Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) is thrilled to announce our seventh class of Justice Fellows. Selected for their compassion, intellect, and commitment to immigrants’ rights, the 2020 Fellows will bring their many skills to bear on this acutely emerging representation crisis in immigration.
Twenty-six graduates from top law schools around the country were chosen for the prestigious Fellowship at IJC. The Class of 2020 Fellows come to IJC with already-impressive backgrounds, including education in the nation’s most well-regarded immigration law programs and years of cumulative experience as client advocates.
All the 2020 Justice Fellows are bilingual and fluent in Spanish, among other languages. This year, the number of Justice Fellow applications received by IJC rose by 34 percent.
“This remarkably gifted incoming class of Immigrant Justice Corps Fellows will make all the difference for the thousands of immigrants they will represent and their families, providing the highest quality of legal counsel, so necessary if justice for all is to be realized,” said IJC’s founder, Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The Fellows will serve for two years as staff attorneys at strategically-selected legal services agencies and community-based organizations across the country, providing legal assistance to low-income immigrants in an array of immigration matters including deportation defense and affirmative applications for those fleeing persecution.
“Every immigrant, regardless of status, should be treated with respect and dignity and afforded access to justice through high-quality legal services,” said IJC’s Executive Director, Jojo Annobil. “We are extremely excited and energized to welcome these immensely talented Justice Fellows who are launching their legal careers at such a critical time for immigrants’ rights.”
Immigrant Justice Corps is excited to announce that six members of our Class of 2020 Justice Fellowship will be part of a two-year Access to Counsel Initiative in partnership with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition that will provide merits blind universal representation to all Prince George’s County, Maryland residents detained in immigration custody.
The initiative will extend quality legal counsel to all residents of Prince George’s County who are detained without representation in detention centers across Maryland. As many as 81 percent of detained immigrants in the state proceed unrepresented in immigration court. On any given day, there are at least 300 Prince George’s County residents detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Maryland.
“High-quality legal assistance is the most direct intervention available to support immigrant families facing the risk of detention and deportation. We are confident that together with CAIR Coalition, this two-year pilot in Maryland will show how access to counsel, regardless of the merits of the case, results in better outcomes for immigrants, their families and for justice and due process,” said Jojo Annobil, IJC’s Executive Director.
Starting in September 2020, the six Justice Fellows, along with three Community Fellows, will be assigned to CAIR Coalition to assist in providing legal representation to every single unrepresented detained person in Prince George’s County. This is the largest ever cohort of IJC Fellows assigned to one host site, and will significantly expand access to lifesaving representation in the area.
“Immigrant Justice Corps, by providing true universal representation to all Prince George’s County residents detained by ICE, is shining a beacon of light for all of our communities at risk of immigration detention,” said Eric Lopez, CAIR Coalition’s Managing Attorney.
The initiative will also be supported by $300,000 in funding from Prince George’s County, which builds on the county’s existing support of immigrants and families through its investment in the Immigration Services & Language Assistance (ISLA) Initiative.
“Prince Georgians benefit when all our residents have the opportunity to thrive and civically engage in our communities,” said Prince George’s County Council Member Deni Taveras. “With the support of the Immigrant Justice Corps, the ISLA initiative will offer legal counsel and support to all Prince Georgians detained. The expansion in services will keep our communities’ diverse tapestry intact and minimize the social and economic impact caused by family separation.”
In addition to this expansion, IJC Fellows will also be sent to two new host organizations this year: Innovation Law Lab in El Paso, Texas and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) in Fresno, California.