"Thank you to Equal Justice America for the opportunity to begin my legal career providing trauma-informed immigration services through a fellowship at Ayuda. Lack of access to legal representation remains one of the greatest barriers to acquiring immigration status for too many people in the United States. EJA’s Legal Service Fellowship with Ayuda will increase access to quality representation for low-income immigrants in the DC area."
Having recently moved to the United States to attend law school and begin my career, I developed a great interest in the various circumstances that lead people to leave their homeland and build a home in a new place, the ways in which they are able to do so, and the structural barriers that make it more difficult for many people than it should be. As an Equal Justice America Fellow at Ayuda, I aim to use my legal skills to work with clients as they confront the legal barriers to immigration.
I first began to understand the importance of legal immigration services in my home country of France. After obtaining my undergraduate degree, I interned with an immigration attorney who was dedicated to increasing access to immigration status as a way of defending human rights. In 2018, I worked at Équipes d’Action contre le Proxénétisme (“Action Against Sex Trafficking”), a nonprofit organization in Paris that provided holistic services to survivors of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, assisting clients with various legal and administrative proceedings, including immigration. I learned from clients how the lack of immigration status and work authorization had made them vulnerable to trafficking and how obtaining status was an essential step in their process of exiting the sex trade. I understood the crucial role of an immigration lawyer in guiding clients through government systems that not only fail to protect them, but oftentimes exacerbate their trauma.
Throughout law school, I have had the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge needed to represent clients on a wide range of immigration issues such as, asylum, the intersection between criminal and immigration laws, and removal defense. I am spending my final semester at Sanctuary for Families’ Anti-Trafficking Initiative in New York City where I am providing trauma-informed immigration services to survivors of sex and labor trafficking. I have been working on a range of cases including family-based immigration, non-immigrant status, and adjustment of status cases.
I am excited to begin my legal career as an Equal Justice America Fellow at Ayuda, where I will have the opportunity to increase access to long-term immigration representation for clients in the Washington, D.C. area. My background and language skills will allow me to provide services to clients in French, Spanish, and English and to expand Ayuda’s provision of services to French-speaking immigrant communities. I look forward to working at a holistic services organization that understands the complex and intersecting needs of clients and provides a wide range of services including immigration representation.