Gabi Nava

The Project

Gabi (she/her/hers) will advocate on the behalf of asylum-seeking families by seeking to redress harms suffered by the families subjected to separation and other violations of their civil and human rights and by challenging policies affecting asylum-seeking families.

Since 2017, asylum-seeking families and children have been the targets of the Trump Administration’s most abhorrent, inhumane, and unlawful immigration policies. From forced separation of children from their parents to indefinite detention of children and families in unsafe conditions including active COVID-19 outbreaks to forced placement in the “Migrant Protection Protocols” program to the virtual elimination of refugee and asylum protections, immigrant families seeking protection from persecution and torture are in a battle for their lives with the odds purposefully stacked against them. This project will work to provide asylum-seeking families an avenue for legal redress for harms suffered at the hands of federal agents, as well as challenge immigration policies that directly affect asylum-seeking families through strategic impact litigation.

Gabi’s background in Human Rights Law and her family’s Mexican-American heritage motivates her commitment to challenging inhumane and unlawful immigration policies and to fight for the families harmed by the actions of the United States immigration system.

Fellowship Plans

Gabi will file Federal Tort Claim Act actions on behalf of asylum-seekers who suffered violations of their civil and human rights at the hands of federal agents. Additionally, she will work to formalize and further develop Aldea’s impact litigation program in partnership with law firm pro bono partners to systemically challenge policies affecting asylum-seeking families, such as forced separation of children from their parents; placement in the “Migrant Protection Protocols” program; unsafe, unsanitary and unlawful conditions in family detention (with a focus on the Berks Family Residential Center); and administrative rule-making intended to deprive asylum-seekers of relief based on racial animus.

Media

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The US immigration system has created a human rights crisis that needs to be addressed immediately. The asylum-seeking families that have been harmed by the US Government's need legal advocates to take up this fight.

Gabi Nava /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Archie provided coordinated, comprehensive legal services to senior homeowners who are victims of fraud and elder abuse to preserve their homeownership and home equity.

His project helped stabilize local communities by helping lower-income seniors to preserve their assets and financial independence while also preventing homelessness among older adults.

Archie further expanded Bet Tzedek’s capacity to provide victim-centered direct legal services in historically underserved areas of Los Angeles County, including in rural areas such as Palmdale and Lancaster. In addition to providing direct legal services, he conducted presentations on elder abuse and fraud impacting homeowners, home equity protections, crime victims’ rights, civil legal options (e.g. administrative complaints, criminal charges, and affirmative litigation), and social service resources.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Archie:

  • Provided full representation and general advice to an underserved population who sought guidance with housing-related issues.
  • Provided outreach and training throughout Los Angeles County and Antelope Valley to effectuate change within the community through presentations. His outreach created opportunities to present on housing matters with community stakeholders, including the White House, the National Center on Law & Elder Rights / Justice in Aging, high schools, law schools, and many more. Archie impacted around 2,000 people in total during his two-year Fellowship in the middle of a pandemic.
  • Completed a co-project scan to asset map LA County, Antelope Valley, and the High Desert. The goal was to aggregate and depict growth sectors and define resources for resource allocation.
  • Helped launch and facilitate support to the Housing Clinic for expansion within Antelope Valley.

Next Steps

After the completion of his Fellowship in 2022, Archie will join Justice in Aging on the Equity Team. Justice in Aging is a national organization that uses the power of the law to fight senior poverty by securing access to affordable health care, economic security, and the courts for older adults with limited resources. Since 1972, Justice in Aging has focused its efforts primarily on those who have been marginalized and deprived of equal justice, such as women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and people with limited English proficiency. Archie continues to support and mentor high school, college, and law school students. He is on the Seattle University School of Law Alumni Board, where he further supports students on campus through mentorship.

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Archie Roundtree, Jr. /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Vallen provides legal advocacy to young adults experiencing or exiting systems of care into homelessness, through holistic, youth-centered services and increased legal literacy on evictions and tenant rights.

Eviction is a major driver of homelessness. In 2019, King County estimated that over 1,000 young adults were experiencing homelessness on any given night in the County. People of color and those identifying as LGBTQ+ are overrepresented among the homeless population. In recent focus groups convened by Legal Counsel for Youth and Children (“LCYC”) and Housing Justice Project (“HJP”), service providers and young people expressed a need for developmentally appropriate legal assistance to help young adults understand their rights, as well as additional legal services if an eviction notice is served. There is also a need for accessible educational materials tailored to the needs of young adults to inform both staff and young adults surrounding tenants’ rights and evictions.

