Winter 2022

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In This Issue

Agency-Related Updates

PAIR Federal Litigation Victories

Running for A Cause

Save the Date:

2022 PAIR Gala

PAIR Welcomes

New Staff

News from the PAIR Staff and Board

Help Us Track PAIR Clients

Volunteer Spotlight

Client Grant Stories

Call for Pro Bono Attorneys

Dear PAIR Friends, 

These continue to be uncertain times, but PAIR is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to serve vulnerable asylum seekers and immigrants unjustly detained by the immigration service through its pro bono model. Our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our staff, clients, volunteers, pro bono partners, and community members. Clients or immigrants in need may call the PAIR main line (617-742-9296) or email Someone at PAIR will call/email back. 


PAIR is working as hard as ever to protect the legal rights of clients and ensure our volunteers are set up for success. For details on all of PAIR's upcoming trainings, please visit our website. If you would like to support PAIR's efforts during this time, consider taking a pro bono case or making a donation.

We hope the information in this newsletter will be helpful to you. Justice, hope, & safety to all! 


Team PAIR: Angela, Amy, Anghie, Anita, Elena, Elizabeth, Dani, Gaby, Heather, Irene, Juan, Julia, Luke, Marianne, Melanie, Sarah, Seth, Violeta & Yanzie

Agency-Related Updates

Boston Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR)


Video Judges in Boston

The panel of immigration judges (IJs) in the Boston Immigration Court has expanded greatly to include a number of video judges in remote locations. Cases are being re-docketed to different judges and hearing dates are being changed, so please periodically confirm your hearing date by checking the online portal or calling the EOIR Hotline: 1-800-898-7180. Additionally, IJs maintain different practices regarding counsel and Respondents’ ability to appear by Webex. Please consult with your PAIR mentor well in advance of a hearing.

Electronic Filing (e-filing)

EOIR Courts & Appeals System (ECAS) becomes mandatory on February 11, 2022 for cases where the NTA was filed electronically (meaning more recently-filed cases). For more information on the roll-out, you can review a list of FAQs. ECAS will require an adjustment to the way you practice before the immigration court. You should register for ECAS on the EOIR’s website.

While e-filing may open up opportunities for our clients, there are likely to be issues with it, including having to check your email diligently, uploading forms with original/wet ink signatures, monitoring email for deadlines (BIA appeals), and other technical issues. Here are instructions posted by EOIR on how to upload court-related documents. Consider watching this five-minute instructional video.

EOIR will offer information sessions throughout 2022. To receive notice of upcoming sessions, subscribe to EOIR’s email updates. For more information, visit here.

US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)


USCIS is open by appointment only and has resumed in-person interviews, but is working through a significant backlog. Requests for an InfoPass, such as to produce documentation after a case granted in Immigration Court, must be made by calling the USCIS Contact Center: 1-800-375-5283.  

Responses to Requests for Evidence and certain other notices issued by USCIS between 3/1/2020 and 3/26/2022 are being given 60 additional days to respond on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read here for more information.

Additionally, USCIS continues to accept copies of original signatures for application and benefit filings.

Boston Asylum Office

Please update your record with the Asylum Office’s new contact information.

Physical address where all asylum interviews will take place:


Boston Asylum Office

John W. McCormack Federal Building

5 Post Office Square, 14th Floor

Boston, MA 02109

Mailing address:

USCIS – Boston Asylum Office

5 Post Office Square, Ste. 1462

Boston, MA 02109

Telephone: 617-574-3600

Fax: 617-574-3601


To ensure public safety, the Asylum Office is presently interviewing cases where attorneys and applicants are in separate rooms connected by video conference. Interpreters are provided by the Asylum Office at this time. There is also an option for the attorney of record to appear by video. This format may change in the near future, so please stay in touch with your PAIR mentor for updates.

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

The VSC has a new mailing address. Please update your record.

USCIS Vermont Service Center

38 River Road

Essex Junction, VT 05479-0001

Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)

PAIR clients with ICE check-ins may report by email rather than in-person to: Clients with an Order of Supervision should report to: Attorneys should email on behalf of their clients by providing the client’s name, A#, and address. ICE should reply with a subsequent check-in date. If your client is subject to any kind of electronic monitoring, please consult with your PAIR mentor. 

