A Note from PAIR
Dear PAIR Friends and Family,
These are uncertain times, but we are writing to let you know that PAIR continues to operate its legal programs and to serve vulnerable asylum seekers and immigrants unjustly detained by the immigration service. Our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our staff, clients, volunteers, pro bono partners, and community members. Though our work in the office and in the community is critical, we recognize our responsibility to practice social distancing and to lessen the risks to community members who are the most vulnerable to this virus.
Like many of you, we are making adjustments to how we serve our clients and operate. Our daily work at PAIR continues while the office will be temporarily closed. The PAIR team is working remotely and meeting with clients and pro bono partners by conference and video call. The evolving situation may result in some disruptions or delayed communi-cation, such as with our upcoming intake clinics, attorney trainings, wrap-around social service assistance, and our "Know Your Rights" workshops.
We are all working to ensure that PAIR clients, who have endured so much to find a safe haven in the U.S., are not left alone. PAIR will continue to serve those who turns to us for legal help. Clients or immigrants in need may call the PAIR main line 617-742-9296 or email Angela, aarzu@pairproject. org. Someone at PAIR will call/email you back.
For our dedicated pro bono partners, you may continue to reach out to your PAIR mentors and/or to Anita (617-742-9296, email@example.com) if you have not been assigned a mentor. Case mentoring will not be impacted, though we ask that client preparation sessions be held by telephone or video conference.
PAIR will keep everyone updated about changes to immi-gration court, the asylum office, or detention centers. We will post any immigration-related and court-related updates we hear of on our
plus any information on services that will help support our clients and the community.
We will get through this as always -- together, with compassion and care for our clients, pro bono partners, and our community.
Justice, hope, & safety to all!
~Team PAIR: Anita, Elena, Amy, AnaMaria, Angela, Elizabeth, Gaby, Heather, Irene, Jenn, Marianne, Mikaela, Sarah, Seth, Violeta, & Yanzie
Covid-19 Related Agency Closures
As of March 18, 2020, the following government agencies have announced changes to their operations:
All USCIS offices are closed at least until April 1, including the Asylum Office. All interviews, biometrics appointments, and naturalization ceremonies will be rescheduled. You may continue to file at the Service Centers and fax/email/mail documents to the Asylum Office. The Asylum Office will start scheduling interviews for after April 1st. For more details, visit
ICE curtail new enforcement operations and is working to ensure the safety of immigrants who are in custody. For more details, visit
All NON-detained immigration court cases, from now until April 10, will be rescheduled. The detained docket is operating normally. For more details, visit
Social Services Referrals
We have heard from many of dedicated pro bonos whose clients are having a difficult time navigating financial and food insecurity due to the impact of Covid-19. Here are some social services resources to help support clients who are struggling during these challenging times
Eloa Celedon, Esq.
Eloa Celedon, founder of Celedon Law, began her journey with PAIR as a volunteer interpreter and then as a pro bono attorney. Eloa believes, as an immigration attorney, it is imperative to defend and advance the rights of under-represented immigrants. She particularly enjoys giving "Know Your Rights" presentations because the information given to the community can be life changing, particularly in light of the current administration. Eloa knows first-hand the efforts and sacrifices immigrants make for the betterment of their families and their lives. She is proud to share both her personal and client experiences to help immigrants in the community. PAIR is so lucky to have such dedicated, hard-working, and compassionate volunteers like Eloa.
Eloa says that her hope in volunteering with PAIR is to enrich our communities with an abundance of information on recent immigration policies and constitutional rights we can all enjoy, regardless of "status" in the United States. We would like to thank Eloa and all of our pro bono volunteers for their dedication and the time and energy they devote to PAIR's clients.
Running for a Cause - Go Team PAIR!
Thanks to the generosity of John Hancock, PAIR is proud to have
received two charity bibs for the 2020 Boston Marathon.
