CAIR Honors Arent Fox Attorneys as Champions for Detained Children
Several Arent Fox attorneys were honored on October 14 with the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition Detained Children’s Champion Award for outstanding pro bono service to juvenile detainees. The Arent Fox team receiving the award includes partners Janine Carlan, Kay Georgi, and Richard Webber. They received their award at the annual CAIR Coalition Justice For All Reception and Awards Ceremony.
In the past year, our team has served multiple clients from CAIR’s Detained Children’s Program. These children faced dire immigration consequences and needed zealous legal advocacy, in addition to personal champions who they could trust. In their young lives, these children have already lived more than a lifetime’s worth of personal catastrophes, facing abandonment by their parents, being orphaned, threats from gangs, and victimization on their journey to the US. Our Arent Fox attorneys collectively represented 7 different detained juvenile immigrants, expending over 800 hours of work to achieve successful outcomes for all of the children involved.
“We deeply appreciate CAIR Coalition’s recognition of our team’s work,” said Deanne Ottaviano, chair of Arent Fox’s Pro Bono Publico Committee. “Our young clients have already been through so much when we first meet them, and their stories inspire us to do our best work for them, whether they are eligible for asylum, special immigrant juvenile status, special visa for victims of human trafficking, or other needs.”
CAIR Coalition is the only non-profit organization in the Washington, DC area with a legal services program focused exclusively on assisting immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in local jails in Virginia and Maryland, and unaccompanied immigrant children being held in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Virginia.
One of the Arent Fox team’s cases involved representing a detained immigrant juvenile who experienced abuse, gang threats, and violence in his home country, but successfully applied for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, preventing his deportation. Another juvenile client faced abuse at home and, when he stepped outside, pressures to join and commit crimes for a gang. The team represented these and other clients in a number of proceedings, including applying for permanent residence, accompanying clients to interviews with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and supporting clients in their education and placement out of detention. The Arent Fox team looks forward to continuing to fight for their current and new clients as they seek to restart their lives in the US.
Arent Fox’s commitment to public interest work dates back to the firm’s founding. Over the years, attorneys and staff have contributed hundreds of thousands of hours, while ensuring the firm remains at the forefront of the private bar’s effort to address unequal access to legal representation.