Selected from 375 applicants, Jeffrey Simon L’22 is one of 20 law students who will serve in the 2020 class of the Equal Justice Works Immigration Summer Legal Corps.
Through the Immigration Summer Legal Corps, “Student Fellows” are hosted at legal services organizations, where they spend eight to ten weeks during the summer helping to expand high-quality comprehensive legal services and resources for low-income immigrants. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Student Fellows will work remotely this summer to support the efforts of their host organization.
Simon will be hosted by Tahirih Justice Center, which represents immigrants who are victims of gender-based violence. He will spend the summer supporting Tahirih-Atlanta’s representation of survivors at the Immigration Court level and assisting with the development of the organization’s Atlanta Appellate Project. Simon’s project aims to make the asylum process more equitable for survivors appearing before the Atlanta Immigration Court, and more broadly, to shift the needle on Atlanta’s two to four percent asylum grant rate through strategic appellate work.
“It is an incredible honor to receive this fellowship. This work means everything to me,” said Simon.
“Through the Immigration Summer Legal Corps, Simon will have the opportunity to pursue his passion for immigration advocacy as he works to ensure a fair review process for asylum seekers,” said Aoife Delargy Lowe, Director of Law School Engagement and Advocacy at Equal Justice Works. “We look forward to seeing the impact of his work at Tahirih Justice Center.”
Originally from the suburbs of Detroit, Simon majored in chemistry and physics at the University of Michigan. Before arriving at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, he taught high school science through Teach for America.
Simon decided to pursue a law degree after confronting the law’s power to create or remove barriers for people like his students.
“In 2012, I was teaching in the immigrant community of Passaic, New Jersey when President Obama signed the DACA executive order. Hundreds of students at my school benefited from the program,” Simon said, “but the experience really brought to light the heartbreaking legal barriers that undocumented students face. I just wanted my students to be able to live out full, meaningful lives, and I felt it was deeply wrong that they were denied opportunities because they were born on the wrong side of the border. I applied to the Immigration Summer Legal Corps fellowship because I want to dedicate my career to removing barriers to a better life for the incredible people who risk everything to come to this country.
Penn Law has a long history of supporting its students and recent graduates as they pursue public interest careers through fellowships. Read more about the Law School’s commitment to public interest on the website of the Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC).