Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) is proud to partner with legal services and community-based organizations on the frontlines of the fight to expand access to immigrant justice. This year, we were lucky to be joined by host organizations striving to meet the needs of immigrant communities in less resourced geographies. And in 2022, every organization fighting for immigrant justice needed all the capacity they could get to keep immigrant families together.
We asked our partners to share the impact IJC Fellows had on their organizations and immigrant communities. Here is what they had to say.
“The skill, energy, and dedication of our IJC Fellows have been invaluable to our mission of providing holistic defense to our clients caught in the arrest to deportation pipeline. As enforcement trends, pandemic related policies, and backlogs have fluctuated wildly over the past several years, our IJC Fellows have helped us to remain flexible in meeting our clients’ various and often dire needs for legal support and defense. The impact our IJC Fellows have had on our practice has been truly and enormously significant.”
Tracy J. Lawson, Brooklyn Defender Services
“The last year has been challenging for the communities that we serve on so many levels. Many of them were still enduring financial, medical, and emotional hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which made it harder for them to secure quality legal representation. Having Andrea Barrientos, our amazing IJC fellow, on our team allowed us to expand our ability to offer critical legal services during this difficult time for many of our clients. She has quickly learned to navigate a complex docket of cases at a time of changing federal immigration policies. We are so grateful for IJC’s partnership and commitment to developing talented immigration attorneys like Andrea and expanding access to high-quality counsel.”
Harold Solis, Make the Road New York
“The IJC Fellows hosted by Proyecto Dilley are on the frontlines of humanitarian asylum advocacy every day. Each new class of fellows brings an unparalleled energy and ingenuity to the service of detained asylum seekers. They are oftentimes the very first friendly face that a newly arrived asylum seeker encounters. They are often the only people standing in the migrant’s corner in the arena of immigration law. From that vantage point, the IJC Fellows fight for the rights of asylum seekers facing rapid deportation or expulsion and confront a constantly changing system designed to strip asylum seekers of their right to request protection in the U.S. In short, the IJC Fellows are the unthwarted champions of fair access to our asylum system.”
Allison E. Herre, Proyecto Dilley (TRLA – Texas Rio Grand Legal Aid)
“MRNJ is so grateful to have hosted two amazing fellows, Anjelica Mantikas and Lauren Schusterman, the past few years. Thanks to their brilliant work, their dedication to their clients, and the creativity and determination they have brought to our team, MRNJ has been able to greatly expand our services. With their help we have been able to tackle several complex and resource-intensive cases that would have otherwise been beyond our capacity. For example, in the height of COVID-19, we worked to secure the release of a young NJ resident with intellectual disabilities who was detained and transferred out of state to Georgia. After careful briefing and several requests for additional evidence, one of our clients recently received a TPS approval under the late filing exception for initial registrants, and we have continued to challenge, both at USCIS and with the ombudsman’s office, unjust fee-waiver denials which impact so many of our clients and prevent them from accessing relief. We so much appreciate the IJC program for connecting us with these amazing attorneys who have fought tirelessly to advance justice for immigrant communities.”
Lauren Herman, Make the Road New Jersey
“Amid the challenges of the pandemic, our IJC Fellows have provided the latest infusion of energy and talent to continue our nearly 4 decades of serving the immigrant community on Long Island. Two of our recent Justice Fellows, Andres Santamaria Cortes and Pablo Jimenez, have accepted permanent positions at CARECEN, providing consultations to the historically underserved community of immigrants on Long Island. These consultations offer a critical first step for Long Island immigrants who struggle to find quality legal advice at no cost, simultaneously protecting them from notario fraud and providing them with the knowledge and potential representation they need to address their needs. We’re also thrilled that our Community Fellow, Steven Vivas, will be staying with CARECEN for an additional year staffing a special project created to serve the Afghan Parolee population on Long Island. Two more Justice Fellow alumni, Emerson Argueta and Megan Elman, who serve as supervising attorneys, are critical to the training and mentorship of the next generation of immigration attorneys on Long Island. With IJC and its excellent cohorts of fellows, CARECEN is poised to continue our decades long work supporting Long Island’s immigrants.”
Emerson Argueta, Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN)
We still have a lot of work to do before we achieve universal representation. But we are so proud of the work we’ve done with our partners in immigrant communities. With over 70 active Fellows embedded in over 40 host organizations in 15 states, we’re adding capacity so that they can help tens of thousands of immigrant families. IJC will persist until every single immigrant who needs a lawyer has access to affordable quality counsel.