the violence he incites and tolerates at his rallies to his latest outrages of suggesting a database and a ban on admission of Muslims to the United States, there is no public figure more odious or contemptible than Donald Trump.  And he is a danger.  He incites people to violence, encourages hate and discrimination, and generally contributes to the dumbing down of our culture. 

100 Women 100 Miles- A Vigil for Immigrant Justice by Naya Gonzalez

100 Women 100 Miles- A Vigil for Immigrant Justice by Naya Gonzalez   This post was written by BR’s administrative services manager, Naya Gonzalez. 100 women, 100 miles. Waving banners, singing hymns, pushing strollers and full of hope – that’s how 100 women walked 100 miles from an immigration detention center in York, Pennsylvania all the way to Washington, DC, where they arrived Tuesday night. They were inspired by Pope Francis’s call to justice for immigrants all over the world: “We must respond to the globalization of migration with the globalization of charity and cooperation,” the Pope has said.

Naturalization victory after four years, three lawsuits and three USCIS interviews

Naturalization victory after four years, three lawsuits and three USCIS interviews   After a years-long battle, a client of ours was recently sworn in as a United States citizen after his naturalization victory.  Why is this significant? Because in 20 years of practicing immigration law, it’s difficult to recall the government being so fiercely opposed to naturalizing someone. Over a decade ago, our client – a U.S. lawful permanent resident – was engaged in serious criminal activity. In 2003, he was arrested and pled guilty in federal court to possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

Supreme Court Socks it to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Mellouli

Supreme Court Socks it to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Mellouli Yesterday, in a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an immigrant who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor paraphernalia charge for concealing pills in his sock cannot be deported for the offense. Simply stated, Moones Mellouli faced the possibility of deportation for possession of a sock. Mellouli, who came to the U.S. on a student visa from Tunisia in 2004, graduated with honors from U.S.

Cheer Caitlyn, But Learn About Nicoll and Marichuy

Cheer Caitlyn, But Learn About Nicoll and Marichuy Much of the world rejoiced yesterday upon seeing the photos of Caitlyn Jenner’s exquisite transformation on the cover of the June issue of Vanity Fair.  Much of the commentary I saw focused not so much on her physical appearance, but how she looked at peace and contented to be herself.  As an immigration lawyer who has represented many trans asylum seekers, I know and have seen that look.