Immigrant Justice Corps Expands to Serve New Yorkers Eligible for Relief Under New Presidential Directive

NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Immigrant Justice Corps, the nation’s first fellowship for immigration lawyers and community advocates, announced today that it is significantly expanding its capacity to provide legal services to New Yorkers applying for the new immigration program announced by President Obama. The organization says it will double the number of community advocates in its incoming class, and make them available to clients in June, rather than September.  Altogether, Immigrant Justice Corps will deploy 50 lawyers and 30 community advocates within the next year, providing a significant legal workforce to help New Yorkers navigate the new program.

“President Obama’s executive action represents the most significant advancement in decades for immigrants seeking legal protections and benefits,” said Rachel B. Tiven, the organization’s executive director. “It is critical, however, that New Yorkers have the quality legal help necessary to access this opportunity. The President’s plan will enable more than 300,000 families to get better jobs and fight exploitation – but they can’t do it without trustworthy legal help, and that’s why Immigrant Justice Corps was created.”

Judge Robert Katzmann, founder of Immigrant Justice Corps and Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, highlighted the urgent need for the organization’s work in the wake of the President’s announcement. “Immigrant Justice Corps was created explicitly to add cost-effective legal capacity to New York City’s immigrant-serving organizations,” said Judge Katzmann. “The inaugural class of Fellows already in the field will be of enormous service to families who need to know how the President’s announcement will affect them.”

Immigrant Justice Corps launched this fall with an inaugural class of 25 new lawyers and 10 trained community advocates, called Community Fellows.  The program includes young legal professionals who are also recipients of immigration relief under the Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  ”We’re a proud employer of ‘DACAmented’ young people who are serving our city every day as part of Immigrant Justice Corps’ inaugural class,” Tiven said. “These incredible advocates also underscore why the expansion of that program is such an asset to our country.”

Melissa Garcia Velez, a Community Fellow, said, “As an immigrant activist and a DACA recipient, I have been fighting to give families a chance to get relief.  As a Community Fellow at Immigrant Justice Corps, I put my skills to work making that relief real. Providing free, trustworthy legal help to my city is why I joined Immigrant Justice Corps.”

Immigrant Justice Corps Fellows are available for interviews in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Haitian Creole, and French.

Immigrant Justice Corps will accept applications for the new Community Fellows class beginning on January 1.

Immigrant Justice Corps is the country’s first fellowship program dedicated to meeting the need for high-quality legal assistance for immigrants seeking citizenship and fighting deportation.  Immigrant Justice Corps was founded by Judge Robert Katzmann, incubated by the Robin Hood Foundation, and launched in New York in September 2014, with additional substantial support from the JPB Foundation and other funders.

Contact: Rachel B. Tiven
(212) 844-4601 /

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Immigrant Justice Corps Expands to Serve New Yorkers Eligible for Relief Under New Presidential Directive
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