WUNC radio’s The State of Things recently featured the legal advocacy of Elon Law alumnae Allison Lukanich L’12 and Natalie Teague L’09 on behalf of women and children fleeing gangs and violence in Central America.
Lukanich and Teague were part of a four-person team of North Carolina attorneys to travel to Artesia, New Mexico in October to provide pro bono legal services to some of the 400-plus women and children held in detention there.
In the WUNC radio interview, Teague said the attorneys spent 12 hours a day meeting with clients in the detention facility and about five hours each night doing legal research and developing legal briefs for clients.
“Artesia is literally like a law firm with over 450 open cases, volunteer attorneys that are changing every week and no support staff, so it is incredibly difficult working circumstances,” Teague said, noting that the women and children at the facility were receiving limited legal representation in a remote area. “Artesia is in the middle of the dessert. It’s literally flat dessert land with oil rigs and fracking going around it and essentially the government brought in a bunch of trailers, poured some asphalt around it, filled it in with some gravel and put up a barbed wire fence and there you go, why not start holding women and children there.”
Lukanich and Teague both worked in Elon Law’s Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic while law students. Lukanich practices immigration law in Raleigh, North Carolina in the Law Office of Allison Lukanich. Teague is the owner and founding attorney at Teague Immigration Law Office in Asheville, North Carolina. The other attorneys who participated in the pro bono effort in Artesia were Joanna Gaughan, the owner of the Gaughan Immigration Law Office in Durham, NC, and Evelyn Smallwood, an associate at Velasquez and Associates, also in Durham.