Beginning 11/8/2021, ICE will be mailing “packets” including the Notice to Appear to non citizens who were detained at entry in May 2021 or later. If your client may fall into this category, please reach out to your PAIR mentor. 

Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)

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Appointments are now encouraged but not required at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). If lines are long, individuals without appointments may be asked to return at a later time or date. Most clients with an auto-extended Employment Authorization Document (EAD) based on a pending renewal will encounter difficulty applying for or renewing a Massachusetts ID or license, apart from those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Attorneys are encouraged to help their clients prepare for the appointment with evidence and explanation of the auto-renewal, along with other necessary documents. If the RMV refuses to issue the requested document based on inadequate proof of lawful status, clients should request a record of denial, provide that to their attorney, and the attorney should email and scan the relevant documentation to Peter Rees (, noting that they are a volunteer attorney with PAIR. Please copy your PAIR mentor when doing so.

PAIR Federal Litigation Victories


PAIR’s ability to assist clients with federal appeals has made a significant mark on the lives of PAIR clients. In 2021, PAIR’s Legal Director, Elena Noureddine and PAIR’s Detention Fellow Irene Freidel, had two First Circuit victories for asylum seekers who had previously been detained by the ICE and were at imminent risk of deportation. These two cases, Cuesta-Rojas v. Garland, 991 F.3d 266, 270 (1st Cir. 2021) and Lopez Troche v. Garland, No. 20-1718 (1st Cir. 2021), challenged adverse credibility decisions in which judges had used minor, non-existent and mischaracterized alleged inconsistencies, to deny our clients relief from deportation. Mr. Cuesta Rojas, a political activist from Cuba who was brutally tortured by the dictatorship, and Mr. Lopez Troche, an HIV positive gay man from Honduras who found refuge in MA after years of suffering torture and violence, had their deportations stopped by the First Circuit. The Court in both matters issued notable precedential decisions, standing out in stark contrast to a litany of bad case law surrounding asylum seekers and credibility findings. These cases are seen by the immigration bar as helping draw the line for unbridled immigration judge discretion on credibility findings in asylum cases.

Another victory came through PAIR’s amicus work and pro bono partnership. In 2020, PAIR served as amicus for a petition for panel and en banc rehearing in Diaz Ortiz v. Garland, No. 19-1620 (1st Cir. 2022) before the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The petition challenged, as fundamentally unfair and violating the basic principles of due process, the practice of the Boston Police Department systematically labeling Hispanic teenagers as gang members in a “gang database”, and the immigration courts’ practice of treating these false labels as incontrovertible truths. In December 2020, the First Circuit granted the petition for en banc review, and in 2021, PAIR with co-counsel and pro bono partner Ropes & Gray LLP, submitted another amicus in support of the petition. On January 10, 2022, the First Circuit issued a published decision, granting the petition and holding that the immigration judge erred in denying asylum because the decision relied on a flawed “erratic point system built on unsubstantiated inferences” (“the gang database”) as a basis. The implications of this decision are vast, affecting many PAIR clients and beyond, as “gang databases” are widely used in immigration courts to racially profile, target, and systematically deny protection to Latino youth. 

Running for a Cause: Go Team PAIR!

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Thanks to the generosity of John Hancock, PAIR is proud to have received 2 charity bibs for the 2021 Boston Marathon. Our runners were Alex Lai, of Lazard Ltd., and Sarah Sherman-Stokes, of the Boston University School of Law. Both ran the historic race on October 11th, raising over $21,000 to support PAIR's programs.

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PAIR is fortunate to once again receive 2 charity bibs for the 2022 Boston Marathon from John Hancock. We are thrilled to announce that Paul Kazarnovsky, of RSST Law Group, and Julio Cortés del Olmo, of Del Olmo Law PC, will be running for Team PAIR on April 18th and have pledged to raise $15,000 to support PAIR's programs.

Save the Date: 2022 PAIR Gala

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This year’s Annual PAIR Gala is scheduled for Monday, June 6, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. EST. More information on this virtual event to come. 