Vallen’s dedication to economic, gender, and racial justice motives his commitment to advocacy on behalf of all tenants.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

During the first year of the Fellowship, Vallen has:

  • Provided representation to over 25 tenants facing eviction
  • Provided counsel & advice or brief services to 90+ tenants with housing-related issues in King County through a hotline and help desk in the courthouse
  • Established a referral network between the Housing Justice Project & Legal Counsel for Youth and Children to provide holistic services to young-adult tenants facing homelessness
  • Presented to young adult groups and service providers – 850 individuals total – on tenants’ rights surrounding Washington’s eviction moratorium and the various changes in the law over the last year
  • Created and shared eight educational short videos targeted towards young adults detailing specific tenants’ rights in Washington
  • Presented to Costco’s legal team and recruited pro bono volunteers

Next Steps

In the next six months, Vallen plans to:

  • Provide direct representation to tenants facing eviction in King County
  • Meet directly with young adults facing housing-related issues and learn more about housing issues that acutely impact young adults
  • Get involved in policy work and legislative advocacy
  • Build relationships with new community partners and organizers to expand this project’s reach

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Being able to advocate for young tenants in such dire circumstances has implications that go far beyond a single eviction case. In fact, a successful life first begins with stable housing.

Vallen Solomon /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Javiera is building a network of service providers to address the legal needs of unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in Eastern Washington.

No child should face Immigration Court alone. Children and families who come to KIND are among the most vulnerable in our society. Many have fled life-threatening violence, struggle with varying forms of trauma, and come to the United States in hopes of finding safety. Unaccompanied immigrant children are not provided with an attorney in their removal (deportation) proceedings; without counsel, it is nearly impossible for them to navigate the U.S. immigration system.

Javiera immigrated to the United States when she was sixteen years old. Throughout her journey, she was treated with empathy. Today, she hopes to be an advocate and support other children in their journeys.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

During the first year of the Fellowship, Javiera has:

  • Provided full legal representation to 15 unaccompanied immigrant children in SIJS applications, applying for work permits, biometric appointments, ICE check-ins, representing clients in Immigration Court, and connecting clients with social services
  • Launched active outreach program in Eastern Washington that includes contacting local service providers and community groups, preparing virtual presentations and webinars for pro bono attorneys, identifying, and pursuing partnership opportunities, and initiating recruitment of pro bono attorneys
  • Conducted three presentations for students, parents of unaccompanied children, and foster parents of unaccompanied refugee minors
  • Established a collaborative relationship with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Lutheran Community Services Northwest, enlisting allies to help expand project reach and exposure
  • Recruited five pro bono volunteers to support KIND’s work.

Next Steps

In the next six months, Javiera plans to:

  • Expand outreach program by connecting with stakeholders, recruiting volunteers, and engaging in education at selected community sites
  • Continue placement of individual clients with pro bono attorneys to expand project capacity to serve unaccompanied immigrant children in Eastern Washington
  • Train, mentor, and provide other resources to pro bono attorneys and the judicial bench
  • Expand caseload to provide full direct legal representation to 22 unaccompanied immigrant children

Media

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KIND was founded based on the conviction that no child should face immigration court alone. The same conviction has inspired me to direct my efforts to immigration law actively.

Javiera L. Wood /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Alex provided direct legal representation to address the immediate legal needs of undocumented youth in rural Washington.

Many undocumented immigrants in the United States face insurmountable barriers. However, cruel immigration policies and a global pandemic make circumstances even worse. The fear of being ripped apart from one’s family, friends, and home hovers over this vulnerable community. Immigrant youth in rural areas are exceptionally vulnerable because of limited resources, endured trauma, and other factors that exacerbate their immediate legal needs. In many areas of North-Central Washington, undocumented youth can slip through the cracks because of the lack of free immigration legal services.

Alex’s family immigrated to this country over 27 years ago. His worst nightmare became a reality when his dad was deported. Growing up, he saw first-hand how his parents were denied rights because of their lack of immigration status. This ignited a passion in Alex, at ten years of age, to advocate alongside the immigrant community.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Alex:

  • Provided full representation to clients on their immigration matters, including pursuing Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, asylum, and U visas
  • Maintained a caseload of direct representation to 90 clients primarily consisting of undocumented youth
  • Provided legal advice or brief legal services to 98 undocumented youth
  • Filed 17 petitions for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for youth in immigration removal proceedings
  • Filed 26 Applications to Register for Permanent Residency and thus far received nine Permanent Residency cards
  • Participated in a recorded discussion regarding current DACA trends with local community leaders in Spanish
  • Consolidated training materials for local county rules that will serve as templates for future pro bono attorneys and partners

Next Steps

Alex will remain at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project as a staff attorney where he will continue to provide direct legal representation to immigrant communities in Washington.

