Kristin Bochicchio

The Project

Kristin helped African and Middle Eastern immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence to obtain lawful immigration status so they could begin to rebuild their lives. Houston is now the most diverse city in America. Due to its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, international airports, interstate highways, and an international seaport, Houston is a hub for immigration and, unfortunately, human trafficking. African and Middle Eastern women fleeing violence are particularly vulnerable because no local service provider targets their population.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Kristin:

  • Provided brief service, advice, and referrals to 49 clients
  • Represented 85 women and children in affirmative and defensive asylum cases and in applications for T visas, U visas, and relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • Trained more than 50 pro bono attorneys to serve as co-counsel in gender-based asylum, VAWA, T visa, and U visa cases
  • Developed training manuals around gender-based asylum and how to represent human trafficking victims in T visa applications
  • Educated 300 Houston-based attorneys and paralegals at BP’s annual staff retreat about the needs of African and Middle Eastern immigrant women fleeing gender-based violence
  • Co-presented CLE workshops at BP headquarters and Arnold & Porter’s Houston office
  • Led a BP-Tahirih clinic where seven BP attorneys and five BP paralegals spent a
  • Saturday morning completing green card applications for ten Tahirih clients
  • Helped establish Tahirih Justice Center as a go-to resource for African and Middle Eastern women and girls fleeing gender-based violence

Next Steps

Kristin is continuing her career in immigration law as an attorney advisor at the San Francisco Immigration Court, a position within the Department of Justice Honors Program.

The Project

Elizabeth provided culturally competent, holistic legal services to detained and formerly detained immigrant women and girls in Houston who are fleeing gender-based violence.

Around the world, one in three women has survived physical or sexual violence. Many immigrant women have fled such violence in their home countries or have experienced it here in the U.S. These women are often detained and placed in deportation proceedings. Congress has created several types of relief from deportation for these women. However, the physical, psychological, and social trauma these women have experienced, and the language barriers many of them face, make it extremely challenging to navigate our complicated immigration system without assistance. These women are unlikely to obtain relief from deportation without the benefit of legal representation.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Elizabeth:

  • Represented 57 detained and formerly detained women and girls in their immigration proceedings
  • Mentored 69 pro bono attorneys on representing detained and formerly detained women and girls
  • Provided brief services to 257 immigrant women and girls, primarily formerly detained asylum seekers
  • Created and updated samples for pro bono attorneys to use in U visa, T visa, VAWA, SIJS, and asylum cases
  • Built relationships with community partners to coordinate legal services for immigrant women and girls fleeing violence

What’s Next

Following her Fellowship, Elizabeth continues to represent detained and formerly detained women and girls in their immigration proceedings as a staff attorney at the Tahirih Justice Center.

The Project

Advocated for underrepresented populations against notario and tax preparation fraud and increased access to tax legal assistance through educational outreach to refugees and immigrants.

As the country’s most diverse metropolitan area, Houston has a significant population of immigrants and refugees. Lone Star Legal Aid needs additional support in reaching out to immigrants and refugees who are unfamiliar with the U.S. tax system. Despite a person’s undocumented status, immigrants still have an obligation to report income to the IRS. The lack of knowledge of the tax system makes this population vulnerable to tax preparer and immigration fraud.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Lisa has:

  • Represented a notario fraud victim in a lawsuit against an unscrupulous notario and successfully recovered the money the victim lost.
  • Provided advice to over 100 low income taxpayers on properly filing tax returns with the IRS.
  • Recovered over $26,000 in IRS refunds and lawsuit settlements for her clients.
  • Reduced over $35,000 of IRS debt for her clients through advocacy in controversies with the IRS.
  • Developed resources for notario and tax preparer fraud victims to obtain legal representation.