This webinar will cover the different types of background checks commonly used by immigration practitioners and their clients, including FOIA, FBI, state, and court-specific records requests. We will explain the types of records obtainable from each request and offer tips on how and where to file records requests. Using examples, we will walk through when each type of records request may or may not be appropriate for your client’s situation.
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Lena Graber is a national expert on the role of local police in immigration enforcement and the use of ICE detainers. She has spent more than a decade supporting organizers and lawyers around the country to fight unfair and often illegal detention of immigrants, and to push for pro-immigrant local policies. Lena spearheads ILRC’s national work combatting immigration enforcement and providing comprehensive advocacy resources and trainings to the immigrant rights movement. In the last several years, Lena has written and consulted on local and state-wide sanctuary policies in dozens of states and trained hundreds of organizers and policymakers to better understand and dismantle the machinery of detention and deportation. Lena joined the ILRC in 2013, and she has co-authored several ILRC publications including Motions to Suppress: Protecting the Constitutional Rights of Immigrants in Removal Proceedings; FOIA Requests and Other Background Checks; DACA: The Essential Legal Guide; and Parole in Immigration Law.
Prior to the ILRC, Lena was a Soros Justice Fellow at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, where she supported campaigns against local law enforcement involvement in deportations and litigated ICE detainer issues in federal courts. She also worked at the National Immigration Forum doing federal advocacy on immigrant rights and border policy.
Lena graduated with honors from the George Washington University Law School, where she served on the journal for International Law in Domestic Courts. She earned her B.A. in history from Wesleyan University. Lena is a member of the California bar and she speaks Spanish.
Alison Kamhi is the Legal Program Director based in San Francisco. Alison is a dedicated immigrant advocate who brings significant experience in immigration law to the ILRC. Alison leads the ILRC's Immigrant Survivors Team and conducts frequent in-person and webinar trainings on naturalization and citizenship, family-based immigration, U visas, and FOIA requests. She also provides technical assistance through the ILRC’s Attorney of the Day program on a wide range of immigration issues, including immigration options for youth, consequences of criminal convictions for immigration purposes, removal defense strategy, and eligibility for immigration relief, including family-based immigration, U visas, VAWA, DACA, cancellation of removal, asylum, and naturalization.
She has co-authored a number of publications, including The U Visa: Obtaining Status for Immigrant Victims of Crimes (ILRC); FOIA Requests and Other Background Checks (ILRC); Naturalization and U.S. Citizenship (ILRC); Hardship in Immigration Law (ILRC); Parole in Immigration Law (ILRC); Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Other Immigration Options for Children and Youth (ILRC); A Guide for Immigrant Advocates (ILRC); and Most In Need But Least Served: Legal and Practical Barriers to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for Federally Detained Minors, 50 Fam. Ct. Rev. 4 (2012).
Alison facilitates the eight member Collaborative Resources for Immigrant Services on the Peninsula (CRISP) collaborative in San Mateo County to provide immigration services to low-income immigrants in Silicon Valley.
Prior to the ILRC, Alison worked as a Clinical Teaching Fellow at the Stanford Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic, where she supervised removal defense cases and immigrants' rights advocacy projects. Before Stanford, she represented abandoned and abused immigrant youth as a Skadden Fellow at Bay Area Legal Aid and at Catholic Charities Community Services in New York. While in law school, Alison worked at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, and Greater Boston Legal Services Immigration Unit. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Julia Gibbons in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Alison received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. from Stanford University. Alison is admitted to the bar in California and New York. She speaks German and Spanish.