We hope to see you there! To learn more about the gala, please visit our website. To sponsor the gala, please email us

PAIR Welcomes New Staff

Since our last newsletter, PAIR welcomed new members to our team: 


Juan Bedoya, Esq. is a staff attorney and Skadden Fellow at PAIR. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow and the Senior Notes Editor of the New York University Law Review. Prior to law school, Juan volunteered with the Immigration Unit of the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island. He also taught English in Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. Juan joined PAIR in fall 2020.

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Julia Ciachurski, Esq. is a Legal Fellow supporting Community Engagement efforts at PAIR. She holds a J.D. from Boston College (BC) Law School and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. During law school, Julia participated in BC’s Immigration Clinic where she represented indigent immigrants in their removal and bond proceedings in immigration and federal court. Julia joined PAIR in summer 2021.

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Daniela Hargus is a part-time Program Associate and Legal Extern at PAIR, where she assists with detention-related programming and paralegal matters. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Boston College and is currently a third-year law student at Boston University School of Law. As a law student, Dani serves as a Note Development Editor on the Boston University Law Review and is a former student advocate in the Immigrants' Rights and Human Trafficking Program. Dani joined PAIR in summer 2021.

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Melanie Gleason, Esq. is the Pro Bono Involvement Coordinator at PAIR, where she manages PAIR’s recruitment, training, and mentoring of PAIR volunteer attorneys. Before coming to PAIR, Melanie spent over 5 years practicing immigration law, including supporting a pro bono program for asylum seekers at the southern border and the medical-legal partnership at Massachusetts General Hospital. Melanie joined PAIR in winter 2021.

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Anghie Guevara Reyes is the Intake Assistant at PAIR, where she supports PAIR’s mission by managing incoming calls and referrals from immigrants, ensuring access to legal services and representation. She graduated from high school in 2018. She was a helper in an English Language Arts (ELA) class where she would offer translation support and help students with their homework. Anghie first joined PAIR in 2018, and returned in fall 2021.

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Luke Morrell is the Administrative Associate at PAIR, which supports PAIR’s mission, operations work, office management, and legal programs. He graduated from UMass Amherst with a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and Minors in Arabic and Latin and studied abroad in Jordan and Lebanon, where he became interested in refugee services and immigration law. Prior to PAIR, he worked as a Lead Career Coach at JVS supporting refugees, asylees, asylum seekers, and immigrants with career advancement. Luke joined PAIR in fall 2021.

News from the PAIR Staff and Board

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Book Release - Journeys from There to Here

Susan J. Cohen, PAIR’s Board President and renowned immigration attorney, has written an incredible book with Steven T. Taylor! Journeys from There to Here takes readers from the conference room to the courtroom as we walk with 11 immigrants, all of whom faced heart-wrenching trials and tribulations throughout their efforts to forge a new life in the United States. Susan will be donating all of the proceeds from her book to PAIR. Thank you, Susan, for your profound dedication to asylum seekers and the immigration community at large! Purchase the book here; read more about the book here.

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Elena Noureddine Selected

as a BU Law Honoree 

PAIR is proud of Legal Director Elena Noureddine, who was honored in October 2020 by the BU Law Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program during the fourth year celebration of its mentorship program to connect current Program students with BU Law alumni in the immigrants’ rights and human trafficking fields.


Anita P. Sharma Selected

as a Super Lawyer

PAIR is pleased to announce that Super Lawyers selected Anita P. Sharma for the "2021 Massachusetts Super Lawyers" list. The Super Lawyers selection process is a "comprehensive, good-faith, and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, meet ethical standards, and have demonstrated some degree of achievement in their field."

Help Us Track PAIR Clients

Client Alumni Initiative and Post-Asylum Grant Benefits 

PAIR is seeking updates for PAIR clients who won asylum and are now accessing 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 refer 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 brief form.

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 PAIR. 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 brief form to help us gather this information.

Volunteer Spotlight


Attorney Alison Holdway, an associate at Greenberg Traurig, led a team that included Shalayne Pillar and Linda Ricci in representing a young man from Honduras who survived horrific violence in addition to the murder of his brother by gangs before seeking safety in the U.S. Attorney Holdway succeeded in obtaining special findings for the client in addition to preparing his asylum case in a very short time frame, which required her to gather evidence from Honduras, prepare multiple expert witnesses, and navigate the many challenges to preparation that poverty often poses for PAIR’s clients. Attorney Holdway also helped her client access much-needed medical care to address the injuries he survived before fleeing Honduras. Attorney Holdway’s dedication and perseverance in working through obstacles in partnership with her client exemplify PAIR’s mission to provide representation and access to justice for indigent non citizens. We wish her and her team the best of luck in their continued hearing!

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 David McHaffey, Robin Nice, and Kate Lebeaux of McHaffey & Nice LLC won asylum for a young woman and her child on account of being indigenous Guatemalan women after she was trafficked and abused by a man in Guatemala. 

Fish & Richardson P.C.'s team of Sean Dean, Kayleigh McGlynn, Chris O’Reilly, Megan O’Meara, and Larry Kolodney succeeded in obtaining T-visa relief for their client and her two sons on account of her trafficking after a long battle which their client had begun by losing her asylum case pro se on due to a single discrepancy with her credible fear interview. The team’s work began by filing her first appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals the day before the pandemic shut-down in March 2020, filing a second appeal and amazing brief to the First Circuit focused on the repeat injustices and absurd results that transpire for pro se asylum seekers in the immigration court, while pursuing T visa relief that was ultimately successful. The team continues to pursue Special Immigrant Juvenile relief for her two sons to preserve potentially faster avenues to permanent status. We appreciate their willingness to leave no stone unturned! 

Sarah Sherman-Stokes led a team of student attorneys Daisy Figueroa, Maggie Lovric, and Kayla Walker at Boston University Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Clinic that worked with their young Honduran client as she sought asylum. After suffering years of sexual abuse by family members, the client made an arduous journey to the U.S. in late 2018. The legal team navigated the client’s struggles with competency to stand trial and presented the case to the Boston Immigration Court, which was granted asylum in the fall of 2020.

Sarah Sherman-Stokes led a second student attorney team of Kayla Walker and Anyela Perez of Boston University Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Clinic in successfully reopening the removal order of their client who had fled El Salvador after the murder of her father and abuse related to her LGBTQI status. The client was successfully granted asylum in the fall of 2020. The Clinic continues to support their client in petitioning for her spouse’s derivative status.


Sarah Sherman-Stokes led a third student attorney team of Julian Bugarin, Kennedy Barber-Fraser, Maggie Rodriguez, and Dani Hargus (now part of PAIR’s staff!) in representing a large family of 6 with dual nationality from Guatemala and El Salvador who had suffered prolonged gender- and gang-based persecution from multiple actors over the course of their lives. The family was granted asylum in June 2021. The Clinic continues to support the family in their asylum-based adjustment process as well as the many social obstacles they have continued to face.

Since 2017, Deena Feit, Stephanie Kim, and Jane Tomic of Ropes & Gray LLP have represented their client and her son, who fled years of gender-related persecution in Guatemala by the client’s former partner and his family. Navigating both difficult case law on gender-related persecution that has since been repealed as well as one of the first individual hearings after the commencement of the pandemic, the team’s client was granted asylum in July 2020. The team, supported by Isabelle Farrar, continues to support their client with family petitions, seeking to reunify their client with her minor daughter who remains in Guatemala.

In 2018, Whitney Reichel and Eda Stark of Fish & Richardson P.C. took on the case of a Ugandan political activist. The client had been an active member of the political opposition in Uganda and as a result of her peaceful organizing, she was kidnapped and severely tortured, leaving her with significant long-term physical injuries. Having secured a grant of asylum from the Boston Asylum Office in the spring of 2020, the team quickly turned to reuniting the client with her two young children. The team navigated a tricky I-730 process that happily enabled the family to reunite in early 2021. The team is currently pursuing their client’s application to adjust status to that of a permanent lawful resident. PAIR is grateful for the team’s deep commitment to the client and her family.

The legal team of Molly Grammel, Elaine Herrmann Blais, and Kathryn Kosinski of Goodwin Procter LLP celebrated the grant of asylum for their client by the Boston Immigration Court in the fall of 2020, concluding a nearly eight-year process to gain safety in the United States. The client had endured years of discrimination and mistreatment in Uganda because of her sexual orientation, including detention and rape by Ugandan police. She began working with Goodwin Procter attorneys in 2012. After two Asylum Office interviews, the case was referred to the Boston Immigration Court where the case was ultimately granted. PAIR applauds the perseverance and great skill shown by both the client and her dedicated legal team.

