Jazmin Irazoqui-Ruiz

The Project

Jazmin is a Senior Attorney at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC), where she leads the economic justice and policy team. In this role, Jazmin provides education, consultations, pro se assistance, and direct representation to immigrants navigating the federal, state, and local business, tax, and licensure systems of entrepreneurship.

In December 2017, Jazmin became the first DACAmented attorney admitted to the New Mexico State Bar. This accomplishment resulted from her leveraging community organizing principles with creative lawyering to persuade the New Mexico Supreme Court to create a process for admitting DACAmented bar applicants in New Mexico. The lived experience of growing up undocumented and in a mixed-immigration status family was not easy but it showed her that even in systems of oppression, communities are resilient and find creative ways to survive. Jazmin is the right fit for the EJW Disaster Resilience Fellowship because she will apply this same creativity in her work as an attorney and policy advocate to build community power and let those directly impacted lead the work.

Fellowship Plans

Jazmin’s project aims to remove barriers to economic mobility of immigrant communities through education, direct representation, community organizing, movement lawyering, coalition building, and policy advocacy. Among other community coalitions and partners, Jazmin will work closely with the Color Theory Collaborative, which supports low-income, marginalized entrepreneurs and their families, by employing core strategies from partner organizations to develop innovative programs resulting in greater opportunity and economic equity for entrepreneurs. Moreover, the Color Theory partners align with a core mission of bridging identified systemic gaps to build an ecosystem of support to lift families out of poverty.

The Project

Anna is on the Asylum and Detention team at New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC). Their services include helping complete and submit 589s, conducting outreach at New Mexico’s detention centers, and directly representing clients most in need of representation in their asylum cases, bond, or parole.

COVID-19 is ongoing, and many people remain detained in centers that are neither safe nor sanitized. The project helps asylum seekers in detention get released and into safe spaces with friends and family.

Being a first-generation American from a mixed-status family, Anna has always felt a responsibility for her community. New Mexico has provided many opportunities for her family, and Anna feels a tremendous responsibility to give back to the community and state that has provided so many opportunities. This Fellowship has provided Anna with the opportunity to give back and help others.

Media

Responding to COVID-19’s Impact in Immigration Detention Facilities

Meet the Fellows in Our 2022 Housing Justice Program

The Project

Jessica’s project provides culturally competent, trauma-informed, holistic direct legal services to immigrants in New Mexico facing legal barriers due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The project will provide holistic representation to low-income immigrants living in New Mexico due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Fellowship Highlights

Jessica’s parents and husband are immigrants. She has watched them work hard to create a better world for their family. The immigration system in the US is complex, and when her husband became a permanent resident, they struggled tremendously to navigate the system. Jessica went to law school to become an immigration attorney to help guide people through the system.

The Project

Taylor is on the Asylum and Detention team at New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC) as their staff attorney. Their services include helping complete and submit 589’s, doing outreach at New Mexico’s detention centers, and directly representing clients most in need of representation in their asylum cases, bond or parole.

COVID-19 is ongoing, and many people are detained in centers that are neither safe nor sanitized. The project helps asylum seekers in detention get released and into safe spaces with friends and family.

Fellowship Highlights

Public interest work is the only kind of work Taylor hopes to do. It is important to her to use her privilege to be an agent of change in the community. This Fellowship program is a perfect fit for Taylor because it allows her to use all of her skills and become part of a greater team that serves the community.

Media

Responding to COVID-19’s Impact in Immigration Detention Facilities

Meet the Fellows in Our 2022 Housing Justice Program

The Project

Lizdebeth’s Fellowship will provide holistic legal services to low-income immigrant families impacted by COVID-19. Lizdebeth aims to build disaster resilience capacity in New Mexico’s nonprofit sector through strategic collaboration with key stakeholders, community partners, outreach, and training.

There is a need to increase access to legal services and resources for low-income immigrants in New Mexico. Lizdebeth’s work will reduce the economic hardship caused by COVID-19 for low-income immigrants and will facilitate recovery from it.

Fellowship Plans

The project will promote self-sufficiency and economic mobility of immigrants impacted economically by the pandemic through advocacy. As an immigrant herself, Lizdebeth knows first-hand the hardships that immigrants in New Mexico face. Her lived experiences with some of these same issues have provided her a different lens from which to view the work and the law, and this will aid her in being the best advocate that she can be for her community.

The Project

After Diana completed her Fellowship in the Crimes Victims Justice Corps in the summer of 2020, she joined the New Mexico Immigration Corps for the remainder of the program.

From 2016 to 2020, the New Mexico Immigration Corps deployed lawyers and paralegals to provide critically needed legal aid to immigrant children and families throughout New Mexico. A primary goal of the program was to create a pipeline of new and prospective lawyers from the immigrant community and communities of color into the public interest sector in New Mexico.

Throughout the four-year program, Fellows partnered with public interest programs at the University of New Mexico School of Law to create opportunities for law students interested in working with immigrant populations; collaborated to increase the representation of historically marginalized individuals in the legal profession; coordinated with pro bono attorneys interested in supporting low-income immigrants; and worked with community organizations to provide holistic services and support.

