AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Fall 2012

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Spotlight u Lewis Helps Individuals Own the Dream has planned Pro Bono DACA legal clinics across the state since that time. Connecticut Legal Services New Britain, CT Joanne Lewis W the AILA Connecticut chapter saw a great need and a great opportunity to help in providing assistance for those who qualified. Advocates, legal organizations, private attorneys and non-profits came together to launch the "Own the Dream CT Coalition," which hen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was announced in June, Joanne Lewis, the chair of the AILA Connecticut Pro Bono Committee, led the effort to recruit volunteer attorneys. With her help, the coalition has organized 6 DACA Application Clinics across the state, with 4 more scheduled for November. To date, these efforts have assisted more than 200 individuals with their applications. Joanne serves as an attorney with Connecticut Legal Services (CLS) where she has spent more than 35 years representing legal services clients in a wide variety of legal matters. Joanne and her colleague, Massiel Zucco, also an attorney from CLS, developed a DACA program within CLS so that their organization could provide free legal representation to "With [Joanne's] help, the coalition has organized 6 DACA Application Clinics across the state, with 4 more scheduled for November." low-income DACA applicants. With their leadership, over 10 CLS attorneys were trained and are currently assisting DACA applicants throughout the state. Joanne's commitment to immigrant youth is longstanding; she actively lobbied for the Connecticut In- State Tuition Bill for undocumented students in 2007 when it was vetoed by Governor Rell, and again in 2011 when it finally passed. Since 2005, Joanne has worked with the Connecticut Domestic Violence Legal Assistance Partnership Initiative to assist immigrant survivors of domestic violence in retaining their CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: CONNECTICUT The AILA Connecticut Chapter is working with CT4aDream and SOMOS CT to provide attorneys for their pro bono clinics. To date there have been five clinics, with five more scheduled through the middle of November. Clinics have been well attended and have assisted more than 130 applicants. More than half the attendees have left with their applications complete or nearly complete. In addition, there are two legal services programs with AILA security and immigration status. She supervises staff and volunteers throughout Connecticut who handle immigration and domestic violence cases, while also assisting immigrant permanent residents with disabilities to become naturalized citizens. Joanne also fought discrimination in housing; she was a member of the New Haven Fair Rent Commission for almost 10 years, serving as its chair for much of that period. In addition to her efforts on behalf of the disenfranchised, Joanne serves the legal community by providing training in legal skills through the New England Consortium of Legal Services Programs and the Center for Legal Aid Education. We applaud Joanne's contributions to the Connecticut AILA chapter, the state bar, and, most importantly, to those most in need of legal help. members on staff that are assisting low-income DACA applicants through these legal clinics and by providing individual representa- tion. Potential applicants who are not able to complete applications at these clinics are referred to these programs and given a list of resources including the International Institute of Connecticut and AILA. One AILA member who works at a large firm has agreed to supervise several other attorneys to handle low-income DACA ap- plicants who are first screened by legal service providers. 2

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