Martha Koster, Emma Follansbee, and Juan Steevens of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo P.C. secured Special Immigrant Juvenile status for their Salvadoran client which led to the approval of the client’s green card application in the fall of 2021. The client grew up in a family that struggled financially and she was abandoned by her father. She was abused for years by a police officer until she fled to the United States in the hopes of finding safety and security. With the support of her expert legal team, the client has achieved that goal. 

Mikayla Foster, Andy O’Laughlin, Alexandra Lavin, and Brian Driscoll of WilmerHale LLP were able to celebrate their client’s asylum grant in the fall of 2020 after nearly eight years of work in pursuit of this relief. The client is an Afghan man who had been repeatedly targeted and threatened by the Taliban and other extremist groups because of his political beliefs, ethnic identity, and status as a religious minority. Undeterred by the Asylum Office’s referral to immigration court, the team and client worked tirelessly to present the compelling case to the Immigration Judge who ultimately granted relief. 


The team of Yanbing Chu, Alexandra Gliga, Matthew Turnell, Samuel Feldman, and William Barrett of White & Case LLP successfully represented their client in her asylum proceeding before the Boston Immigration Court. The client fled Cote d’Ivoire in 2011 after she was brutally raped by soldiers because of her political activism on behalf of women’s rights. Through different counsel, the client applied for asylum and was referred to immigration court. The White & Case team took on the matter in this defensive posture in 2018, securing a grant of asylum in the fall of 2021. 

Kaitlyn Leonard, Katherine Foote, Jordan Cohen, and Erica Coray of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo P.C. succeeded in obtaining asylum for their client, a Turkish naval officer who had been presumed to be opposed to the ruling government. In the wake of the attempted coup in the summer of 2016, the Turkish government violently cracked down on those it believed were opposed to the regime, including those like the client who had studied in the U.S. Colleagues who had returned to Turkey after such studies were often arrested, tortured, or killed. The client was granted asylum, ensuring his safety and that of his wife and two children. 

At the end of 2021, David McHaffey, Kate Lebeaux, and Robin Nice of McHaffey & Nice LLC succeeded in obtaining asylum for their young client and her child from the Boston Asylum Office on account of the gender-related violence and trafficking she had experienced as a young indigenous girl in Guatemala. We are grateful to the team’s persistence while waiting nearly two years since her asylum interview for the decision.  

Alyssa Fixsen of Ropes & Gray LLP obtained derivative asylum status for the wife and two children of a long-time client from Cameroon. The client was granted asylum in 2007 based upon his political activism and subsequent torture by the Cameroonian government. The commitment by Ropes & Gray and PAIR continued for nearly a decade and a half, culminating in the recent Nunc Pro Tunc grant of asylum for the family. Such persistence has allowed the family to enjoy long-term stability in the U.S.

Attorney Kathleen Kahmann Farrell successfully obtained Special Immigrant Juvenile status and a green card with her young Honduran client in the summer of 2021. The client arrived in the U.S. alone in 2015. She had been abandoned by her father at a young age, her mother struggled to provide for the family’s basic needs, and the client was repeatedly sexually abused by a cousin. With guidance and support from Attorney Kahmann Farrell, the client was able to courageously share her story and get the relief she deserves.

Attorney Franklin Schwarzer also successfully obtained Special Immigrant Juvenile status and a green card for his young client from Honduras at the end of 2021, in spite of pushback from USCIS that required Attorney Schwarzer to return to the family court for new findings and brief several issues before the agency. The client had experienced abuse by her grandmother, abandonment by her mother, and further abuse by her father until she escaped with her child to the United States. Now that she has her permanent residence, Attorney Schwarzer continues to support her in seeking asylum for her child.

Call for Pro Bono Attorneys 

Study after study show that non-detained asylum seekers with counsel are four times (4x) more likely to be granted asylum than unrepresented applicants; for detained asylum seekers, that number jumps to eight times (8x) more likely to be granted if there is an attorney on the case. You can make a difference! 

PAIR has several compelling cases that require pro bono representation before the Asylum Office and Immigration Court. If you are interested in taking a case, please contact Melanie Gleason ( for more information. To also find more about pro bono opportunities in general, you can schedule a virtual meet and greet with Melanie here.


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