By Jennifer Grishkin
Despite being a solo practitioner, a recent law school graduate, and living on the other side of the country – Tamber Hilton has been a committed and powerful advocate on behalf of immigrant children in the DMV.
Tamber Hilton is a professional interpreter who became an attorney after spending several years working as an interpreter and in non-attorney roles in the refugee protection and immigration fields internationally and domestically. Since graduating from law school, she has established a new practice in Tucson, Arizona where she assists clients who are detained with their custody cases, non-detained clients with humanitarian defensive and affirmative immigration filings, and other areas of deportation defense.
Shortly after establishing her law practice, Tamber reached out to CAIR Coalition, offering to take on a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) case. While the organization typically partners with large law firms or corporate legal departments as cases can take months to years to complete, Tamber was up for the challenge. CAIR Coalition first met Tamber through Georgetown Law’s Blume Public Interest Scholars program and knew that she would be a dedicated advocate for her clients.
Most recently, Tamber accepted a pro bono case and is working alongside two teenage brothers from Honduras who live in Maryland. Sharing about her experience, Tamber said:
“I think SIJS is a powerful tool to give kids a better future during a time in their lives when they are starting out, and their lives without status are so much more limited than their peers. It feels like a tragedy to have these limitations during years when they should get the chance to explore all that the world has to offer.
X and A are wonderful kids, and it’s been incredible to work with their families. I’m very impressed that as teens, they have been able to take ownership of their case the way they have. Their relatives have also stepped up to move the case along. I’m very grateful for the trust they’ve put in me to handle their case. Challenges have included handling the complication that is life as a young person and what it means to navigate the final phase of growing up while living far from home: it hasn’t been 100% smooth sailing, but everyone in their lives has rallied around them and made sure things stayed on track. I’m hopeful we’ll make it all the way across the finish line.
I have learned a lot from my pro bono mentors at CAIR Coalition and look forward to continuing to learn as the case progresses. The backlogged state of SIJS priority dates means that it’ll be years before they have their green cards, and while that’s disappointing, I look forward to watching these young people grow up and build their lives here in anticipation of holding permanent status.”
CAIR Coalition deeply values Tamber’s commitment to serving others and working alongside immigrants. We look forward to her continued involvement and all the meaningful ways that she will impact the lives of others in her community and beyond.
Tamber started her career as a Spanish interpreter and became interested in immigration law while interpreting in immigration court and working as a legal assistant at a Seattle immigration firm. Before beginning her J.D. studies, she spent six years working in refugee resettlement in Bangkok, Thailand, and Tucson. During her time in Thailand, she managed the interpreter services program for the U.S. Resettlement Support Center operated by the International Rescue Committee and worked as a Legal Advocate for Asylum Access Thailand. After returning from Thailand in 2016, she took on a role at Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest managing a team of dedicated refugee resettlement professionals committed to welcoming and integrating refugees arriving in Tucson through the U.S. resettlement program.
Tamber earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, her master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, and her B.A. in Political Science and Asian Studies from Washington State University. She is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force Reserves.
Jennifer Grishkin is the Managing Attorney for Pro Bono Coordination at CAIR Coalition.