Our runners will be Eduardo Gonzalez, of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C, and Peter Kraft, of the Harvard School of Public Health. Both will be running this historic Boston race this year, now postponed to September 14, 2020, and are raising money to support PAIR's programs. For more information, visit PAIR's Go Fund Me page
. Thank you, John Hancock and Eduardo & Peter! We can't wait to cheer you on in September!
PAIR 2020 Gala - June 8, 2020
t this time, the PAIR gala is still scheduled for June 8, 2020 at the Harborview Ballroom | Seaport Hotel, in Boston, MA. We promise to inform you of any date changes.
As many of you know, the gala is a beautiful evening, marked by moving stories and inspirational people: our awardees, our clients, and our generous supporters. It promises to be an inspiring evening as we honor PAIR clients and the tremendous work of our volunteers. It is also an evening of gathering allies and making a commitment to support immigrant communities across Massachusetts.
We hope to see you there!
For more information, please
. To sponsor the gala or to purchase tickets, please
WBUR Highlights Acts of Kindness at the U.S.-Mexico Border
In November 2019, three PAIR staff members, Elena Noureddine, Heather Perez, and
Mikaela Wolf-Sorokin, traveled to Tij
uana to assist asylum seekers stuck
in migrant camps, awaiting for their opportunity to speak with a United States Asylum Office
r and have a chance to describe their case. The experience was transformative for the PAIR staff.
To understand what many PAIR clients have gone through to seek a safe haven in the U.S., PAIR recommends a three episode podcast series,
report on the remarkable volunteer initiatives taking place at the southern border to provide food, water, shelter, education, and compassion to numerous asylum-seekers who are forced to wait in Mexico while their immigration cases are pending. "The asylum-seekers wait - often for months - for a slim chance at legal entry into the U.S. Their only lifeline is a group of dedicated volunteers who cross the border every day to bring them food, clean water and other essentials." To read the full article and listen to the three podcast episodes that are part of the WBUR Kind World border series,
PAIR Welcomes New Staff
In 2019, PAIR added 4 new members to our team:
Angela Arzu joined PAIR as the Administrative Associate. She
assists with all aspects of operational and programmatic support. Angela's passion for social justice and heart for detainees is visible through her history of working with different legal service organizations in Boston and New York that address prisoners' rights, criminal defense, and racial justice issues.
Yanzie Chow is the new Development Associate
at PAIR, where she supports PAIR's
mission and efforts to achieve its fundraising goals. Her role involves promoting organizational sustainability through grants management, cultivating donor/funder relationships, strategic planning and special events coordination. Yanzie has years of professional experience at organizations working on issues such as access to healthcare and Asian American rights.
AnaMaria Gioia, Esq
. joined PAIR in
December 2019 as a one-year legal fellow. She practices detention and removal defense as well as represents unaccompanied minors in their immigration proceedings. Prior to joining PAIR, AnaMaria worked in the private and public sector and as a professional interpreter in Spanish/English. AnaMaria is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA), and Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys (MAHA).
Marianne Staniunas, Esq.
is an Asylum Attorney at PAIR. Marianne received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2004. She received her B.A. Cum Laude from Harvard College in 2000. Before joining the PAIR staff, she was the 2004 PAIR/Mintz Levin fellow and served as the PAIR Detention Attorney in 2017, assisting on asylum and detention cases. Marianne practiced corporate law at
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glov-sky and Popeo, P.C. and, subsequently, corporate immigration law at Ross Silverman Snyder Tietjen LLP, before leaving full-time legal practice to pursue other interests. Her work with PAIR has ranged from political asylum cases, to U-visas, to, most recently, Special Immigrant Juvenile cases. Marianne is fluent in Spanish.
Awards and Recognition
PAIR Executive Director Selected as a Barr Fellow
PAIR is proud of Executive Director Anita P. Sharma for being recognized for her outstanding leadership contributions to the Greater Boston community and for being selected as a
2019 Barr Fellow,
along with 11 other exemplary civic leaders. Anita is honored to have been recognized and looks forward to her fellowship year, which includes a ten-day group Learning Journey with her cohort, and a 3-month sabbatical. "This is an incredible opportunity for me to
connect with leaders from diverse backgrounds, organizations, and fields and for PAIR to invest in an effective, visionary, and transformative future, as it continues to grow and serve more and more clients every year. I am so grateful to Barr for this recognition and support."
