In this webinar, we will discuss the barriers youth encounter when pursuing SIJS after the age of 18 both in state courts and before USCIS and offer practice tips for overcoming these barriers. The webinar will feature guest speakers litigating the New York and California class action lawsuits challenging USCIS’s recent denials of many over-18 cases.
Rachel is one of ILRC’s staff attorneys based in San Francisco. Rachel focuses on immigrant youth issues, including unaccompanied minors and immigrant youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Rachel provides technical assistance and trainings to immigration and state court attorneys, social workers, and judges. She works on statewide and national policy that affects the rights of immigrant youth and is frequently consulted for her expertise in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Rachel co-authored the ILRC’s publication Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Other Immigration Options for Children and Youth.
Prior to joining the ILRC, Rachel represented detained and released unaccompanied minors in removal defense and led a project focusing on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status at Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project in Los Angeles. While at Esperanza, Rachel also performed "Know Your Rights" work in southern California immigration detention centers for minors. Previously, Rachel worked as an associate at Paul Hastings, LLP and volunteered as a Child Advocate for unaccompanied minors.
Rachel earned her law degree from the University of California at Davis, where she was a member of the Immigration Law Clinic and worked on complex deportation defense cases and detention issues. She received her undergraduate degree from Westmont College, where she double-majored in philosophy and political science. Rachel is admitted to the bar in California. She is conversant in Spanish.
Mary Tanagho Ross is an appellate staff attorney at Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Ms. Tanagho Ross is part of the Immigrants’ Rights Project where she oversees appellate litigation in state and federal court on behalf of unaccompanied immigrant children seeking humanitarian relief. She is lead counsel in a federal class action lawsuit challenging the government’s unlawful denial of relief to immigrant children seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (J.L. et al. v. Lee Francis Cissna et al., U.S.D.C. N.D. Cal., Case No. 5:18-CV-04914). Ms. Tanagho Ross also oversees appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Prior to her work at Public Counsel, Ms. Tanagho Ross worked at a prominent civil rights law firm where she represented plaintiffs in international human rights and civil rights litigation. Ms. Tanagho Ross represented plaintiffs in class wide gender discrimination claims (Dukes v. Walmart, Case No. 3:01-cv-02252 (N.D. Cal. 2013) and in claims brought under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA) (Ratha et al. v. Phatthana Seafood Co., Ltd. et al., No. CV 16-42771-JFW (C.D. Cal.). Ms. Tanagho Ross has been repeatedly recognized in the Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars list.
Ms. Tanagho Ross received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law where she was part of the Public Interest Program. After law school, she completed a federal clerkship in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada where she focused on civil rights claims. Ms. Tanagho Ross received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California.
Elizabeth Rieser-Murphy is a Staff Attorney in the Federal Practice at The Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit in New York City. As a Staff Attorney, she represents unaccompanied immigrant children in federal courts, New York family courts, immigration courts, and administrative proceedings. She has worked with unaccompanied minors in Texas, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and New York. A graduate of the University of Miami Law School, she also holds a Master's Degree in Education from New York University and a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations from University of Delaware. Prior to law school, Elizabeth worked as middle school teacher in the Bronx, NY.
Tina Romero is staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society. She has specialized in immigrant youth representation since 2009. In addition to providing direct representation in state and immigration courts on behalf of her clients, she advises the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice on immigration matters, and provides regular trainings to advocates, judges, and pro bono attorneys. She is part of the team representing the class of immigrant youth from New York City who successfully challenged USCIS’s unlawful over-18 denial policy in R.F.M. v. Nielsen. In 2017 she was appointed to the Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court by Chief Administrative Judge Marks. Since 2014, she has taught an externship each spring semester at Columbia Law School on immigrant youth advocacy. That same year she assisted in the creation of the ICARE coalition to ensure unaccompanied children in New York City obtained representation in immigration court. She leads the New York City SIJS Advocates' group, which convenes to find solutions to obstacles advocates face when pursuing SIJS. Tina graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2001. She received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2005. She is admitted in New York and Illinois.