Join nationally-recognized SIJS experts for a 90-minute webinar with the latest updates on special immigrant juvenile cases, including the adjudications of SIJS petitions, SIJS-based applications for adjustment of status, and the visa backlog.
Lenni Benson, Professor of Law at New York Law School - Director of Safe Passage Project
Professor Lenni B. Benson has been teaching and writing in the field of immigration law since 1994. She is a professor at New York Law School and serves as the director of the NYLS Safe Passage Project. The Project recruits, trains and mentors lawyers and student volunteers who are willing to represent immigrant youth and has won state and national awards for its promotion and support of pro bono work. She also teaches a clinic of advanced students who join other Safe Passage volunteers to screen immigrant youth at the New York Immigration Court each week. She is a national and international speaker on immigration topics.
She serves on several city, state and national taskforces devoted to expand resources for immigrants, especially unaccompanied migrant children. From 2012 to 2015 she was the Chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. In 2011-2012 she served as a consultant/researcher for the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). She is the past chair of the AALS Immigration Law Section and past immigration committee chair for the ABA Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. Prior to joining academia, she practiced immigration law as a partner in the Los Angeles office of Bryan Cave, LLP. She has been an adjunct professor at Columbia teaching both immigration law and a seminar on refugee law.
Professor Benson is an emeritus trustee of the American Immigration Law Foundation (now the American Immigration Council) and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Until 2012, she was a member of the LexisNexis Faculty Advisory Board. For many years she has served on the Board of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. In June of 2013 she published: “Immigration and Nationality Law: Problems and Strategies.” (Coauthors include Veronica Jeffers, Lindsay Curcio and Stephen Yale-Loehr). She has served as an expert witness on immigration law topics in administrative, civil, and criminal litigation.
Rachel joined the ILRC in 2014 to focus on the growing need for legal representation for the unaccompanied minor population. Prior to the ILRC, she 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. Prior to joining Esperanza, Rachel worked as an associate at Paul Hastings, LLP and volunteered as a Child Advocate for unaccompanied minors. Rachel is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law, where she was a member of the Immigration Law Clinic and was fortunate to work on complex deportation defense cases and detention issues. Rachel is conversant in Spanish.
Elissa Steglich, Clinical Professor - University of Texas at Austin School of Law Professor Steglich has extensive experience practicing immigration law and has been a strong advocate for immigrant rights, especially the rights of immigrant children. Until June 2015, she was the Legal Services Director at the American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program in Newark, New Jersey. She served as Managing Attorney for the program from 2006-2014. In addition to supervising legal staff, she provided direct representation to asylum seekers, immigrant children, and immigrant victims of violence and human trafficking. She was the Managing Attorney at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, Illinois from 2002-2006, and previously Trafficking Project Officer at DePaul College of Law, where she conducted extensive field research on trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean. Professor Steglich taught Immigration Law as an adjunct professor at Rutgers School of Law in Newark, New Jersey from 2010-2014.
Professor Steglich’s commitment to immigrant rights has been recognized with an “Inspire Award” by Centro Comunitario CEUS and commendation from the NJ General Assembly. Professor Steglich most recently published Disparate Outcomes: The Quest for Uniform Treatment of Immigrant Children, with Randi Mandelbaum, FAMILY COURT REVIEW (50 FAM. CT. REV. 606, 2012) and is co-editor of In Modern Bondage: Sex Trafficking in the Americas (Transnational 2003). She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and served on the New York Bar Association’s Immigration Committee from 2014-15. Professor Steglich is currently President of the Board of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.