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Headshot of Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers

  • Hosted by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location El Paso, Texas
  • Law school The University of Michigan Law School
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations, Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Chris (he/him/his) will help noncitizen U.S. military veterans and active duty service members obtain citizenship, veterans benefits, and public assistance benefits they may qualify for.

Despite provisions of law designed to give immigrants who served in the military a streamlined path to citizenship, between 90,000 and 125,000 veterans remain noncitizens. The law is supposed to be on their side, but their path to citizenship is often blocked by the inherent difficulties of navigating the nation’s complex and unforgiving immigration system. This phenomenon has been exacerbated as, over the last six years, the executive branch and military placed additional hurdles in the path of service members seeking to naturalize. No one who has put their life on the line for this country should ever face deportation, but many do because they were unable to complete the naturalization process while eligible, and later—often minor—infractions put their immigration status in jeopardy.

Chris is an Iraq War veteran who relied on local interpreters to do his job. He was inspired to seek a career in immigration law by seeing the hurdles they faced and the desperate conditions that led them, like many other hopeful immigrants, to hope for safety in the U.S.

Fellowship Plans

Chris will combat the deportation and marginalization of noncitizen veterans in southwest Texas through outreach, education, and representation in naturalization, VA benefits, and public assistance benefits. His foremost focus will be on preventative action: helping those still on active duty navigate the naturalization process and forestall any possibility of adverse future action. At the same time, he will partner with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and pro bono attorneys to grow long-term capacity to represent other noncitizen veterans. Chris’ efforts will be underpinned by outreach to veteran and community organizations, leveraging their existing ties to the population to help build a client base.

As an American, I think the U.S. should welcome all immigrants. As a veteran, I am appalled that someone who has served, as I did, could ever face deportation.

Chris Rogers /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Chris

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Headshot of Danicole Ramos

Danicole Ramos

Host: William S. Richardson School of Law Refugee & Immigration Law Clinic

Sponsor: Anonymous

Current Fellow

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Joe Philipson

Host: Bet Tzedek Legal Services

Sponsor: Fish & Richardson P.C., Microsoft Corporation

Current Fellow

Photo of Karla Perez

Karla Perez

Host: Tahirih Justice Center

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Texas Access to Justice Foundation

Sarah Schwartz

Host: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Inc.

Sponsor: Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, The Anheuser-Busch Foundation