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The Project

Hyun-mi’s Fellowship aimed to protect the civil and legal rights of indigenous children and women afforded under the California Indian Child Welfare Act (Cal-ICWA) and applicable provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) through legal advocacy, community education, collaboration with tribal lawyers, and community organizations led by indigenous advocates and legal workshops with judicial personnel of county and state courts in the SF Bay Area.

The vast majority of juvenile dependency cases involving ICWA issues arise from a familial environment imperiled by domestic violence and/or substance abuse. Although ICWA does not apply to family law proceedings between parents, ICWA can be triggered in domestic violence cases when neither parent is deemed by the court to be fit to raise a child in a safe and healthy environment. My Fellowship played an essential and unique role in addressing the issue of violence against indigenous women. I provided assistance to obtain a restraining order and at the same time informed a victim/survivor of her, her child, and her tribe’s rights afforded under ICWA should an indigenous child be removed from his/her household due to domestic violence. My Fellowship project provided legal advocacy that recognized important intersectional issues between ICWA and violence against indigenous women.

Hyun-mi and her family immigrated to the US in 1995 and it was not until after she took courses in Native American history in college that she started to seriously consider the meaning of “indigeneity,” and the paradox that the land that was taken from indigenous people was the same land that immigrants, including her family, aspire to settle on, in search for a better life.

Fellowship Highlights

Some of Hyun-mi’s accomplishments during her two-year Fellowship include:

  • On May 17, 2021, Hyun-mi was invited to join the panel commemorating the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) in San Francisco, CA. The attendees were comprised of city legislators, policy commissioners, lawyers, advocates, and activists.
  • On November 10, 2021, Hyun-Mi conducted the 1.5 webinar about the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and Family Separation. This event was organized by the Judicial Council of California and sponsored by the Center for Families, Children & the Courts, and the California Department of Social Services. The event was attended by the city legislators, the staff of the Judicial Council, dependency attorneys, child welfare advocates, and law professors.

Next Steps

Hyun-mi will continue to provide legal advocacy to clients and community education to stakeholders on the issues pertinent to ICWA and violence against indigenous women. Additionally, Hyun-mi will be active in DV prevention work at API Legal Outreach.

Media

Two law students earn prestigious Equal Justice Works fellowships

The Project

Javier Dominguez is a 2018 Equal Justice Works Fellow serving in the Disaster Recovery Legal Corps. Javier joined Tahirih Justice Center in 2014 as a Children’s Attorney, where he represents girls and immigrant children in family courts, juvenile law courts, state courts, and immigration court. Prior to Tahirih, he worked as a staff attorney for Catholic Charities. Before graduating from Seattle University School of Law in 2011, he was the Legislative Director for the League of United Latin American Citizens. Javier was born and raised in the transnational border region of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He holds a B.A. in history and Hispanic studies from Brown University and studied abroad in both Spain and Brazil. Javier is also fluent in Spanish.

Javier provides immigration legal services to individuals in the Houston region. He primarily serves vulnerable, low-income immigrant individuals who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey and who are survivors of gender-based violence. Javier assists with a spectrum of immigration legal services including employment authorizations, asylum, relief through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), U-Visas, T-Visas, and relief under Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). He also provides assistance with some relevant family law services, such as assistance with a divorce and custody matters.

The Project

The long-term goals of my project are to establish a system of adequate court representation for all Washington’s foster youth by which an attorney, Guardian ad Litem and/or Court Appointed Special Advocate representation is provided; facilitate full participation of stakeholders in all geographic regions of the state in the foster care reform process; and work with service providers and youth to publish and disseminate a foster youth rights handbook.

REMARKS FROM THE 2008 AMERICAN LAWYER AWARDS DINNER

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The Inspiration

The Project

Hosted at Legal Aid of Arkansas, Kevin focused on providing meaningful service to people in the rural parts of the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River Delta region. As part of his Fellowship, Kevin created and maintained medical-legal partnerships with community health clinics in these rural areas, in order to develop a holistic approach to helping clients improve their lives.

What’s Next

Kevin is currently a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Arkansas.

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The Project

The Veterans Project at the Northwest Justice Project provides free legal services to financially eligible low income and homeless veterans for civil legal problems that are barriers to housing, employment, and self-sufficiency. Northwest Justice Project has had a fellow the past three years based out of the Seattle office, but we have expanded the program to five attorneys in an effort to effectively cover the entire state.

The statistics show the veteran community simply cannot be ignored if we are concerned with addressing underlying issues of poverty. I am excited to immerse myself into this community, to determine which issues are most pressing and then work together to remove barriers to self-sufficiency.