Anita plans on using her sabbatical time to travel, study Spanish, and to work with asylum seekers on the border.
PAIR Asylum Attorney Seth Purcell Receives Community Service Award
In November 2019, The Refugee Immigration
Ministry honored PAIR attorney Seth Purcell with a Community Service Award for his commitment to representing asylum-seekers in Massachusetts. Seth says that he was truly humbled by this honor. "PAIR's clients often have needs that go well-beyond our area of expertise and capacity. Organizations like RIM are critical to meeting these needs, helping our clients to feel welcomed and empowered. I am so grateful to have such passionate and dedicated partners like RIM. A community is greater than the sum of its parts, and I am honored to be a part of this community."
United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture
PAIR is honored to have been selected to receive a generous $60,000 grant from The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture to assist asylum seekers and other victims of torture in detention.
PAIR has met countless detained asylum seekers who have survived torture and threats of death and who have passed credible fear of persecution screenings, yet who remain detained. PAIR is the only non-profit that provides comprehensive legal orientation and free legal counseling and representation to detained immigrants a
PAIR Attorney Elizabeth Badger to be Keynote Speaker at Local Conference
PAIR senior staff attorney Elizabeth Badger has been asked to be the keynote speaker at an immigration conference hosted by Teachers21 in Newton, MA. The conference will take place in the Fall of 2020. Teachers21 is a
non-profit organization that provides professional development, coaching and licensure programs for teachers and administrators in MA and beyond. Teachers21 is focusing more and more on behavioral and mental health issues that are affecting children and how they can help teachers and administrators to be better equipped to support these kids.
Elizabeth has worked in immigration law for over a decade, focusing on representing non-citizen children, asylum-seekers, victims of crimes, and persons in prolonged immigration detention. In 2008, Elizabeth received the National Immigration Project's Daniel Levy Award for her work representing victims of workplace raids. She was also awarded PAIR's Pro Bono Mentor of the Year Award in 2013.
PAIR Receives Grant from Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund
PAIR is excited to have received a $70,000 grant from the Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund that has allowed PAIR to provide
immediate deportation defense to low-income immigrants detained by ICE in Massachusetts. Many detainees are unable to obtain legal representation and are often unaware of their legal rights in immigration custody and of their options for relief from removal. Access to counsel for this vulnerable population is vital as detained immigrants with legal representation are significantly more likely to win relief to which they are legally entitled.
Upcoming PAIR Trainings
For details on all of PAIR's upcoming trainings, please visit
Help Us Track PAIR Clients
Post-Asylum Grant Benefits - Please Help!
PAIR received generous funding for Post Grant benefits! We are seeking information for a new initiative regarding post-asylum grant benefits. To track client progress, it would be extremely helpful if you could update us on how you have or continue to assist clients with any immigration benefits. Post grant benefits refers to any benefits pursued after your client has been granted asylum, including but not limited to: I-730 applications (derivative asylum), I-485 applications (green cards), EADs, and social security benefits.
To help us collect this data, please complete this
Client Alumni Initiative
Through your experience, you undoubtedly know how incredibly strong, resilient, and dynamic PAIR clients are. We are currently working on a number of efforts designed to enhance this strength to increase client involvement with the PAIR Project. We would greatly appreciate your help in providing us with the most current contact information you may have for both past and current clients. Please take a few minutes to fill out the same
National Legal Updates
Updated Immigration Court Practice Manual Released
On February 21, 2020, the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge released an updated edition of the
Immigration Court Practice Manual. Please note that the new manual limits all briefs to 25 pages. If a party does not believe all issues can be addressed in that length, the party can submit a motion to increase the page limit. This differs from the older edition, which encouraged parties to limit briefs to 25-page but did not require it as the current edition does.
