Photo of Julia Potach

Julia Potach

  • Hosted by Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
  • Sponsored by Allen I Saeks PA, Anonymous
  • Service location Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Law school University of Minnesota Law School
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Julia Potach (she/her/hers) combats racial injustices caused by the disparate impact of the “crimmigration” system through collaborative litigation and education for noncitizens who urgently need to overturn unjust convictions.

As large numbers of refugees and immigrants have made Minnesota their home, many have come in contact with the criminal justice system, which disproportionately impacts communities of color at every stage. Criminal convictions make refugees and immigrants ineligible to adjust their immigration status or seek relief, regardless of the circumstances of their arrest and evidence of rehabilitation. While post-conviction relief promises a way to successfully mitigate the adverse immigration consequences of a conviction, immigration legal service providers have historically lacked the capacity and specialized training to provide representation that spans both the federal immigration and state criminal legal systems.

Julia provided legal services to families held in the country’s largest immigration detention center before attending law school. Her work there inspired her to advocate for the most marginalized and vulnerable immigrants.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Julia will represent immigrants and refugees with criminal records, especially those who would be good candidates for post-conviction relief and have long periods of residence in the community. She will also engage in advocacy efforts to increase access to immigration-related post-conviction relief in Minnesota. Additionally, she will provide community legal education about the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and the availability of post-conviction relief vehicles to mitigate such consequences.

Media

Julia Potach, 3L, Hillary Richard ’21 Named Equal Justice Works Fellows

For many noncitizens with criminal records, post-conviction relief is the only way to remain in the United States and avoid indefinite separation from their families and communities.

Julia Potach /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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