Isabel Abreu

  • Hosted by HIAS Pennsylvania
  • Sponsored by Covington & Burling LLP, Merck & Co., Inc.
  • Service location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Law school University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Isabel provided legal representation and conducted outreach to low-income immigrant survivors of domestic violence in underserved outlying Pennsylvania counties.

Lack of stable immigration status is a frequent and often insurmountable barrier to leaving an abusive relationship for many survivors of domestic violence. Pathways to stable immigration status exist that enable survivors to seek out safety and self-sufficiency away from their abusers. However before Isabel became a fellow roughly 30% of Pennsylvania’s immigrants were living in counties where there were almost no affordable immigration legal service providers. This meant that many survivors and their advocates were unaware of these pathways or had no way to secure them. Isabel educated community organizations in these counties to identify individuals in need of services.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship period:

  • Isabel provided immigration representation to 70 individuals including survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their family members
  • Isabel provided brief legal orientations to an additional 54 immigrants regarding their rights and eligibility for relief based on domestic violence and sexual assault
  • Isabel and her sponsors created educational materials for social service providers to help them support immigrant survivors of domestic violence
  • Isabel built and strengthened referral partnerships with 5 social service organizations operating in the geographic area and collaborated with an additional 8 organizations to serve clients.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Isabel will continue on as a staff attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania representing survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, addressing the overwhelming need for services that her Fellowship exposed.

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