The Practice of Sanctuary and the Right to Migrate -Continuing Legal Education

October 19, 2019 – 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (1.5 credits)
Open Borders Conference 2019The New School
66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011
Arnhold Hall, Room I-203
**This CLE panel presentation is open to both lawyers and nonlawyers**

Click here to register today!

In response to the Trump administration’s campaign of terror against immigrant communities, dozens of people around the country have publicly taken refuge in churches to avoid deportation into harm’s way and maintain their families intact. Many people who have taken sanctuary first applied for asylum, but lost their cases due to a flawed asylum process which has been warped for political gain. The right to seek asylum is recognized under international and domestic law, but in practice has become increasingly restricted by the U.S. government. Sanctuary is a form of resistance that inherently acknowledges a basic human right to migrate.

This CLE presentation will examine how lawyers and community groups can work together to elevate immigrant client cases into public removal defense campaigns, how the practice of sanctuary fits within the framework of a human right to migrate, and how the current sanctuary movement could enable broader reforms.

Continuing Legal Education Credits (credit application pending with NY State CLE Board – this course is transitional/):

  • Area of Practice (Immigration) (1.0 Credits) (transitional and nontransitional)
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias (0.5 Credits) (nontransitional only)

Registration fee: $50 $30 (waivable for financial need** – CLE course included in general registration fee).

Presenter Biographies:

Niloufar Khonsari – is the founder of and an immigration attorney at Pangea Legal Services in California. She works with individual clients to uplift their voices, lead their own public campaigns, connect with grassroots organizers, and reclaim some of their freedom. As a prison abolitionist, Nilou advocates for state bills like AB 32 that will shut down private prisons, including ICE facilities, in California. Nilou is a former Fulbright Fellow in Sierra Leone (’10) and a graduate of Georgetown Law School (’09). Originally from Iran, Nilou migrated to the United States at the age of 12 and was undocumented in her early teenage years.

Jerson Giron Ramirez is an activist and migrant from Honduras. He was part of an organized caravan that passed through Mexico City on its way to the United States. After surviving immigration detention, he received support from the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP) of New York City. He is an outspoken and tireless advocate for migrants’ rights and has become actively involved in the Sanctuary movement since relocating to New York City.

David Bennion – Free Migration Project, Immigration Attorney and Executive Director. A graduate of New York University School of Law (’04), David has been practicing immigration law since 2006. He has provided legal support to a number of undocumented activists participating in organized protest. In 2016, David founded Free Migration Project, where he has continued to engage in public deportation defense work and provide support to grassroots groups through Free Migration Project. David is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania.

Juan Carlos Ruiz – Pastor at Good Shepherd Bay Ridge and Co-founder of New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC. Juan Carlos is currently the pastor at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Bay Ridge, New York City. Juan Carlos co-founded the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC. He studied at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake and Seton Hall University. Originally from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, he currently resides in New York City.

** Fee waivers are available upon request for any non-attorney attendees. Partial or total fee waivers for attorneys are available upon request for unemployed attorneys or those working at nonprofit legal services organizations or who earn less than $50,000 per year. To request a fee waiver, email david.bennion@freemigrate.org**