Host: East Bay Community Law Center
Abel addressed the needs of immigrant minors in South Florida’s immigration, juvenile justice, and dependency judicial systems through direct advocacy and education while facilitating collaboration between advocates and welfare authorities.
Unaccompanied immigrant children are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The immigrant minor population has increased dramatically in South Florida. Many of these children have also been involved in in the state juvenile justice and dependency judicial systems. They should not have to confront the labyrinth of the U.S. immigration system, family courts, and the juvenile justice process alone. Abel’s fellowship focused on the needs of immigrant minors in the delinquency and dependency systems through direct advocacy and collaboration with stakeholders who could help those minors. Through his fellowship, Abel assisted immigrant minors obtain legal immigration status and not have face the labyrinth of the complex judicial systems alone.
In the past two years, Abel has:
• Assisted clients in obtaining citizenship, legal permanent residency, special immigrant juvenile visas, , family visas, and work permits for his clients
• Represented clients seeking dependency and temporary custody orders, and extended foster care in the 11th, 15th, and 19th Judicial Circuits of Florida
• Worked closely with stakeholders in the Department of Children and Families, medical clinics, state attorney’s offices, public defender’s offices, probation officers, and others.
• Served as Friend of Court in Miami Immigration Court, helping ensure immigrant minors were granted proper due process during immigration proceedings
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Abel plans to:
• Continue advocating for the rights immigrant minors as an attorney for the Children’s Legal Program at Americans for Immigrant Justice
• Serve as an intermediary for stakeholders in the immigration, delinquency, and dependency judicial systems in South Florida