I participated in the first Continuing Legal Education (CLE) of my life yesterday at the Golden Gate University Law School. I had not planned to speak at the event but one of my awesome speakers had a family emergency the morning of the event and we needed to fill the time for the 2-hour credit. Law students aren’t usually the ones you’d hear from at CLE’s or creating CLE’s but such is the nature of my work and experience. I hustled around, preparing both the handout for the event and a tame version of my “practice tips” for practitioners with LGBT clients. It turned out to be a well-attended and well-received event that went off without a hitch. Today I woke up with the realization that holding the CLE and choosing to speak may just prevent the deportation of a family.
It was Monday evening and we had not expected more than a dozen people but we ended up with twice the number. I have to thank the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, South Asian Bar Association – Bay Area, Asian Law Caucus, Immigration Equality, Asylum Access for cosponsoring and spreading the word. Dan from Bibdaily, Bill Hing and Kevin Johnson from the Immigration Professor Blog network were also kind enough to post the event details on their awesome blogs and NLG member Mike Flynn did a great job sending the events out on listserves.
Zachary Nightingale from Van Der Hout updated us on DOMA litigation and Mexican LGBT asylum cases, telling advocates in the room to keep their same-sex immigration challenges to DOMA out of federal court till one of the better test cases could create a good precedent for everyone. Emily Arnold-Fernandez from Asylum Access spoke on UN refugee status determination and how LGBT asylum and refugee seekers are treated in different jurisdictions. I discussed how to get clients deferred action post a final order of removal, the politics surrounding it and promoted the “How to Stop Deportation” guide.
A lawyer approached me at the end of the night about how the San Francisco ICE office had denied her deferred action request for two slam-dunk, straight-forward DREAM Act-eligible cases — a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old with no criminal histories. She had done some great lawyering up to that point to keep her clients in the country. Part of my CLE had covered the importance of targeting advocacy nationally, as opposed to local ICE offices who are thumbing their noses at their bosses regarding the June 17 memo. She doesn’t have much time so I asked her to follow-up with a friend of mine who can help her out with national advocacy efforts.
Now I need to start packing and moving for my second year of legal education and a potential job to keep me afloat.