The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (NIWAP, pronounced new-app) opened at American University Washington College of Law on April 16, 2012.

NIWAP addresses the needs of immigrant women, immigrant children and immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes by advocating for reforms in law, policy and practice. NIWAP is directed by Leslye E. Orloff whose 29 year career includes working collaboratively with experts across the county to develop and implement immigration relief, public benefits access and family law protections for immigrant women, children and survivors. Rocio Molina, NIWAP's Associate Director, is an immigration expert, formerly with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence forging collaborations between advocates, lawyers and law enforcement to benefit immigrant domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Benish Anver, NIWAP's Policy Staff Attorney, graduated from the American University Washington College of Law in 2013 and is a former NIWAP Dean's Fellow. NIWAP's Resource Coordinator, Levi Wolberg, brings IT expertise crucial to the distribution of information about our trainings and technical assistance and to distribution of NIWAP materials, resources, policy analysis, research and monographs through our web library at niwaplibrary.wcl.american.edu.

Some of the services and resources NIWAP provides:

News:

April 21, 2014: Video "Hands-on Training on Trauma-Informed Work" posted

This two hour online training for advocates and attorneys working with immigrant crime victims will teach techniques (including physical body language communication) to facilitate information gathering from clients who are suffering the effects of trauma during the process of developing affidavits recounting the personal details of their ordeals.

View the video at our YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/watch?v=05Z95q1bkG4

A higher quality version of the video will be uploaded soon!

April 7 , 2014: Benish Anver (JD '13, WCL) hired as Policy Staff Attorney!

We are excited to welcome Benish Anver, who has worked with NIWAP first as a Dean's Fellow and then as the first Immigrant Women Law and Policy Fellow, as our newest staff member! Her full bio is below.

Benish Anver is currently the Policy Staff Attorney at the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP) at American University Washington College of Law. NIWAP advocates for laws, policies, and practices that enhance legal options for immigrant women and immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Prior to this position, Benish worked with NIWAP as its first Immigrant Women, Law and Policy Fellow and as a Dean’s Fellow while she was a student at the Washington College of Law. She was involved in research and development of various training materials for prosecutors and law enforcement officials, addressing best practices for cases involving immigrant women that are victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act. As the Immigrant Women, Law and Policy Fellow and as a Dean’s Fellow at NIWAP, she co-authored several publications on immigrant victims’ legal rights and also researched and developed policy recommendations to the Board of Immigration Appeals regarding effective and efficient methods of determining U-visa cases, as well as policy recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education and White House staff on issues impacting immigrant victims of crime.

Benish worked as a Law Clerk in the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary for the Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein, where she worked on various policy areas, including gun control legislation, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and access to benefits for same-sex couples. She also worked as a Legislative Intern in the Office of Senator Jeanne Shaheen, where she researched various policy issues, including employment, foreign policy, and women’s issues. At the Washington College of Law, Benish served as President of the South Asian Law Students’ Association, Symposium Editor for the American University National Security Law Brief, and was a student attorney with the International Human Rights Law Clinic. She received her J.D., cum laude, from American University Washington College of Law in May 2013 and a Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude, in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University in 2008.

January 14, 2014: Seminar Projects for Immigrant Women: Law and Policy Spring semester course.

The list of seminar projects for the Immigrant Women: Law and Policy course outlines some of the projects that NIWAP is currently working on. Click here to download it.

August 16, 2013: DHS Roll Call Trainings now online! Plus, updates on our Office of Violence Against Women (OVW)-sponsored webinar series.

The DHS roll call training videos for law enforcement were released on June 14, 2013! They can be viewed on the web at NIWAP's YouTube channel: Part I and Part II. For assistance in downloading the videos, please contact us at info@niwap.org.

We are also excited to announce that we will be extending our popular series of webinars on topics relevant to those who work with immigrant crime victims from five webinars to seven! Keep an eye on our upcoming trainings page for announcements.

