More than 100 private practice and nonprofit attorneys, law students and immigration services leaders attended the August 1 seminar. Topics covered included social group formulation for gang-based asylum claims, strategies for representing immigrant juveniles, parole in place for military families and an inside perspective on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Asylum Program.
Guest speakers at the seminar included Professor Lenni Benson of New York Law School, who is also the director of the New York Law School Safe Passage Project and 2013 recipient of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Pro Bono Hero award; Jedidah Hussey, Director of the Arlington Asylum Office with U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Dree Collopy, 2014 recipient of AILA’s Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award, and author of the forthcoming seventh edition of AILA’s Asylum Primer; Jay Weselmann, USCIS Raleigh Field Office Director; and Sejal Zota, staff attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and nationally recognized expert on the immigration consequences of criminal dispositions.
Now in its fourth year, the annual Immigration Law Seminar at Elon Law has welcomed increased attendance each year since 2011. The seminar is organized by the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic at Elon Law, led by Professor Heather Scavone.
“Offering valuable practice-specific technical training opportunities is one way that the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic can continue to give back to our alumni, the private immigration bar, which has been supportive of the clinic, and community based voluntary agencies who often have limited budgets for professional development,” Scavone said.
Presenters Hussey and Weselman led a Federal Careers Luncheon with ten Elon Law students during the lunch break. Law students attending the seminar and luncheon described both forums as valuable to their legal education and career planning.
“I had a great experience listening to experts in immigration law,” said Karizza Mendoza, a member of the Class of 2016 at Elon Law and a student active in the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic. “I especially enjoyed hearing about issues with child migration and how immigration law and family law intersect. Also, the seminar was a great event to network with immigration attorneys and federal officers.”
“Overall, the seminar was a great experience, with many talented speakers sharing valuable information on new, important and interesting issues in immigration law,” said Hayley Sherman, a member of the Class of 2015 at Elon Law who is currently serving clients through the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic. “I found Jedidah Hussey’s presentation on how the Arlington VA Asylum Office is run to be particularly enlightening, as it offered us the perspective from someone on the other side and showed us how difficult their jobs can be, just like ours. I also enjoyed Dree Collopy’s presentation on Gang-based Asylum, particularly because lately I have found myself wondering, ‘Why can’t all these children fleeing Central America apply for gang-based asylum?’ As such, it came at a particularly helpful time.”
Presentation titles by panelists at the fourth annual Immigration Law Seminar at Elon Law follow:
Strategies for Representing Immigrant Juveniles: SIJS, Asylum, and More; Lenni Benson, Esq., Professor of Law, New York Law School, and Director of the Safe Passage Project
An Inside Perspective on the USCIS Asylum Program: Managing Challenges to Achieve Quality Adjudications; Jedidah Hussey, Esq., Director of the Arlington Asylum Office, Department of Homeland Security
Seeking Protection for Individuals Fleeing Gang Violence: The Evolution of Gang-Based Asylum and Practice Pointers for Success; Dree Collopy, Esq., Partner at Benach Ragland, LLP, Washington, DC
Parole of Spouses, Children and Parents of Active Duty Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, and Former Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve and the Effect of Parole on Inadmissibility under Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(a)(6)(A)(i); Jay Weselmann, Department of Homeland Security, USCIS Field Office Director of the Raleigh-Durham Field Office
Advanced Crim-Imm: Recent Developments at the Intersection of Criminal and Immigration Law; Sejal Zota, Esq., Staff Attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild