Q: Tell us about your fellowship, including where you’re working, the problems that you’re responding to, and the goals of your project.
A: I started as a Catalyst Fellow with the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) in September of 2020. As a fellow with RMIAN’s Detention Program, I represented clients detained at the immigration detention facility in Aurora, Colorado, on a variety of matters before the Aurora Immigration Court and Board of Immigration Appeals. Individuals detained in immigration detention centers often face prolonged detention and frequently do not have the benefit of legal counsel. The goal of my fellowship was to provide direct representation to indigent clients who otherwise would have been forced to navigate the immigration process pro se.
In March of 2021, I transitioned from my fellowship to a Staff Attorney position with the Legal Orientation Program at RMIAN.
Q: How did your experiences before and during law school lead you to this project or public interest generally?
A: As a student, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in internships, clinics, and student groups that sustained and fueled my passion for public interest work and immigrants’ rights.
During my summers, I interned for Lawyers for Human Rights in Pretoria, South Africa and for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Tacoma, Washington. I had the wonderful experience of working as a student-attorney in the Transnational Legal Clinic and the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic.
Finally, I worked as a student volunteer and then student leader with the Penn Law Immigrant Rights Project and the International Refugee Assistance Project. All of these experiences opened my eyes to the many challenges and injustices immigrants in our country face on a daily basis and provided me with the skills and knowledge necessary to play a role in addressing these inequities and defending the rights of immigrants.
Q: Thus far, what accomplishment during your fellowship are you most proud of?
A: I am most proud of the positive results that I have been able to achieve working together with my clients. During the six months of my fellowship, I worked with my clients to secure bond and humanitarian parole so that they could continue to fight their cases from outside of detention, won cancellation of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture so that they could remain safely in the United States, and successfully argued for the termination of removal proceedings so that they could keep their green cards and remain permanent residents of the United States.