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Immigrant Justice Corps Announces 2017 Justice Fellows

25 elite law graduates chosen for selective fellowship to represent immigrants fighting deportation

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - February 16, 2017) - Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC), the country's first fellowship program wholly dedicated to meeting immigrants' need for high-quality legal assistance, announced today its 2017 fellowship class, a select group of talented and promising new lawyers who will represent immigrants fighting deportation and seeking lawful status and citizenship. Twenty-five graduates from top law schools from around the country were chosen for the prestigious fellowship at IJC, which was conceived of by Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and incubated by Robin Hood in 2013.

"These remarkable advocates will inject the whole system of immigrant justice with new energy," said Judge Katzmann. "The thousands they will serve will be represented by a good lawyer, well-trained and well-supervised, and will not be prey to those who take advantage of immigrants."

The new class of fellows brings a wealth of immigration experience. As befits a national program, they are graduates of the leading law schools with top immigration programs, including: Harvard, NYU, Berkeley, Georgetown, Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn Law, New York Law School, and Pace. All of the new Justice Fellows are bilingual --92% of the class speak Spanish; in addition, members of the 2017 class speak Cantonese, Czech, French, Korean, Mandarin and Polish. Approximately half of them are first-generation immigrants themselves.

The fellows will serve for two years in and around New York City -- including the lower Hudson Valley, and on Long Island, and northern New Jersey -- as well as in New Haven, Connecticut and Karnes, Texas. They will be placed at top legal services agencies, where they will join the 2016 class of 25 Justice Fellows already in the field. In August 2016, IJC graduated its inaugural class of 25 Justice Fellows and 96% secured employment in the immigration field.

"The 2017 Fellows will be joining the immigration bar at a moment in time of immense crisis in immigration and their work will make a tremendous difference between an immigrant remaining in the United States with family and deportation," said Jojo Annobil, the Executive Director of the Program.

Immigrant Justice Corps also employs Community Fellows, college graduates who perform immigration screening and assist with simpler application preparation. Applications for the next class of Community Fellows are being accepted now at justicecorps.org.

The full list of 2017 Justice Fellows is as follows:

Erica Arce Romero    Georgetown University Law   Kids in Need of Defense    
                     Center                      (KIND)                     
Kerry Battenfeld     University of Buffalo       Erie Volunteers Lawyers    
                                                 Project                    
Katherine Beck       American University         Safe Passage Project       
                     Washington College of Law                              
Danelly Bello        Benjamin N. Cardozo School  Brooklyn Defender Service  
                     of Law                                                 
                                                                            
Sarah Burpee         Brooklyn Law School         Catholic Charities         
                                                 Community Services         
Jonathan Campozano   Pace Law School             Empire Justice Center      
Jazmin Chavez        American University         Safe Passage Project       
                     Washington College of Law                              
Sonya Chung          NYU School of Law           MinKwon                    
                                                                            
Ryan Clough          George Mason University     RAICES                     
Cassie Estassi       Georgetown University Law   Human Rights First         
                     Center                                                 
                                                                            
Lizzie Fulton        Berkeley Law School         UnLocal                    
                                                                            
Ben Haldeman         University of Connecticut   New Haven Legal Assistance 
                     School of Law               Association                
                                                                            
Frances Hartmann     NYU School of Law           The Bronx Defenders        
Ricky He             City University of New York Legal Services New York    
                                                                            
Imogene Markin       Berkeley Law School         The Bronx Defenders        
                                                                            
Michelle Martinez    Brooklyn Law School         Central American Legal     
                                                 Assistance                 
                                                                            
Claudine-Annick      Benjamin N. Cardozo School  Immigrant Justice Corps    
 Murphy              of Law                                                 
                                                                            
Hector Ruiz          University of California,   Immigration Equality       
                     Hastings College of Law                                
Maybeline Saharig    Seton Hall Law School       New York Legal Assistance  
                                                 Group                      
                                                                            
Hanne Sandison       Harvard Law School          American Friends Service   
                                                 Committee                  
                                                                            
Rachel Searle        New York Law School         City Bar Justice Center    
                                                                            
Marisol Silva        University of Florida,      Safe Horizon               
                     Levin College Law                                      
Natali Soto          Boston College Law School   Sanctuary for Families     
                                                                            
Laura Wooley         Fordham Law School          Atlas DIY                  
                                                                            
Halinka Zolcik       University of Wyoming       Prisoners Legal Services   
                     College of Law                                         

The Fellows will begin their intensive training course on September 1, 2017 and be deployed to agencies around the region at the end of that month.

About Immigrant Justice Corps

Launched in 2014, Immigrant Justice Corps is the country's first fellowship program dedicated to meeting the unprecedented need for high-quality legal assistance for immigrants. Since then, IJC has served 28,000 immigrants and their families, and has had a success rate of 93% in its cases -- nearly seven times the success rate of those without lawyers.

IJC dedicated funders include the Robin Hood Foundation, JPB Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Anne and Bernard Spitzer Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation, New York Community Trust, J.M. Kaplan Fund, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.

Immigrant Justice Corps board includes -- William Zabel (chair), founding partner of Schulte, Roth & Zabel; Judge Robert Katzmann, Robert Morgenthau, former District Attorney of New York County, Professor Alina Das of NYU School of Law, former Immigration Judge Sarah Burr, Steve Kuhn, Co-Founder and President of the Ask Foundation, and Stephanie Khurana, Managing Director of Draper Richards Kaplan.

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