AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Fall 2012

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CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: GEORGIA-ALABAMA Maggio Fellow Recounts 'Amazing' Summer by Sarah McDonagh, 2012 Maggio Fellow L The Latin American Association (LAA), in partnership with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Georgia-Alabama Chapter, and the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) hosted a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Application Assistance Day on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at the Latin American Association in Atlanta, Georgia. The purpose of the event was to assist participants with no criminal background who demonstrated economic need (income less than 125% of the federal poverty guidelines). Forty-seven AILA members volunteered their time to provide information about the application process and eligibility per the requirements outlined by USCIS, and assisted individual participants in completing their applications. Thanks to the overwhelming support of community volunteers and AILA chapter members, we helped over 200 applicants who wish to continue their education, improve their lives, and contribute to society. In addition to the DACA Application Assistance Day, the LAA, along with GALEO and the Asian-American Legal Advocacy Center (AALAC) also hosted a public forum and provided information on DACA eligibility to over 1,000 interested individuals and family members. The forum featured a panel of experts, including immigration and criminal defense attorneys, who discussed the deferred action application process, eligibility, requirements and fees. Participants also had the opportunity to ask questions of the panel experts. I went to Oakdale, Louisiana, as a member of the LSU Law Immigra- tion Clinic and defended my client from deportation. Despite my in- ability to ask non-leading questions and sudden, unexplained fear of public speaking, the judge found in favor of my client. Following the hearing, I drove straight to the airport and jumped on a plane to Washington, D.C. for the Equal Justice Works Conference. Once there, I met Gail Pendleton, my future supervisor, who could not believe that I won in Oakdale Im- migration Court (I leſt out all of the many things that went wrong). Gail and I discussed her idea for a proj- ect regarding tort suits against ICE and CBP for sexual assault to non- citizen women. She offered me a summer internship at Asista work- ing with her on this project along with Ellen Kemp of the National Immigration Project. I enthusiasti- cally accepted the offer. A few months aſter this inspiring weekend, I received an announce- ast October, I had an unbeliev- ably good weekend. That Friday, ARE YOU A LAW STUDENT, OR KNOW A GREAT CANDIDATE? Learn more about the Maggio Fellowship. Applications for 2013 must be received by Dec. 29, 2012. ment about the Maggio Fellowship from Ken Mayeaux, the LSU Law Immigration Clinic professor. In seven days, I whipped together my application and project pro- posal and miraculously managed to email it to Susan Timmons on time. I had serious doubts as to whether I would be chosen for the position, so I was extremely happy to be proven wrong when I re- ceived Susan' me on being the 2012 Maggio Fel- low. With a half-hour leſt in class, I packed up my stuff and promptly went to The Chimes for a celebra- tory drink, aſter forwarding the email to everyone in my family. My internship was remote so Gail, Ellen Kemp, and I planned to com- municate through email and phone conferences for the project. Susan was kind enough to offer me a desk at AILA in the Practice and Profes- sionalism Department. So, I packed up and moved to DC for the sum- mer. The experience was absolutely amazing. Although initially I felt I was unqualified to write a tool-kit for Bivens and FTCA claims for non-citizen survivors of sexual as- sault, Gail and Ellen granted me a huge amount of creative control over the project. I had the oppor- tunity to interview leading experts in relevant fields for the project. I know I'm biased, but it was the best internship experience ever. s email congratulating Currently, I am completing my third year at LSU Law and I plan to serve as a student attorney in the LSU Law Family Law Clinic next spring. Upon graduation, I hope to use the skills developed from the internship with Asista, the Im- migration Clinic, and Family Law Clinic to bring FTCA and Bivens claims on behalf of non-citizen survivors of sexual assault (assum- ing anyone out there is hiring re- cent grads for this kind of work… hint hint). 4

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