Miguel Pineda

The Project

Miguel increased access to justice for and improved the quality of legal representation for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers.

The ever-growing violence in Central America and subsequent increase in asylum seekers has greatly increased the caseloads of those providing legal services to individuals and families fleeing persecution in their home countries. Miguel’s project addressed the overwhelming need for legal representation for one of the most vulnerable and demonized populations, LGBTQ+ asylum seekers.

Miguel is passionate about immigrant rights because of his family’s immigrant experience in coming to the United States. Because he bore witness to the persecution of LGBTQ+ people in Honduras, he is able to provide culturally competent representation. Additionally, Miguel’s military service and previous experiences working with various non-profits demonstrate his long standing commitment to public service and his time working at the Executive Office for Immigration Review – San Diego Immigration Court has given him a substantive foundation of knowledge about immigration laws.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Miguel:

  • Provided full legal representation to 12 LGBTQ+ applicants in their underlying claims for asylum affirmatively before the Asylum Office, in proceedings before the Immigration Court, and on appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Filed humanitarian parole requests, employment authorization requests, adjustments of status applications, U-Visa petitions, and asylee relative petitions for 63 individuals and their families
  • Achieved successful outcomes for clients, including securing two grants of asylum in the Asylum Office and four in the Immigration Court, successfully appealing three denials of relief before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and securing a stay of removal and remand order for further proceedings from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Worked with Human Rights First’s communications team to highlight the stories of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers
  • Collaborated with 20 groups in southern California to expand the reach and impact of his work
  • Participated in a fact-finding trip to Matamoros, Mexico, which was compiled into a report for a congressional hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security regarding the Migrant Protection Protocols

Next Steps

Miguel is relocating to Washington, D.C. to join the U.S. Department of Justice through the Attorney General Honors Program as a judicial law clerk in the Board of Immigration Appeals, Executive Office for Immigration Review.


Miguel Pineda (JD/MBA ’19) selected for elite Equal Justice Works Fellowship

The Project

W. Edward educated lawyers, judges and the general public about the trauma of war as related to veterans in the criminal justice system. Additionally, W. Edward developed a collaborative treatment model of adjudication that will prevent future crimes.

The Project

The Veterans Legal Fellows at the Legal Aid Society provide free, civil legal guidance and representation to veterans accepted into the Jefferson and Hardin County Veterans Treatment Courts. The civil legal issues veterans face include, but are not limited to, securing government benefits for which the veteran is eligible, employment disputes, accessing sustainable housing and medical care, family law matters, legal matters related to wage garnishments, consumer and medical debt, and criminal record expungements.