Photo of Callen Lowell

Callen Lowell

  • Hosted by Brooklyn Defender Services
  • Sponsored by PepsiCo, Inc.
  • Service location Brooklyn, New York
  • Law school Columbia Law School
  • Issue area Workers' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Callen (they/them/theirs) will represent low-income immigrants in New York City who are entangled in the immigration and criminal legal systems on workers’ rights and related immigration issues through direct representation, systemic litigation, and policy reform.

Immigrant workers in low-wage and informal jobs in New York City face exploitative working conditions with little recourse. For immigrant workers who are also entangled in the immigration and/or criminal legal systems (“crimmigration systems”), the consequences are dire: deadly workplace conditions, discrimination, wage theft, financial instability due to job loss, and the ever-looming threat of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While NYC law affords workers many protections, low-wage immigrant workers are unable to enforce these rights without legal representation, and fear of repercussions often prevents immigrant workers from asserting their rights. When these workers are arrested, even when charges are dismissed, immigration and workplace consequences may remain. Located within a public defense office, the project will provide representation for low-wage immigrant workers entangled in the immigration systems who are otherwise isolated and hard to reach.

Fellowship Plans

Callen will represent immigrant workers at Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) involved in the immigration and criminal legal systems on issues of worker safety, paid leave, wage theft, and discrimination via administrative agency enforcement, litigation, arbitration, and mediation. For undocumented workers, Callen will work with BDS’s immigration practice to file U and T Visa applications for clients whose work conditions make them eligible for this form of immigration relief. Additionally, Callen will create materials to educate attorneys working within the immigration and criminal legal systems about common workers’ rights claim their clients may have.

I was drawn to Brooklyn Defender Services because of their commitment to building worker power for those who are often most excluded from safe, equitable workplaces.

Callen Lowell /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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