JDC and AILA Host Reception Honoring Attorney Volunteers and Judges

Nicole Allen, Immigration Legal Services Coordinator

 

On February 13, 2019, the Justice & Diversity Center  (JDC) and American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) hosted a reception for the San Francisco Immigration Court and immigration attorneys at the offices of Keker, Van Nest & Peters in San Francisco.

Nearly 100 people, including nine judges, attended the reception to honor two beloved judges, Hon. Miriam R. Hayward and Hon. Laura L. Ramirez, who are retiring from their service in the San Francisco Immigration Court. At the reception, Hon. Carol King (ret.) spoke about the compassion and fairness these two judges have shown immigrants who have gone before them in proceedings, as well as the judges’ long commitment to serving the immigrant community. These two judges will be deeply missed by the court, attorneys, and respondents.

JDC also celebrated the work of attorney volunteers who participate in the Attorney of the Day (AOD) program, which has been run for more than thirty years, first by the Bar Association of San Francisco and now by JDC. The program recruits, trains, and supervises immigration attorneys who volunteer to help unrepresented respondents during their initial hearings at the San Francisco Immigration Court. The AOD program helps unrepresented immigrants to understand their rights and options during removal proceedings and allows judges to conduct initial proceedings in an efficient manner.

JDC honored immigration attorneys and organizations who have demonstrated their commitment to the AOD program through exemplary volunteer service. Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Amy Hoogasian expressed gratitude to AOD attorney volunteers who have helped both the Court and unrepresented immigrants alike. Honorees included Jessica Yamane, Johanna Torres, Priscilla Higuera, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA).

 

Attorney of the Day Johanna Torres sharing her volunteer experience with reception guests

 

The reception served as an opportunity to reflect on the judges’ and volunteers’ dedicated service, to mobilize for the work that is to come, and to renew our commitment to protect and promote immigrants’ rights. Keker, Van Nest & Peters, a long-time supporter of the AOD program, generously hosted and catered the reception.

 

About the author:

Nicole Allen is the Immigration Legal Services Coordinator for the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative.  In addition to her other duties, Nicole is fluent in Spanish and serves as a Spanish interpreter for the Justice & Diversity Center’s Attorney of the Day program.