Volunteer of the Year: Juliana Madaki
The Immigration Justice Campaign is pleased to honor Juliana Madaki as Volunteer of the Year. Juliana’s name might be familiar to those of you who have been following our work for a while. She started volunteering with the Justice Campaign in 2019 and has since racked up a string of powerful wins. In just the past three years, Juliana has taken on 13 cases with the Justice Campaign.
What Happens When a Judge Fails?
When an asylum seeker goes before a judge in immigration court to make their case for asylum, they are not guaranteed legal representation. All too often, asylum seekers must represent themselves before the judge. When that happens, it’s the judge’s legal obligation to ask questions to figure out the facts and understand the asylum seeker’s case. But many times, judges don’t fulfill that responsibility.
The Crucial Link Between Attorneys and Clients
Legal help for immigration issues is not guaranteed or easy to find. And language barriers can make a challenging process impossibly frustrating. Retired nonprofit executive Stephan Russo is a volunteer interpreter for the Immigration Justice Campaign’s program for people who were formerly subject to “Remain in Mexico.”
What’s It like to Volunteer for the Immigration Justice Campaign?
Volunteers join the Immigration Justice Campaign for lots of reasons – to give time to a cause they care about, to learn more about immigration law, to do meaningful work in retirement, and many more. No matter what brings them to the Justice Campaign, they usually find that the work becomes personal. Read on to learn the stories of two volunteers.
Spotlight on Women Volunteers
Women make up roughly 70 percent of the Immigration Justice Campaign network—powering a huge portion of our work for immigration justice. We’d like to introduce you to two of them.
Esther is the owner of Graff-Radford Law, LLC, an asylum and civil litigation firm. She took on her first immigration case through our partner site in Lumpkin, Georgia.
Geoffrey volunteered to do country conditions research, followed by an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). He serves as Vice-Chair of Center Global, DC’s LGBT Asylum Support Network.
Joanna used her experience in advocacy on public policy issues to represent an African man who fled persecution from his country's government. She is currently the Director of Advocacy for Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore.
In February 2019, Jorge and 15 of his Microsoft colleagues spent a week on-the-ground with the Proyecto Dilley (formerly the Dilley Pro Bono Project).
Mary McGowan Davis & Mary Rothwell Davis
Two advocates with notable careers joined forces on behalf of their client from Congo-Brazzaville, who fled persecution on account of his political opinion.
Justin is an associate with Ballard Spahr LLP in Cherry Hill, new Jersey, where he focuses on commercial litigation. He helped free a Venezuelan man from the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA, and continues to represent that man in his ongoing asylum proceedings.
Meet Hamsa, a litigation associate with no prior immigration experience who argued her client’s case before the immigration court and helped her client win asylum.
Jeff came out of retirement in 2019 to take on a pro bono asylum case with our partners at the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN).
Silicon Valley to Dilley, Texas: A corporate lawyer spends a profound volunteer week serving detained asylum-seeking families.
Moses Silverman is of counsel in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. He writes about his time assisting asylum-seeking families detained in Dilley, Texas and the reunion of his volunteer group following their week on-the-ground.
Neil is an associate with White and Williams LLP in New York City practicing commercial litigation. He represented a Mauritanian man in his pursuit of asylum in the United States.
Mustafa Cetin is a Turkish attorney practicing immigration in Greater New York City area. Prior to his admission to practice in New York on 2018, he had extensive experience practicing in Turkey including as a public defender by challenging human rights violations. He is a new member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
Henry is the founder and president of Hollithron Advocates, P.C., a Denver, Colorado-based firm that specializes in family-based and humanitarian immigration cases. Henry has taken on three asylum cases through our partner site, The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network.