Advanced and Emerging Issues in Immigration Humanitarian Relief: SIJS, VAWA, and U Visas

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM PST
Registration Deadline: 
Southwestern Law School, Los Angeles
If you are an employee of a non-profit or IOLTA organization, register to qualify for a discount.

Join us for an all-day training on advanced and emerging issues in immigration humanitarian relief. A panel of expert immigration attorneys will outline the current issues, emerging trends and practice tips for helping your most vulnerable clients in their SIJS, VAWA, and U Visa cases. We will also be joined by representatives from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, Office of Policy & Strategy who will provide the USCIS perspective and answers to questions.

This training will be taught at an advanced level, assuming prior knowledge of the basic requirements for these forms of humanitarian relief and is intended for those who already have experience working on cases.

Sponsored by: Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Law Offices of Monica Kane, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice Lucas & Barba LLP, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Phillips & Urias LLP, Public Counsel, Southwestern Law School Immigration Law Clinic

Location: Southwestern Law School, 3050 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010


Sally Kinoshita, Deputy Director – Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
Sally Kinoshita joined the ILRC as a Staff Attorney in 2001. She brings to the ILRC her expertise on immigration relief for abused immigrant women and children as the author or co-author of a number of ILRC publications, including The VAWA Manual: Immigration Relief for Abused Immigrants; The U Visa: Obtaining Status for Immigrant Victims of Crime; Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Courts; and Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth, and by serving as a trainer to judges, attorneys, accredited representatives, social workers, domestic violence service providers and others.

Gina Amato Lough, Senior Staff Attorney – Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project
Gina Amato Lough received her Juris Doctor and Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001.  She is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Immigrants’ Rights Project at Public Counsel, the largest non-profit law firm in the nation, where she provides legal representation to immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other serious crimes.  She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).  Prior to joining Public Counsel, Ms. Amato Lough defended low-income tenants in their eviction actions and represented plaintiffs in sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and discrimination lawsuits. 

Michelle Carey, Senior Immigration Attorney – Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
Michelle Carey provides free legal assistance and representation to low income survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as young people brought to the United States as children, in their immigration matters.  Before joining LACLJ, Michelle worked as a Staff Attorney serving very similar populations at the Immigration Center for Women and Children, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law.  Michelle is also Adjunct Faculty at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy where she teaches an undergraduate course on immigration policy and at the USC School of Social Work where she teaches a graduate course on domestic violence.  Michelle is the author of “You Don’t Know if They’ll Let You Out in One Day, One Year, or Ten Years…’ Indefinite Detention of Immigrants after Zadvydas v. Davis,” published by the Chicano-Latino Law Review.  Michelle received her B.A. from Cornell University and her J.D. and M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA. 

Amany Ezeldin, Adjudications Officer (Policy) – USCIS, Office of Policy & Strategy
Amany Ezeldin develops and drafts policy and guidance documents for immigration benefits available to victims of domestic violence, trafficking, and other serious crimes. She previously worked with the Office of the CIS Ombudsman. As an Immigration Law Analyst she worked on recommendations to USCIS, conducted public engagement, and assisted individuals in the immigration benefit process. Prior to joining the Federal government, Amany was a Staff Attorney at Life Span, a non-profit organization in Chicago, where she represented victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in their immigration and family law matters. While at Life Span, she also provided technical assistance, trainings, and outreach to social service providers, law enforcement agencies, attorneys, and the media. Amany is a 2005 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law.

Kristen Jackson, Senior Staff Attorney – Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project
Kristen Jackson has expertise in children’s immigration issues, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the intersection of immigration and juvenile justice. She is co-counsel on J.E.F.M. v. Holder, a federal lawsuit seeking government-appointed legal representation for children in removal proceedings. She also co-teaches the Asylum Clinic at UCLA School of Law. Ms. Jackson clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after receiving her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Monica Kane, Attorney - Law Offices of Monica Kane
Monica Kane is a private immigration attorney practicing in Los Angeles, California.  Prior to entering private practice, Monica was a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, where she provided free legal assistance and representation in immigration matters to low-income clients, many of whom were survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  She previously worked with asylees and refugees at Jewish Family and Children's Services in San Francisco and practiced employment-based immigration law with Haight Law Group, PLC, in Los Angeles.  Monica holds a J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Judy London, Directing Attorney – Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project
From 1996 to 2000, Judy London was the Legal Director of the Central American Resource Center (“CARECEN”) in Los Angeles and focused her work on securing enactment of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (“NACARA”).  She joined Public Counsel in 2002, where she has expanded the agency’s SIJS and detention work, while increasing pro bono representation for asylum-seekers and crime victims seeking relief under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) and the Victims of Trafficking and Violent Crime Prevention Act (“VTVPA”). Since 2007, she has been an Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of law where she co-teachers a clinical course on immigration law, focusing on the representation of asylum-seekers.  She received her law degree from UCLA in 1990 and her undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1985.

