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Immigrant Justice Corps Announces 2017 Justice Fellows

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

2017 IJC Justice FellowsClick here for high-resolution version

/ -- 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

The full list of 2017 Justice Fellows is as follows:

Erica Arce Romero
  Georgetown University Law Center   Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Kerry Battenfeld   University of Buffalo   Erie Volunteers Lawyers Project
Katherine Beck   American University Washington College of Law   Safe Passage Project
Danelly Bello   Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
  Brooklyn Defender Service
Sarah Burpee   Brooklyn Law School
  Catholic Charities Community Services
Jonathan Campozano   Pace Law School   Empire Justice Center
Jazmin Chavez   American University Washington College of Law   Safe Passage Project
Sonya Chung   NYU School of Law
Ryan Clough   George Mason University   RAICES
Cassie Estassi   Georgetown University Law Center
  Human Rights First
Lizzie Fulton   Berkeley Law School
Ben Haldeman   University of Connecticut School of Law
  New Haven Legal Assistance 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 Murphy   Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
  Immigrant Justice Corps
Hector Ruiz   University of California, Hastings College of Law   Immigration Equality
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, Levin College Law   Safe Horizon
Natali Soto   Boston College Law School
  Sanctuary for Families
Laura Wooley   Fordham Law School
  Atlas DIY
Halinka Zolcik   University of Wyoming College of Law   Prisoners Legal Services

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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Jojo Annobil

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