Media

Establishing a Pipeline of Public Interest Attorneys in New Mexico to Support Immigrant Families

Equal Justice Works set me up for success as a public interest attorney. [Equal Justice Works gave me] the opportunity to pursue my interest in immigration law and provided me many opportunities for professional development by organizing yearly conferences where I could learn from my peers and from seasoned public interest attorneys who gave me a glimpse into what my career could look like long term.

Diana Torres /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

After Deshawnda completed her Fellowship in the Crimes Victims Justice Corps in the summer of 2020, she joined the New Mexico Immigration Corps for the remainder of the program.

From 2016 to 2020, the New Mexico Immigration Corps deployed lawyers and paralegals to provide critically needed legal aid to immigrant children and families throughout New Mexico. A primary goal of the program was to create a pipeline of new and prospective lawyers from the immigrant community and communities of color into the public interest sector in New Mexico.

Throughout the four-year program, Fellows partnered with public interest programs at the University of New Mexico School of Law to create opportunities for law students interested in working with immigrant populations; collaborated to increase the representation of historically marginalized individuals in the legal profession; coordinated with pro bono attorneys interested in supporting low-income immigrants; and worked with community organizations to provide holistic services and support.

Media

Establishing a Pipeline of Public Interest Attorneys in New Mexico to Support Immigrant Families

The Project

Adriel increased access to legal services for low-income immigrants in underserved and rural communities in New Mexico through strategic collaboration with community partners.

New Mexico is a sparsely populated and impoverished state which prevents many communities across the state from accessing basic legal services. They are among the poorest of the working poor and foreign-born individuals are also less likely to graduate from high school, be employed in nonservice occupations, and be unemployed than native-born individuals. Moreover, many parents in immigrant families are not fluent in English, and are not familiar with their rights within American society. As a result, many immigrant parents do not take advantage of public support systems that are available to them, and they often fall victim to wage theft, consumer fraud, predatory lending or other predatory practices. To compound their problems, many immigrants in New Mexico live in communities without even one attorney. This project builds on state-wide immigrant integration efforts and addresses the lack of access to legal services by representing low-income immigrants in underserved areas of New Mexico and establishing strategic partnerships across the state.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Adriel has:

  • Provided direct representation to 42 clients on issues such as citizenship, green card renewals, removal defense, bond redeterminations, U Visas, T Visas, and family-based petitions.
  • Provided brief consultations to 390 individuals across New Mexico.
  • Provided educational presentations and outreach to 728 individuals about legal issues impacting immigrants, such as a settlement with the state regarding state income tax refunds, citizenship and immigration remedies.
  • Participated in more than 115 meetings to establish and to continue collaborations with 37 organizations, schools, and government agencies.

New Mexico Immigration Corps Overview

From 2016 to 2020, the New Mexico Immigration Corps deployed lawyers and paralegals to provide critically needed legal aid to immigrant children and families throughout New Mexico. A primary goal of the program was to create a pipeline of new and prospective lawyers from the immigrant community and communities of color into the public interest sector in New Mexico.

Throughout the four-year program, Fellows partnered with public interest programs at the University of New Mexico School of Law to create opportunities for law students interested in working with immigrant populations; collaborated to increase the representation of historically marginalized individuals in the legal profession; coordinated with pro bono attorneys interested in supporting low-income immigrants; and worked with community organizations to provide holistic services and support.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Adriel plans to:

  • Continue working at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center to address legal and policy issues impacting immigrants in New Mexico.
  • Continue to build an infrastructure that supports people of color and immigrants entering the legal profession.

Media

Establishing a Pipeline of Public Interest Attorneys in New Mexico to Support Immigrant Families

The New Mexico Immigrant Law Center has provided me many opportunities to grow and to give back to the immigrant community. The Fellowship included legal services and systemic advocacy, which allowed me to explore various aspects of the legal profession

Adriel Orozco /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Legal services for victims of human trafficking and crime are not readily available in New Mexico. As a result, there is a great need for these services in New Mexico. This Fellowship helped provide those services to the community. During her time as a Crime Victims Justice Corps Fellow, Diana worked as an attorney with the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center to provide legal services to survivors of human trafficking. 

Diana grew up in an immigrant community in New Mexico and thus feels a deep commitment to serving the immigrant community, including victims of human trafficking and crime, in New Mexico. Diana is also culturally competent, bilingual, and able to view injustice through a critical lens. These skills help her provide competent legal services to her clients. 

Media

Collaborating Across the Nation, Fellows Team Up to Protect the Civil Legal Needs of the Underserved

[Equal Justice Works gave me] the opportunity to pursue my interest in immigration law and provided me many opportunities for professional development by organizing yearly conferences where I could learn from my peers and from seasoned public interest attorneys who gave me a glimpse into what my career could look like long term.

Diana Torres /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

This Fellowship established an attorney who is dedicated to human trafficking cases, where there was not one before at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center. In addition to providing direct representation to survivors of human trafficking, this Fellowship established procedures for screening for victims of human trafficking. Deshawnda also provided training to other service providers in order to expand access to resources for victims of human trafficking. 

Deshawnda provided trauma-centered services to clients and learned how best to assist them in pursuing criminal/civil/immigration cases. She believes that she is a strong advocate and continues to assert the victims rights during investigations and legal proceedings.