Two AUWCL Students Named as 2017 Immigrant Justice Corps Fellows
Two American University Washington College of Law students have been named to the 2017 class of Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) Fellows. The program is the country’s first fellowship dedicated to meeting the need for high quality legal assistance for immigrants seeking citizenship and fighting deportation.
Professor Amanda Frost, acting director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic and director of the SJD Program said, “The Immigrant Justice Corps selects the best and the brightest law school graduates committed to representing immigrants. We are proud that every year students from American University Washington College of Law have been selected as IJC fellows, following in the footsteps of the many AUWCL alums playing a leadership role in immigration law and policy.”
Under the supervision of experienced lawyers at partner non-profit legal services providers and community-based organizations, the fellows will continue the work they have been involved with at AUWCL by offering a broad range of immigration assistance, including naturalization, deportation defense, and affirmative application for asylum seekers, juveniles, and victims of crime, domestic violence, or human trafficking.
Katherine saw the impact of the U.S. deportation crisis on migrants while working in Guatemala. Inspired to serve individuals facing the immigration system alone, she worked for five years with detained unaccompanied children with ProBAR on the Texas-Mexico border, and with adults and children at Ayuda in Washington, D.C. Her clients and her colleagues motivated her to pursue a law degree.
While at AUWCL, Katherine interned with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Immigration Department at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She is a Public Interest/Public Service Scholar and co-chair of the Immigrants' Rights Coalition. Katherine is also a student attorney in the Immigrant Justice Clinic where she is currently defending a client against deportation. She is honored to return home to New York City to serve with the Immigrant Justice Corps. She will be placed at Brooklyn Defender Services, providing critical deportation defense to immigrants facing criminal charges. Katherine said, “I am grateful to the AUWCL community for its support and will proudly represent the law school after graduation.”
Jazmin’s desire to be an immigration attorney stems from her childhood. Seeing her parents face significant obstacles in navigating the complex immigration process when they arrived in the U.S. from Peru inspired her to become an advocate for low-income immigrants. To prepare her for this work, she sought internship experiences at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, the ABA Commission on Immigration, and The Legal Aid Society. She also participated in the Women and the Law Clinic at American University Washington College of Law. Jazmin will be working at Safe Passage Project where she will provide direct representation to unaccompanied minors in New York.
“I have been passionate about immigration law and becoming an advocate for immigrants' rights from a young age,” says Jazmin. “When I was 11 years old, my parents decided to leave our home country of Peru in pursuit of safety and more abundant opportunities in the United States. My experiences taught me firsthand that immigration matters are long, complex, and frustrating – and that this is further compounded when one lacks money, language skills, and adequate legal representation. My family was fortunate to have excellent legal assistance, and without it, we would likely be undocumented.”
Jazmin continued, “I feel that my time at AUWCL has prepared me with the knowledge, skills, practical experience, and mentorship that I need to continue my path in helping others transition to valid legal status as I know that is the most direct way to fight inequality and poverty. “
Launched in 2014 by Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to address the growing issue of inadequate representation in New York City and across the country, the Immigrant Justice Corps has represented more than 2,000 families in complex immigration matters.
Click here for the full IJC press release.