Sarah Pitney is a Partner at Benach Collopy LLP. Sarah joined Benach Collopy after serving as an immigration attorney for two years Miami, Florida. They have represented clients in various proceedings on both the detained and non-detained dockets before the Immigration Courts. In addition to their experience in deportation defense, Sarah has also represented clients in family-based petitions, adjustment of status, waivers, asylum, and naturalization cases before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Sarah first felt the call to serve the immigrant community in 2008 through their volunteer work with the Central American Resource Center in Washington, DC. While there, they taught citizenship and English classes to permanent residents wishing to naturalize as United States citizens and assisted them with filling out their naturalization applications. This firsthand experience with the immigrant community inspired Sarah to support underserved immigrant populations in any way that they could.
During law school at Florida International University College of Law in Miami, Florida, Sarah served as a student attorney for more than a year through the school’s Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. In this capacity, Sarah represented clients seeking asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture, and cancellation of removal. They received an award for their outstanding contributions to the Clinic.
Since joining Benach Collopy, Sarah has been pleased to devote special attention to working with LGBTQ+ immigrants in seeking lawful status in the United States. They have represented LGBTQ+ asylum seekers before both the Immigration Courts and the Asylum Office, and have assisted LGBTQ+ families in obtaining status based on their relationships. They have also represented LGBTQ+ survivors of violence in seeking U visas. As a non-binary, pansexual person, Sarah feels that serving the LGBTQ+ immigrants in their queer community is one of the most important parts of their practice.
Sarah is also proud to have traveled to the southern border in 2018 and 2019 to work with the exodus of asylum seekers from Central America. With the support of Benach Collopy, Sarah spent several weeks in Tijuana, Mexico volunteering with Al Otro Lado, where they were able to assist hundreds of asylum seekers through know your rights presentations, individualized legal assessment, and preparation of asylum applications and other documents in support of requests to be paroled into the United States. Their time in Mexico only furthered their drive to resist the unlawful, racist policies targeting Black and Brown immigrants.
Sarah is an abolitionist who believes in open borders and an end to detention in all forms. They believe that the current American immigration system is grounded in principles of white supremacy and that it is intentionally designed to keep immigrants out of this country. Sarah understands that the system inflicts extreme trauma on immigrants and incorporates this knowledge into their practice so that they can better provide trauma-informed services.
Sarah is admitted to practice in Florida and Washington, D.C., as well as before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the District Court for the District of Columbia, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. They are an active member of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. They currently serve on the USCIS Field Operations Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, where they work at a national level to provide their colleagues with important information and updates from USCIS. They are fluent in Spanish.
They have two cats, Aurora and Keira.
- AILA National Distance Learning Committee – 2018-2019
- AILA National Diversity and Inclusion Committee – 2018-2020
- AILA DC Chapter Conference Committee – 2018-Present
- AILA DC Litigation Committee – 2018-2019
- Member, National LGBT Bar Association – 2018-Present
- Member, DC Chapter LGBT Bar Association – 2018-Present
- Washington, D.C.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- Florida International University College of Law, JD, 2015
- American University, B.A., Spanish Studies, 2010
- Benach Collopy LLP
- Attorney, 2017-Present
- Todd Law, P.A.
- Associate, 2016-2017
- Law clerk, 2015-2016
- Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic
- Student attorney, 2014-2015
- Dade Legal Aid, 2014
- CARECEN-DC, 2010
- Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, US House of Representatives, 2005
Honors and Awards
- National LGBT Bar’s 40 Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40, Class of 2018
- Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic award for outstanding contributions, 2015
- AILA DC Chapter Pro Bono Award, 2020