Liberians Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF)
Liberians who currently have Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) may be eligible to adjust to permanent resident status under newly enacted legislation. The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) was passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 and allows Liberians -as well as their spouses and unmarried children of any age- to submit Form I-485 and apply to become permanent residents. Eligible individuals must apply for LRIF benefits before December 20, 2020. For additional information and a list of requirements, see USCIS's page for LRIF.
Expanded Public Charge Rule Now In Effect
Certain applicants for permanent residency, primarily those applying through family and employment, must prove that they will not be a "public charge" if granted admission to the United States. Despite much litigation, the expanded public charge rule is in effect for applications postmarked on or after February 24, 2020.
Under the expanded rule, USCIS will consider the "totality of the circumstances" to determine whether an individual may become a public charge. This analysis involves weighing many factors, including age, income, health, education, and more. The analysis will also consider the use of more types of public benefits than were considered under the previous public charge analysis. It is very important to note that the public charge ground of inadmissibility does not apply to those seeking green cards based on humanitarian statuses, such as asylum, U/T visa, SIJ, VAWA, and more. For additional information, please contact the
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Protecting Immigrant Families
USCIS Releases Updated Forms
Over the past several months, USCIS has released over 40 updated forms, including Form I-485 (Application to Adjust Status to that of Permanent Resident), I-589 (Asylum), and Form I-730 (Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition). For a list of all updates forms and for information regarding when certain editions will no longer be accepted, please visit USCIS's
Forms Update Page
USCIS Proposed Regulations to Limit Eligibility for Asylum and Employment Authorization
On December 19, 2019, USCIS published proposed regulations that would drastically restrict eligibility for asylum and employment authorization based on pending asylum claims. The proposed regulations add various categorical bars to asylum and also expand the time a person must wait to apply for employment authorization from 180 days to 365 days. The impact of these regulations would be devastating and would prevent many vulnerable asylum seekers from applying for protection in the United States. To read the proposed regulation and comments, please
Client Grant Stories
Numerous PAIR pro bono attorneys have successfully represented asylum clients since our last memorandum. We want to thank you and recognize your excellent work on PAIR
asylum and detention cases.
The legal team of
and Julie Lutfi
Foley & Lardner LLP
, won asylum for a client from Cameroon, who suffered greatly because of his religious beliefs and tribal affiliation. The client suffered attacks, beatings, and threats of death before fleeing Cameroon, leaving his wife and children behind. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Foley & Lardner LLP team, the client won asylum before the Boston Immigration Court. He is now working with his attorneys to reunite with his wife and children.
Immanuel R. Foster, of
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, successfully represented a client from Russia who fled harm due to his sexual orientation. The client suffered life-long harassment, discrimination, bullying, and threats to his life solely because he is gay. Thanks to Attorney Foster, the client finally won asylum and a safe haven in the U.S. after a six-year delay.
Pro bono attorney
Leslie DiTrani, of
Chin & Curtis, with the help of a student from Northeastern Law School, won asylum for a client from Jamaica who was harassed and attacked for his sexual orientation. The client experienced abuse and harassment from a young age and fled to the U.S. so he could be safe and be his authentic self. Thanks to the efforts of Attorney DiTrani, the client won his case before the Boston Asylum Office and looks forward to applying for his green card.
Lauren Clement, and
Shelby Cuomo, of
Ropes & Gray LLP, successfully represented a man from Cote d'Ivoire. The client, a reporter and editor-in-chief of a local radio news channel, fled his country after the ruling party threatened to kill him because he dared to criticize the government. Client was very lucky to be matched with his team at Ropes & Gray, who helped him win asylum after a seven-year fight for asylum status. His dedicated legal team continues to work on the case, now helping the client to reunite with his daughter who is still in Cote d'Ivoire.
