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  • Summer 2008

    The Newsletter of

    615 Second Ave. Suite 400

    Seattle, WA 98104

    121 Sunnyside Ave. 2nd Floor

    P.O. Box 270 Granger, WA 98932

    1208 S. 10th St. Tacoma, WA 98405

    1405 S. Pioneer Way Moses Lake, WA 98837


    In This Issue


    NWIRP’S GALA Page 6 •••


    NWIRP VICTORIES Page 5 •••


    Page 3 •••

    On behalf of the Board of Directors I am pleased to announce Jorge L. Barón as the next Executive Director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. The appointment follows an extensive nationwide search conducted with the assistance of Management Information Exchange (MIE). Jorge’s obvious passion for NWIRP’s mission and clientele, his strong legal background, and his deep roots in the immigrant community make him an excellent long- term fit for the position.

    Most recently, Jorge has served as a staff attorney in NWIRP’s domestic violence unit providing immigration legal services to survivors of domestic violence. He has also served as interim Supervising Attorney for NWIRP’s Tacoma office where Jorge first worked as a staff attorney upon joining NWIRP. There he worked with individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center, providing direct representation to clients in removal proceedings and conducting presentations, intakes, and other work as part of the Legal Orientation Program.

    Before joining NWIRP, Jorge was an attorney serving as the Arthur Liman public interest fellow at New Haven Legal Assistance Association (NHLAA) in New Haven, Connecticut. Prior to New Haven Legal Assistance Association, Jorge served as a law clerk to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Betty Fletcher.

    A native of Colombia, Jorge came to the U.S. with his family as a young teen. Jorge received his law degree from Yale Law School and his B.A from Duke University. He lives in Seattle with his wife Tyler Crone and their two children. Please join us in welcoming Jorge in his new role at NWIRP!

    Martine Pierre-Louis, President, Board of Directors • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project


    Please join us in congratulating Matt Adams, Legal Director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, as he has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Jack Wasserman Memorial Award by the American

    Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). The Wasserman Award is a prestigious national award given by AILA in recognition of “excellence in litigation in the field of immigration law.” Matt will receive the award at the AILA Annual Conference in late June. In receiving this recognition, Matt joins a distinguished group of individuals who have been acknowledged as exemplary practitioners in the field of immigration law.

    Matt also recently received the WBSA Access to Justice Board’s Leadership Award presented at the Access to Justice Conference.

    Thank you for all of your outstanding work in advancing immigrant rights Matt!


  • Summer 2008Page 2 The Immigrant Advocate

    Martine Pierre-Louis, Chair Vicky Dobrin, Vice-Chair Josh Gaul, Secretary Truong Tang, Treasurer Sandra Aguila-Salinas Christopher Black Ruben Garcia Fernandez Beth Peterman Carrie Valladares

    Jorge L. Barón Executive Director

    Seattle Matt Adams Jennifer N. Brown Miriam Cervantes Angélica Cházaro Stella Essi Dokey Signe Dortch Sofia Godinez Kevin Haag Omar Haggag Emily Headings Rita Heapes Kristen Kussmann Carolina Martinez

    Jenny Mashek Françoise Maxie Diana Moller Michelle Muri Mozhdeh Oskouian Ginna Owens Daniel Pérez Rachel Rubenstein Gilberto Salas Chris Strawn Jordan Wasserman

    Interns Claudia Antuña Liz Booth Mana Borenstine Sarah Chaplin

    Eustace Mazila Allison Nackel Beverly Underwood Zengzhong ‘Paul’ Zhou

    Granger Soren Rottman Directing Attorney

    Diana Alvarez Margaret Gaffney Norma Gutierrez Erik Noel Nelsen Irma Ramos Martha Rickey Adela Ruiz

    Bo ar

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    Intern Rodolfo Meza

    Tacoma Melissa Campos Avelar Virginia Cole Betsy Tao J. Alejandro Villacorta Valerie Zukin

    Intern Guillermo Canché

    Moses Lake Dave Linn

    After serving detainees in deportation proceedings for the past two years at NWIRP, I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the overwhelming need for NWIRP’s services. I have seen the toll of our current immigration policy on the immigrant community but I have also seen the energy and commitment of NWIRP’s attorneys, legal advocates and administrative staff rise to the challenge in an attempt to meet the need for our services. Today, I am honored to join NWIRP in a new capacity – that of Executive Director.

