Magdalena Landa-Posas

The Project

Magdalena (she/her/hers) empowers immigrant children and youth survivors of human trafficking through direct representation, community outreach, and legal education.

There are 100 human trafficking cases on average in Colorado each year, with foreign national survivors demonstrably overrepresented. Labor trafficking in agriculture, construction, and landscaping are the most common among foreign nationals. Additionally, women survivors are more prevalent than men, with child survivors increasing since 2015.

Through legal advocacy, immigrant human trafficking survivors can seek humanitarian T Non-immigrant status (“T Visas”) and direct representation to pursue litigation against their traffickers. Litigation, in particular, is essential to deter future trafficking and stem human trafficking more broadly.

Fellowship Plans

Through this Fellowship, Magdalena will provide relief to youth who are immigrant human trafficking survivors through direct representation. She will pursue litigation claims against human traffickers and build on outreach & legal education provided to survivors.

Only when we treat all humans as humans under law will we truly understand the meaning of being human.

Magdalena Landa-Posas /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

This Fellowship increased community awareness by conducting culturally competent outreach and trainings that inform vulnerable populations such as LGBT and indigenous immigrant victims in rural and agricultural areas of California about their legal rights and access to legal services. This Fellowship also provided access to trauma-informed legal services and representation to hate crime victims and immigrant victims with meritorious claims for immigration relief, including LGBT and indigenous victims with U/T/VAWA visa applications. Furthermore, the Fellowship increased holistic support by partnering with local community resource providers to address the client’s legal, education, healthcare, economic and other needs, to help break out of the cycle of exploitation, abuse and wage theft within LGBT, indigenous and other victims of crime. 

Lizett investigated hate crimes and potential civil claims, such as wage, retaliation, and harassment claims, and provided legal representation to advance such claims through administrative proceedings before the Labor Commissioner, Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints, or through negotiation with employers, and/or civil actions. She also investigated and provided representation in applications for temporary immigration relief through the U-Visa, T-Visa, or VAWA-Visa programs for immigrant victims of certain serious crimes and domestic violence. 

As a first generation Latina immigrant and proud daughter of migrant farmworkers, Lizett is dedicated to using her migration experience of living in migrant camps and two countries, Mexico and the United States, to advocate for the most marginalized and exploited rural workers. Through her prior work and life experience, Lizett has developed transferrable and practical legal skills that allow her to connect with the clients when investigating their hate crime claims and potential civil claims to provide them with effective legal services.  

The Project

As coordinator of the local law student pro bono project at the Public Interest Clearinghouse, Phyra managed relationships with nonprofit organizations and placed students in projects that fit the needs of the organizations and the interests of law students. Phyra organized and publicized events, trainings and legal advice clinics for the students at the University of San Francisco and McGeorge Schools of Law.

The Project

At the start of 2012, a new law in California (AB12) began allowing emancipating foster youth to remain in the system; this was intended to help these youths receive continued services and benefits aimed at helping them transition to adulthood with greater success. Elizabeth advocated for Alameda County youth transitioning out of foster care and into adulthood by enforcing their rights to individualized transitional living plans and services under the AB12.

AB12 allows emancipating foster youth to remain in the system up to age 21, which provides them with services and benefits aimed at helping them successfully transition to adulthood. Extended educational support, employment services, and housing stability help prepare youth aging out of foster care make a positive transition to adulthood and independent living. Elizabeth’s project enhanced the ability of the attorneys at East Bay Children’s Law Offices to advocate for non-minor dependents in Alameda County.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Elizabeth:

  • Provided advice and brief services to 200 clients
  • Represented 100 non-minor dependent clients in more than 200 court hearings
  • Helped 18 former dependents re-enter foster care under AB12
  • Provided expert consultation to attorneys on AB12 issues
  • Led the cause for resolving many county-specific AB12 issues, such as streamlining the process for former dependents to re-enter foster care
  • Won both trials she led advocating for her clients to maintain their foster care eligibility
  • Built a strong and trustworthy relationship with the Social Services Agency
  • Positively impacted many foster youths’ lives by advocating for their housing, education, and employment needs

What’s Next

Elizabeth has remained in her position at East Bay Children’s Law Offices as the AB12 Law Fellow Attorney, thanks to receiving a generous grant towards the project.

The Project

EOLC AmeriCorps Fellows will provide collaborative and hollistic legal assistance to Alameda County residents who have had contact with the criminal justice system, and who are trying to overcome barriers to employment. EOLC AmeriCorps Fellows will help clients obtain all available criminal records remedies. Through collaborative outreach, cross-practice referrals, and weekly intake clinics, Fellows will screen clients for eligibility for court-based remedies, provide self-help assistance, and conduct “triage” for clients in need of full representation in court proceedings.

This project is important because the need for assistance does not end after involvement with the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, after contact with the criminal justice system there are many barriers clients face, including barriers to finding and receiving employment opportunities. It is important to have supporters in place to assist people in these areas in order to promote community and economic development.

This project is a criminal record remedy for people in Alameda County, California who face barriers to employment following involvement in the criminal justice system.

Fellowship Highlights

Alexia Cristina Mayorga provided direct legal representation and assistance to low income clients throughout Alameda County who are looking for criminal record remedies. This remedy created employment opportunities for these clients.