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The Immigration Panel at the 2017 Summer Forum.

Summer Forum Preview: Justice for Immigrants

By Emily Batt

At our 2018 Summer Pro Bono and Public Interest Forum, the Immigration and Human Rights panel will discuss the work on the ground done by immigrant-rights organizations both in the District and around the country. During this especially timely panel, we’ll discuss the current state of immigration advocacy under the Trump administration, as well as guidance for law students and new lawyers on breaking into immigration law and the practical realities of working at a nonprofit immigration organization.

The moderator will be Michael Lukens, Director for Pro Bono and Operations at CAIR Coalition, a local organization seeking justice for detained immigrants and those facing detention and removal. CAIR Coalition works with individual adult and juvenile clients, and coordinates the Immigration Impact Lab, litigating appeals that will affect many immigrant families. Michael oversees all aspects of CAIR’s operations and mentors private lawyers handling pro bono cases.

Michael will moderate the following panelists:

Kursten Phelps (Tahirih Justice Center)

Kursten Phelps has worked with the Tahirih Justice Center since 2013, and since 2017 has acted as the Director of Legal and Social Services. Tahirih helps to protect immigrant women and girls from violence. Kursten has fought gender-based violence throughout her career, previously at the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, and then as a managing attorney at Tahirih.

Diane Eikenberry (National Immigrant Justice Center)

Diane Eikenberry is the Associate Director of Policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center.  She worked with several local groups, including CAIR Coalition and Tahirih before joining NIJC, which legal services to immigrants seeking asylum, relief from human trafficking, DACA, and other protections. NIJC also advocates on behalf of vulnerable groups, including LGBTQ immigrants and unaccompanied children.

David Laing (Immigration Impact Lab, CAIR Coalition)

David is a Senior Attorney with the Immigration Impact Lab, CAIR Coalition’s newest initiative and first-ever concerted impact litigation project. David has nearly thirty years of litigation experience in federal and state courts with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and as a partner in the litigation and antitrust departments of Baker McKenzie and Crowell & Moring.  David has been a long-standing member of CAIR Coalition’s Legal Advisory Committee, and David litigated numerous habeas proceedings, asylum applications, and federal court appeals in immigration matters before joining CAIR Coalition.  David’s work at CAIR Coalition focuses on creating positive impact on immigration law through strategic litigation and appeals projects throughout the Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington, DC.

Becky Wolozin (Legal Aid Justice Center)

Becky Wolozin joined the Legal Aid Justice Center in September 2015 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Morrison Foerster Foundation. Legal Aid Justice Center has represented low-income clients in Virginia since 1967. When Becky joined, she launched the Center’s JustChildren Program in Northern Virginia to serve immigrant students, English Language Learners, and their families. Now Becky works in the Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program.

We can’t wait to hear from these panelists at the Summer Forum, and we hope that you’ll join us on Wednesday, June 13, from noon to 2:30 at Georgetown Law. The event also features keynote remarks by ACLU Legal Director David Cole. Register today.

Emily Batt is a member of the Washington Council of Lawyers board.

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