    These are challenging times for the immigrant community. A New York Times editorial recently stated that we are in the midst of “The Great Immigration Panic,” in which the federal government employs ever harsher tactics to enforce a system that virtually everyone agrees is broken. In many communities around the country, people who are confronted with the negative impact that immigration raids and other “enforcement” tactics are having on the immigrant community will say that it is a terrible thing but that there’s not much to be done: “it’s a federal issue,” they might say, or, “we can’t possibly have much of an impact”. Things have been different in our region, however. For more than two decades, people here in Washington have committed to do what they can to ensure that low-income immigrants will have a place to turn to when they need legal assistance with immigration matters. That place is Northwest Immigrant Rights Project; staff here work every day to demonstrate that there is a lot we can do in response to the Great Immigration Panic and that we can work together as a community to ensure that the rights of immigrants are respected.

    We have much to be proud of and must recognize the incredible work that our community is doing on behalf of immigrants. But we also recognize that much more remains to be done. In 2007, nearly 90% of immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma did not have an attorney representing them in immigration court. NWIRP’s Domestic violence unit has more than 90 individuals on its waitlist. In virtually all areas of NWIRP’s work, the demand for our services greatly exceeds the resources available to provide assistance. With your support,

    however, NWIRP will continue to protect the rights of immigrants in Washington State. We will continue to work every day to ensure that families are not split apart, that refugees are not returned to where they will face harm, and that individuals who have survived serious trauma will obtain the protections they deserve.

    On behalf of our clients and the thousands of individuals we serve each year, thank you for your support of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

    Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director • Northwest Immigrant Right Project

    NEW AT NWIRP NWIRP would like to welcome new staff. Welcome to: Kevin Haag as Office Manager of the Seattle Office, Omar Haggag as Legal Advocate for the Citizenship/Naturalization Program (Seattle Office), Rita Heapes as Bookeeper, Jenny Mashek as Staff Attorney in the Seattle Office, Dave Linn as Staff Attorney in NWIRP’s new Moses Lake Office (see page 4), Betsy Tao, Supervising Attorney in the Tacoma Office and Ginna Owens, as Development Director of NWIRP.

    NWIRP also congratulates Jorge Barón, former Staff Attorney in his transition to Executive Director.


  • Summer 2008The Immigrant Advocate Page 3

    One volunteer we would like to especially recognize is Margaret Gaffney, an attorney who has been a full-time volunteer in our Eastern Washington office in Granger for over three years.

    Margaret came to NWIRP after her retirement from her position as State Administrative Law Judge in Seattle. Her proposal: that she work as a full-time volunteer attorney in our office for six months, in the nature of an externship: We teach her the work, and she would do it. Her objective: to work as an immigration lawyer in a non- profit setting, representing low-income non-citizens, with the intention of then continuing in the same type of work elsewhere. Her stated reason for pursuing this line of work: “That low-income non-citizens are a deserving, worthy, vulnerable, and under-served population, with rights important to us all, who add a great deal to our cultural heritage, and on whom the economy of the United States depends.” Margaret had prepared for her future work at NWIRP by taking a number of immigration law and poverty law courses and workshops, and learning the Spanish language during her last few years as an Administrative Law Judge.

    NWIRP immediately agreed to Margaret’s proposal, as our office in Granger had both space for another attorney and plenty of work to share. Margaret’s knowledge and experience in the legal world would be an asset to our office. Early in her time with us, Margaret extended her six-month commitment to one year, and then to two years. She then bought a house in the area, but only after seeking and receiving assurance that if she bought a house nearby, she could work for us for as long as she wanted. Since she was a volunteer, we told her

    she could have whatever ty