IJC News

"An accelerant to the engine of social change."

We were lucky to be joined by several new host organizations in 2020, legal services providers and community organizations that never before had the opportunity to host an IJC Fellow in the past. And in 2020, every organization fighting for justice needed all the capacity they could get. 

We reached out to those partners to see if they could share with us the impact IJC Fellows have had in their organizations. Here is what they had to say:

“Our IJC Fellow, Paloma Guerrero, is the first lawyer in our entire state to work full time defending people detained by ICE. We could measure her impact by the number of people who have walked free after her advocacy. Or by the degree to which she is increasingly looked to as a dynamic community leader, or to the growing interest in immigration detention in our state. The point is that hosting an IJC Fellow isn’t just adding a lawyer. It’s adding an accelerant to the engine of social change.”

Michael Kagan, UNLV Immigration Clinic

“Because of their incredible work, tireless advocacy, and passionate commitment to their clients, our IJC Fellows have enabled us to significantly expand our removal defense program in California’s Central Valley, where there is a severe shortage of both private and pro bono immigration attorneys able to represent individuals facing deportation. They have provided access to justice for dozens of families who would otherwise not have been able to secure representation in their loved ones’ immigration cases.”

Marcus Tang, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation

“Our IJC Fellow Diego Menendez-Estrada has brought a breath of fresh air and new life to our program. Like every non-profit legal service provider, we are perennially understaffed and overstretched. How wonderful it has been to receive the infusion of new energy, passion, hunger to learn, and capacity for zealous advocacy that Diego brings. He is always up for taking on the most challenging cases and cutting-edge issues. He has quickly become such an integral part of our team that it is hard for us to imagine how we functioned without him.”

Monica Glicken, Public Law Center

“Cindy Ramirez has worked tirelessly to provide trauma-informed representation to clients in detention, even amidst the ongoing pandemic. Through her work, BakerRipley has not only expanded its capacity to represent clients who are detained, but has also implemented a community defender approach to detained immigration legal services. Cindy has been successful in obtaining favorable outcomes – including immigration relief and release from detention – for many of her clients, and BakerRipley is proud that she is a part of our team.”

Kristen Cates, BakerRipley

“Our IJC Fellows have been instrumental in adapting immigration representation during COVID-19. In their first month, the Community Fellows worked with people in detention, drafting declarations, locating experts, and researching country conditions reports for people going to trial. IJC fellows are instrumental as we launch a bill to support Universal Representation in Maryland.”

Kelly White, CAIR Coalition

“The immigration legal services department of Catholic Charities of Central Florida strive to implement Catholic social teachings by assisting our growing immigrant community. Having Brenda Garcia, our wonderful IJC Fellow, has allowed us to expand on our charitable goals. Brenda is able to assist the most vulnerable in our population: children, survivors of human trafficking, and victims of domestic violence. Having her allows us to offer these services without added financial stress to the client.”

Vanessa McCarthy, Catholic Charities of Central Florida

The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project is thrilled to serve as a first time IJC host to Fellow Amy Kimbel. With a caseload of challenging removal defense cases, Amy has had great success before the judges in our hostile jurisdiction, securing the release of numerous clients while helping to move the team forward and expand its reach on cases of interest. As an IJC host organization, the Florence Project is grateful to be able to increase its capacity and provide its clients with high-quality representation during these particularly challenging times.

Anthony Pelino, The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project

“2020 was a critical year for VOLS’ DACA clients between a looming Supreme Court decision and the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emma Morgenstern, our IJC Fellow, was a critical part of our small immigration team as we triaged through multiple crises while the Trump administration rammed through the last of anti-immigrant policies before the November elections.”

Sin Yen Ling, Volunteers of Legal Service