Margot Dankner

  • Hosted by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
  • Sponsored by The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Georgetown University Law Center
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Margot engaged in direct representation, outreach, training, and advocacy to increase legal representation and access to services for sexually abused immigrant children in Maryland seeking legal relief to remain in the United States.

Unaccompanied minor survivors of sexual abuse are some of the most vulnerable individuals that come to the U.S. seeking refuge, and they are among the least able to advocate for themselves. These children are particularly in need of specialized legal services as they may be eligible for various forms of immigration relief requiring certification from law enforcement agencies or child protective services, best-interest determinations from state family courts, or substantiation of abuse in their home country. Legal representation significantly increases a child’s odds of obtaining relief, enabling them to remain in the U.S. and rebuild their lives.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Margot:

  • Provided full representation for 23 clients seeking lawful immigration status via special immigrant juvenile status, U visas, T visas, and asylum
  • Provided outreach and education to various stakeholders, including state agencies, family law courts, and legal and social services providers
  • Trained more than 100 attorneys on juvenile immigration law and recruited them to take on pro bono cases
  • Presented a training on best practices for working with unaccompanied minor survivors of sexual abuse to a national network of legal services providers
  • Advocated for the rights of unaccompanied minors before state agencies and Congress

Next Steps

Margot is currently an Immigration Staff Attorney at Ayuda in Washington, DC, where she is working to expand the organization’s juvenile immigration practice in Maryland and continues her work to improve access to services for vulnerable immigrant populations.

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