Liz Nagle, and
Hannah Bornstein, of
Nixon Peabody LLP, successfully represented a client from Cambodia who feared returning to his home country because of his political opinions and criticism of the government. Client was a professor and founded a chapter of the writing group PEN International. He focused on promoting freedom of expression. He was threatened by the government and fled. Thanks to his pro bono team at Nixon Peabody, the client now has asylum status and the possibility of rebuilding his life in the U.S.
Hugh Scott and
Katherine Todd, of
Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, obtained a grant of asylum for their client, a young political activist from Ukraine. Having spoken out against the government on numerous occasions, the client was repeatedly arrested, beaten, and threatened by the Ukrainian authorities before he was forced to flee for his life. The client was skillfully represented by Attorneys Scott and Todd over the course of several hearings. The client was finally granted asylum in late 2019 and has since begun envisioning a future of peace and stability in the United States.
Pro bono attorneys
Thomas Hannigan and
Gregory Malloy, of
Ropes & Gray LLP, and
Rebecca Harlow, of
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, won asylum for two human rights activists, a husband and wife, who fled Iran after the husband was targeted for being a part of the Green Movement. After escaping to the U.S., he also published powerful poems calling for more freedoms in Iran. Thanks to their dedicated team who argued the case before the asylum office and immigration court, the clients finally won asylum in December 2019 after a four and a half year delay. Both are incredibly thankful for the tireless efforts and hundreds of hours the Ropes & Gray team put into preparing the case and for their care and compassion.
Meg Rehrauer, of
Liberty Mutual, and PAIR's
Anita Sharma, and
Seth Purcell, helped a Venezuelan woman and her son win asylum in the United States after being targeted, threatened, and attacked by government supporters. The client and her husband were known opposition activists and as a result, were attacked and threatened by the government. Having secured asylum, the client has petitioned for her husband, who currently remains in Venezuela, to reunite the family and gain safety in the United States.
Pro bono Attorney
Marianne Staniunas won asylum for a client from El Salvador who fled her country because of her sexual orientation and gender identity. Client witnessed life-long harassment and discrimination, including threats to life. Thanks to Attorney Staniunas, and after a six-year delay, the client finally won asylum before the Boston Asylum Office and looks forward to rebuilding her life in the U.S.
MassMutual team of
Christine Gouin, and
Abigail Dejnak won asylum for a Ugandan client who suffered terribly due to his sexual orientation. Providing years of unwavering support, the MassMutual team was able to secure the relief their client deserved in the summer of 2019. The client has flourished in his welcoming environment and looks forward to becoming a lawful permanent resident.
Jordan Lamson and
Erin Conklin, of
Ropes & Gray LLP, won asylum for their Rwandan client who was arrested, beaten and tortured for his support of a member of the political opposition. Thanks to the dedication of his legal team who prepared him for a difficult interview before the Asylum Office, the client won asylum, is now safe in the U.S. and looks forward to applying for his green card.
Ragini Shah and students from the
Suffolk University Law School won asylum for their Brazilian client who faced persecution due to their sexual orientation. Thanks to the legal team, the client and his husband now have asylum status and are able to live free from harm and fear.
David Lyons, of
Anderson & Krieger LLP, represented a Venezuelan woman and her children before the Boston Immigration Court. The client had been deeply involved in the political opposition to the ruling regime in Venezuela. Both she and her family were targeted and harmed by government supporters as a result of her political activities. Thanks to her legal team, the client was granted asylum at the end of 2019. She is relieved to know that she and her family can remain in the United States, free to express their political views.
Hugh Scott and
Margaret Burnside, of
Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, represented a family from Guinea who fled to the United States after being repeatedly attacked due to the family's ethnicity and support of the political opposition. Through the team's dedication and diligence, the clients were granted asylum before the Boston Immigration Court in the summer of 2019. They are now establishing a new life for themselves in the United States, free from fear.
Robert Rossi and
William Michener, of
Ropes & Gray LLP, won adjustment of status for their client from Afghanistan who suffered extreme domestic abuse. Attorneys Rossi and Michener helped the client apply for asylum and a family petition. Thanks to the tireless dedication of her legal team who stood her for over 7 years, the client was able to win relief before the Boston Immigration Court.