Cynthia Lucas, Partner – Lucas & Barba LLP
Cynthia Lucas is a partner at Lucas & Barba LLP in Los Angeles, California, handling a range of special immigrant, family-based immigration law and removal defense matters. Ms. Lucas received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco, School of Law. She is dedicated to practicing immigration law and providing legal services in family-based immigration matters, U visas, VAWA, Special Immigrant Juvenile petitions, consular processing and waivers. Her past experience includes extensive public interest work as a nonprofit attorney, including both direct services and assistance with impact U visa litigation challenging the government’s over-seven-year long delay in issuing regulations to implement this important immigration law to protect victims of crime. She also previously worked as an Associate Attorney at a boutique immigration firm, where she handled a wide range of family-based and employment-based immigration matters, in addition to pro bono work aiding workers caught up in immigration raids through the L.A. Raids Response Network. She has been recognized as a Rising Star by the Southern California Super Lawyers publication in the field of immigration law, and has been a speaker at various conferences and trainings for the Federal Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and ILRC. Ms. Lucas served on the Executive Committee of the AILA Southern California Chapter for the past four years, and is a member of the AILA National Pro Bono Liaison Committee and Fundamentals Conference Planning Committee.

Nora Phillips, Partner - Phillips & Urias, LLP
Nora Phillips is a private immigration attorney in Los Angeles where her practice focuses on U Visas, humanitarian parole, DACA, and asylum.  Prior to starting her own practice, Nora was a Staff Attorney at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) for four years and an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.  Nora trains frequently regarding the U Visa and DACA and has been retained by the Office of the Federal Public Defender as an expert for complex U Visa cases.  Nora is a 2007 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law and has been admitted (in Illinois) since 2007.

Andrea V. Ramos, Clinical Professor of Law and Director – Southwestern Law School’s Immigration Law Clinic
Andrea V. Ramos created the law school’s first Immigration Law Clinic in 2008 and launched the program in January 2009.  She teaches, supervises and trains second and third-year law students on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U Nonimmigrant Visas and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival cases.  In addition to teaching, she represents children and adult survivors of domestic violence and other violent crimes.  Previously, she worked for eleven years as a staff attorney and Directing Attorney with Public Counsel’s Children’s Rights Project, and as a litigation associate with the law firm of Tuttle & Taylor.  She earned her J.D. in 1992 from the University of Southern California Law School.

Nancy J. Reyes-Rubi, Senior Staff Attorney – Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA)
Nancy J. Reyes-Rubi has assisted hundreds of domestic violence victims achieve safety through VAWA, U visas, T visas and other available remedies for the last 13+ years. She provides technical assistance to other agencies across the state.  LAFLA’s Immigration and Asian Pacific Islander Units have collaborated to engage in cutting–edge legal work in various areas that assist survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.  Some of this work has included targeted outreach and services to victims of human trafficking (such as forced prostitution) and assertion of asylum claims based on gender-based persecution (such as rape and domestic violence).  She is also very involved with local immigration networks (VAWA and Trafficking) that focus on making changes at the local level to help improve procedures for immigration clients, as well as on a national level.  Mrs. Reyes has provided several U visa & VAWA trainings to community-based organizations, government agencies, universities and large private law firms interested in pro-bono VAWA & U visa cases.  She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Los Angeles County Bar’s Immigration Section.

Elizabeth Thornton, Casey Family Programs Fellow/Children’s Issues Coordinator, USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy
Elizabeth Thornton works with US Citizenship and Immigration Services to enhance strategies and tools to raise awareness of the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status program with state child welfare agencies and juvenile court judges.  Prior to her position with USCIS, Ms. Thornton was an attorney with the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law. Her work at the ABA focused on strengthening representation of parents in the child welfare system by evaluating parent representation programs, supporting system reforms, and providing resources, training, and technical assistance to parents’ attorneys and other child welfare professionals.  She also worked on the ABA’s Permanency Project -- helping jurisdictions develop and implement best practices to improve permanency outcomes for children in foster care.  Prior to her work at the ABA, Elizabeth represented parents and children in child welfare proceedings in California.  She holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.