Immigrant Justice Corps Announces 2017 Justice Fellows

Immigrant Justice Corps Announces 2017 Justice Fellows

Class_of_2017_JF_final_original_BW25 elite law graduates chosen for selective fellowship to represent immigrants fighting deportation

New York, NY (February 16, 2017) — 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 fellowship class, a select group of talented and promising new lawyers who will represent immigrants fighting deportation and seeking lawful status and citizenship.  Twenty-five graduates from top law schools 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 Robin Hood in 2013.

“These remarkable advocates will inject the whole system of immigrant justice with new energy,” said Judge Katzmann.  “The thousands they will serve will be represented by a good lawyer, well-trained and well-supervised, and will not be prey to those who take advantage of immigrants.”

The new class of fellows brings a wealth of immigration experience.  As befits a national program, they are graduates of the leading law schools with top immigration programs, including: Harvard, NYU, Berkeley, Georgetown, Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn Law, New York Law School, and Pace.  All of the new Justice Fellows are bilingual – 92% of the class speak Spanish; in addition, members of the 2017 class speak Cantonese, Czech, French, Korean, Mandarin and Polish.  Approximately half of them are first-generation immigrants themselves.

The fellows will serve for two years in and around New York City – including the lower Hudson Valley, and on Long Island, and northern New Jersey – as well as in New Haven, Connecticut and Karnes, Texas. They will be placed at top legal services agencies, where they will join the 2016 class of 25 Justice Fellows already in the field.  In August 2016, IJC graduated its inaugural class of 25 Justice Fellows and 96% secured employment in the immigration field.

“The 2017 Fellows will be joining the immigration bar at a moment in time of immense crisis in immigration and their work will make a tremendous difference between an immigrant remaining in the United States with family and deportation,” said Jojo Annobil, the Executive Director of the Program.

Immigrant Justice Corps also employs Community Fellows, college graduates who perform immigration screening and assist with simpler application preparation.  Applications for the next class of Community Fellows are being accepted now at

The full list of 2017 Justice Fellows is as follows:

Erika Arce-Romero Georgetown University Law Center Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Kerry Battenfeld University of Buffalo Erie Volunteers Lawyers Project
Katherine Beck American University Washington College of Law Brooklyn Defender Services
Danelly Bello Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Brooklyn Defender Service
Sarah Burpee Brooklyn Law School Catholic Charities Community Services
Jonathan Campozano Pace Law School Empire Justice Center
Jazmin Chavez American University Washington College of Law Safe Passage Project
Sonya Chung NYU School of Law MinKwon
Ryan Clough George Mason University RAICES
Cassie Estassi Georgetown University Law Center Human Rights First
Lizzie Fulton Berkeley Law School UnLocal
Ben Haldeman University of Connecticut School of Law New Haven Legal Assistance Association
Frances Hartmann NYU School of Law The Bronx Defenders
Ricky He City University of New York Legal Services New York
Imogene Mankin Berkeley Law School The Bronx Defenders
Michelle Martinez Boston University Central American Legal Assistance
Claudine-Annick Murphy Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Immigrant Justice Corps
Hector Ruiz University of California, Hastings College of Law Immigration Equality
Maybeline Saharig Seton Hall Law School New York Legal Assistance Group
Hanne Sandison Harvard Law School American Friends Service Committee
Rachel Searle New York Law School City Bar Justice Center
Marisol Silva University of Florida, Levin College Law Safe Horizon
Natali Soto Boston College Law School Sanctuary for Families
Laura Wooley Fordham Law School Atlas DIY
Halinka Zolcik University of Wyoming College of Law Prisoners Legal Services

The Fellows will begin their intensive training course on September 1, 2017 and be deployed to agencies around the region 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.

IJC dedicated funders include the Robin Hood Foundation, JPB Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Anne and Bernard Spitzer Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation, New York Community Trust, J.M. Kaplan Fund, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.

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