Camille Van Kote

  • Hosted by St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigration Legal Assistance
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Houston, Texas
  • Law school University of Houston Law Center
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Camille provides family law representation to low-income immigrant women who have been victims of crime and is establishing a referral network to meet the victims’ wide-ranging legal needs.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project

Access to civil legal resources for undocumented immigrants is often hindered by fear of deportation, distrust of law enforcement, miseducation and language barriers. Immigrant women who have become victims of domestic violence and other serious crimes since their arrival to the United States are faced with even more challenges, which make them particularly vulnerable in the legal system. Gaps in legal services pose systemic hurdles that are extremely challenging to overcome. Without holistic representation to address their wideranging legal needs, these women are unable to move forward from their victimization.

Highlights to Date

In the first year, Camille has:

  • Met with legal service providers and family law attorneys to discuss access to family law services for undocumented victims of crime in the Houston area.
  • Conducted 56 intakes with undocumented victims of crime to identify immigration, civil and family law legal needs.
  • Provided family law information, brief counsel, advice and referrals to 50 victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other serious crimes.
  • Collaborated with the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Self Help Booth program to provide family law information during the Catholic Charities monthly legal talks.
  • Attended five outreach events to educate the community and provide information about Catholic Charities’ Crime Victim Program.

What’s Next

In the next year, Camille Van Kote plans to:

  • Provide direct representation to more than five undocumented victims of crime in family law proceedings.
  • Organize a CLE in collaboration with other nonprofit legal service providers to establish best practices for family attorneys working with undocumented crime victims in the current administration.
  • Recruit family law attorneys to provide legal advice, research and pro bono representation.

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