Matthew Lowe, of
K&L Gates, and PAIR's
Irene Freidel helped a client from Afghanistan win asylum after nearly four years of representation. The client served as an interpreter for coalition forces and ultimately for the Afghan government. As a result, he and his family were targeted by the Taliban and other anti-government forces. Attorneys Lowe and Friedel worked tirelessly to develop his case and present it to the Boston Asylum Office. Having secured a future of safety, the client has continued to build a thriving career in IT here in Boston.
David McHaffey and
Kate Lebeaux, of
McHaffey & Nice LLC, represented a young Salvadoran woman before the Boston Immigration Court. The client fled years of horrific abuse at the hands of her son's father. She was repeatedly attacked, stalked, and threatened before fleeing to the United States. Attorney McHaffey and Attorney Lebeaux provided outstanding representation and obtained a grant of asylum in the summer of 2019. Client, reunited with her son, has been able to thrive since obtaining the relief she deserves.
Attorney Timothy Keough, of White and Williams LLP, successfully represented a Ugandan activist and documentary filmmaker before the Boston Asylum Office. As a gay man, the client advocated for LGBT rights in Uganda through the medium of film. As a result, he was repeatedly arrested, beaten, and brutalized by the Ugandan authorities and targeted by community members. With the strong dedication of his attorney, the client was granted asylum in late February 2020. He is now able to live freely and continue his advocacy in the United States.
attorney John Gavin, of K&L Gates LLP, successfully represented a client from Burkina Faso who was kidnapped, tortured and threatened due to his Islamic faith. After fleeing to the U.S. and being detained for 8 months, the client was granted asylum before the Boston Immigration Court and in January 2020 was released from detention.
The Boston College Immigration Law Clinic,
led by Attorney Mary
successfully represented a client from Somalia in his termination case in the Boston Immigration Court. The government alleged that he was removable and at risk of losing his green card. The Boston College Immigration Law Clinic presented evidence that he was not removable as charged because his conviction had been vacated and he was subsequently released from detention and his removal proceedings were terminated.
A team of pro bono attorneys including Martha Koster, of
, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsk and Popeo, P.C. successfully represented a Rwandan human rights activist who was denied bond and detained for almost a year while his case was pending. The
team filed a
corpus petition under the Pereira Brito class action lawsuit, claiming that the court was prejudiced in the client's initial bond. Based on the
, the government granted an ICE bond in the amount of $9,000. The pro bono team, with the help of PAIR, referred the client to a local bond fund who paid the bond within a week. The client has since been released from detention and is living with volunteers while he continues to fight his asylum case.
PAIR pro bono attorney Justin
successfully represented a Guatemalan woman named who was forced to leave her country due to verbal and physical abuse and death threats from her former partner who was a member of the 18
th street gang. After working on her case for several years, client was granted asylum before the Boston Immigration Court and is working to secure post grant benefits and petition for her daughter.
Attorney Elma Delic, of K&L Gates, working with PAIR staff attorney Irene Freidel, won asylum for a Congolese man forced to flee his native country after being tortured by his government for exposing its atrocities.
The client was a photojournalist who filmed the government's abuse of political protestors and published the images on a media website. Thanks to his legal team, the client was granted asylum and is finally able to start rebuilding his life in the United States without fear of being returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Harvard Immigration Clinic, led by Attorney Philip Torrey, successfully represented a client from Sudan. Client fled grave persecution and thanks to his legal team won relief under the Convention against Torture. The client is now released from detention and able to live freely.
Call for Pro Bono Attorneys
Study after study show that
asylum seekers with counsel are five
times more likely to be granted asylum than unrepresented applicants. You can make a difference! PAIR has several compelling cases that require
representation before the Asylum Office and Immigration Court. If you are interested in taking a case, please contact
Anita P. Sharma
for more information. Please consider supporting PAIR with a monetary donation -- we are so grateful for your support!