Photo of Rachel Sohl

Rachel Nowlin-Sohl

  • Hosted by Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
  • Sponsored by Microsoft Corporation, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Service location Seattle, Washington
  • Law school Stanford Law School
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Rachel (she/her/hers) is expanding immigration services for older teens in an underserved region of Washington State through direct representation, community outreach, education, and pro bono partnerships.

Securing permanent legal status allows immigrant youth to launch into adulthood with the stability they need to achieve their goals. Many of these young people are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), but applicants must navigate both state family courts and federal immigration proceedings to qualify—all before they turn twenty-one. Rachel’s project provides representation to youth in Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties as they navigate these systems to pursue SIJS and any other immigration relief they are entitled to.

Rachel taught in middle and elementary schools for eight years before deciding to attend law school and fight for immigrant justice and human rights. Her fiery students inspired her to work for the world that should be, and not settle for the one that is.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the first year of the Fellowship, Rachel has:

  • Worked with clients to submit seven asylum applications, seven SIJS applications, one U Visa application, one application for permanent residence, five applications for employment authorization, numerous FOIAs, and one response to a “Request for Evidence” from USCIS
  • Obtained a green card for a client who entered the US in 2021 with no lawful status
  • Represented six clients before state courts and/or or immigration court
  • Recruited pro bono attorneys and mentored both private attorneys and coalition partners through obtaining SIJS predicate orders in state court suitable for filing with USCIS
  • Negotiated with opposing counsel to file numerous joint motions in Immigration Court: one to sever a child’s case from that of his abusive father, several to dismiss cases against children with viable immigration relief, and one to rescind removal overs issued against three young siblings and reopen their cases so they can pursue Special Immigrant Juvenile classification
  • As a member of the Unaccompanied Children Taskforce, drafted an updated chapter on Vulnerable Youth Guardianships for the next edition of the Washington SIJS Bench Book, a tool to educate state court judges on SIJS

Next Steps

In the next year, Rachel plans to:

  • Complete a compendium of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s institutional knowledge regarding state court Judges and proceedings in Whatcom, Skagit, and Snohomish Counties from which a youth may obtain an SIJS-predicate order
  • Incorporate student interns and volunteers into her project as participant-mentees
  • Recruit and train five more pro bono attorneys for state court proceedings in the target counties

As a teacher, I worked with students and parents who came to the United States from all over the world. They were proud of their resilient families and passionate about immigrant justice. Now I am too.

Rachel Sohl /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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