Meet our Class of 2017 Community Fellows


Meet our Class of 2017 Community Fellows

10 elite college graduates chosen for selective fellowship to advocate for vulnerable immigrants

Immigrant Justice Corps (“IJC”), the country’s first fellowship program wholly dedicated to meeting immigrants’ need for high-quality legal assistance, announced today its 2017 Community Fellowship class, a select group of talented and promising new college graduates who will advocate on behalf of vulnerable immigrants seeking lawful status and citizenship.  Ten graduates from top colleges and universities from around the country were chosen for the prestigious fellowship at IJC, which was conceived of by Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and incubated by the Robin Hood Foundation in 2013.

“With their extraordinary, diverse, life experiences, these talented newly minted college graduates will be invaluable as they assist in meeting the aching legal needs of immigrants,” said Judge Katzmann.

The new class of fellows bring a wealth of knowledge, passion, and experience.  As befits a national program, they are graduates of the leading colleges and universities.  All the new Community Fellows are bilingual – 70% of the class speak Spanish; in addition, members of the 2017 class speak Arabic, Mandarin, Korean, Swahili, and Norwegian.

The fellows will serve for two years in and around New York City.  They will be placed at top legal services agencies and community based organizations, where they will join the 2016 class of 11 Community Fellows already in the field.

“The government’s relentless enforcement of immigration laws has created an unprecedented critical need for accurate information, honest advice and quality legal representation in immigrant communities.  I am confident that these exceptional college graduates who share a commitment to helping immigrants in need will be difference makers,” said Jojo Annobil, Executive Director, Immigrant Justice Corps.

Immigrant Justice Corps also employs Justice Fellows, law graduates who represent immigrants fighting deportation and seeking lawful status and citizenship.

The full list of 2017 Community Fellows is as follows:

Isaura Amezcua Georgetown University Project Hospitality/El Centro
Jonathon Burne Williams College Arab American Association of New York
Alexis Buz University of California, San Diego Public Health Solutions
Katia Cardoza University of Texas, Austin UnLocal
Cinthia Class CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem
Dulce Mora Flores Smith College Part of the Solution (“POTS”)
Iris Hsu Northwestern University Queens Public Library
Kit Lee Pomona College Minkwon Center
Kayla Lemus Scripps College Brooklyn Public Library
Christian Wooddell University of Rochester Chinese American Planning Council

The Fellows will begin their intensive training course on September 5th, 2017 and will be deployed to legal services agencies and community based organizations around New York at the end of that month.

About Immigrant Justice Corps

Launched in 2014, Immigrant Justice Corps is the country’s first fellowship program dedicated to meeting the unprecedented need for high-quality legal assistance for immigrants. Since then, IJC has served 28,000 immigrants and their families, and has had a success rate of 93% in its cases – nearly seven times the success rate of those without lawyers or advocates.

IJC’s dedicated funders include the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Ask Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carnegie Foundation,  Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, JPB Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, Leon Levy Foundation, New York Community Trust, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, William E. Simon Foundation, Anne and Bernard Spitzer Foundation, Weinstein Family Foundation, Fragomen Del Rey and the Federal Bar Council, .

Immigrant Justice Corps board includes – William Zabel (chair), founding partner of Schulte, Roth & Zabel, Judge Robert Katzmann, Robert Morgenthau, former District Attorney of New York County, Professor Alina Das of NYU School of Law, former immigration judge Sarah Burr, Steve Kuhn, Co-Founder and President of the Ask Foundation, and Stephanie Khurana, managing director of Draper Richards Kaplan.



Jojo Annobil

Executive Director

Immigrant Justice Corps