Jacqueline Kelley

  • Hosted by Irish International Immigrant Center
  • Sponsored by General Electric Company, Jones Day
  • Service location Boston, Massachusetts
  • Law school Northeastern University School of Law
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Facilitate access to safety and stability for low-income immigrant survivors of domestic violence in Greater Boston through direct representation, community collaboration and outreach.

Immigrant survivors of domestic violence encounter staggering barriers to safety and independence, including language barriers, ineligibility for basic social support, irregular employment eligibility, and fear of deportation. This project was born out of the urgent need witnessed by community partners for comprehensive, direct representation of immigrant survivors in Greater Boston. Overtaxed legal services have led to a critical gap in assistance to survivors, unnecessarily keeping them in dangerous and unhealthy situations. To meet this need, the project forged a new partnership between the Irish International Immigrant Center and the Domestic Violence Institute of Northeastern University School of Law. This partnership combines full representation before U.S. immigration agencies with advocacy in abuse prevention and family law.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Jacqueline has:

  • Represented dozens of survivors before federal immigration agencies, obtaining work authorization and permanent immigration status for all clients who have received decisions to date;
  • Provided advice and counsel to hundreds of immigrant survivors, ensuring these individuals knew their rights, immigration options and best avenues towards legal status;
  • Trained 160 allies and partners in options for domestic violence-based immigration relief; and
  • Taught and consulted with 90 law students representing immigrant survivors in civil matters.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Jacqueline plans to:

  • Work as a full-time immigration attorney at Irish International Immigrant Center, focusing on representing immigrant survivors of trauma and violence;
  • Continue to develop key community partnerships to ensure that immigrant survivors have swift access to trustworthy legal consultations and full representation; and
  • Advocate for the rights of all immigrants in the face of overwhelming xenophobic policies and anti-immigrant rhetoric and for comprehensive, human immigration reform.

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