2016 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Maricela Lechuga

Maricela Lechuga

Name of Host Organization: Tahirih Justice Center
City, State: Falls Church, Virginia
Issue area: Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Hilton Worldwide; DLA Piper

The Project

Provide trauma informed immigration legal representation to Latin American immigrant women with children and girls who immigrated with a parent or guardian (also known as adults with children), who have survived gender-based violence, face deportation, and now reside in the Greater Washington, DC area.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
From July 2014 to January 2015, there was an estimated 2,000 AWCs in the Greater Washington, DC Area. Unrepresented AWCs have about a 100% chance of being deported, while those with representation have a 25% chance of qualifying for some type of immigration relief. Immigration representation makes all the difference, however only 30% of AWCs actually obtain legal representation.
The Right Person For This Project: 
Maricela is the right person for the project because:
• Of her extensive expertise in asylum law
• Her coordination and management experience
• Her experience providing culturally competent and trauma informed legal representation

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