August 15, 2013: NIWAP seeks one Dean's Fellow and one undergraduate intern for paid Fall 2013 positions

Click the "Opportunities at NIWAP" link on the left to learn more! Questions? Email Levi at wolberg@wcl.american.edu.

August 8, 2013: The "Immigrant Women: Law and Policy" Course Syllabus has now been posted

This Fall 2013 course will be taught by Leslye Orloff and Rocio Molina, and will include work on a NIWAP project. From the course description:

"This two-credit seminar will examine role of legislative/administrative lawyering in developing and implementing laws, regulation and public policies. This course will review the legislative, administrative and policy gains in legal rights under U.S. laws that have been made on behalf of immigrant women, children and particularly immigrant victims of violence against women (domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking). Students will learn about the role lawyers played in these accomplishments: drafting legislation, negotiating bipartisan agreements, drafting implementing regulations and policy guidance, collecting stories, documenting emerging unaddressed needs, and crafting public policy solutions that would work for immigrant victims, women and children.

"This course will provide students the opportunity to develop the skills and talents required of a good legislative/administrative lawyer who works in and/or with state, local and federal government agency personnel. Legislative/administrative lawyers practice law at the intersection of policy, advocacy and politics. Their legal expertise combines with an understanding of the political dynamics of legislative and administrative systems enabling them to forge public policy solutions to problems that are effective, creative and politically achievable."

View the syllabus HERE.

February 1, 2013: Join the Immigrant Women Research and Policy Analysis Team!

Interested in public policy research? Want the opportunity to inform lawmakers and government agencies on immigrant women’s issues?

The National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP) at American University Washington College of Law advocates for laws, policies and practices that enhance legal options for immigrant women and immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.

NIWAP is seeking volunteer law students to assist in public policy research and analysis of proposals to reform laws, government regulations, and federal, state and local policies.  Spring semester Research and Policy Analysis launch topics will include:

  • Women and Immigration Reform
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes including VAWA 2013
  • Enhancing protections, legal rights, options and access to services for immigrant crime victims
  • Work will involve cutting edge emerging issues in immigration, family, public benefits, and language access laws and the intersections between these laws in the lives of immigrant women and children

Team members will work with NIWAP staff on legal and social science research, analyzing proposed legislation, drafting potential legislative, regulatory and policy solutions. Team projects will be published and available to the public, policy makers, legislators, and federal government agencies. 

Positions available immediately!  Minimum commitment: 8 hours a week.  Students seeking volunteers or students interested in an independent study credit.  Positions on team open until filled. To apply, send a resume, writing sample, and cover letter discussing your connection to and/or interest in these issues, topics of greatest interest, and details about your reasearch and writing experience to niwap@wcl.american.edu

This is a great opportunity to learn more about issues affecting immigrant women, the legislation process and to get pro bono and volunteer hours!

Contact NIWAP Director Leslye Orloff for more information at (202) 210-8886 or (202) 274-4371; niwap@wcl.american.edu

Services Available:

More About NIWAP:

NIWAP is a national provider of training, legal and social science research, policy development, and technical assistance to advocates, attorneys, pro bono law firms, law schools, universities, law enforcement, prosecutors, social service and health care providers, justice system personnel, and other professionals who work with immigrant women, children and crime victims. Our work supports for those in the field and in government who work to improve laws, regulations, policies, and practices to enhance legal options and opportunities for immigrant women and children.

NIWAP provides training and technical assistance on a broad range of issues of importance to immigrant women and children, including VAWA immigration and confidentiality, family law, protection orders, public benefits, language access, cultural competency, and access to services, including shelter, transitional housing, health care, and education.

Through our work at the Washington College of Law, NIWAP will engage a new generation of lawyers and advocates in work that benefits immigrant women, children, and immigrant survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes.

Contact NIWAP:

National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project, Washington College of Law at American University
Street Address: 4910 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 16, Lower Level
Mailing Address: 4801 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
phone: 202.274.4457
fax: 202.274.4226