New Mexico Immigration Corps

New Mexico Immigration Corps

In the fall of 2016, we partnered with Equal Justice Works, the University of New Mexico School of Law, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to launch the New Mexico Immigration Corps.

WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF THE IMMIGRATION CORPS?

Increase Legal Assistance

The Immigration Corps will deploy attorneys and paralegals to provide critically needed civil legal aid to immigrant communities throughout New Mexico from September, 2016 through August, 2020. Each year, the Immigration Corps will hire two Equal Justice Works Fellows, an attorney and a paralegal, for two-year terms.

Support Public Interest Careers

We are partnering with the public interest programs underway at the University of New Mexico School of Law to create a pipeline for students interested in working with immigrant populations. Additionally, Equal Justice Works will share best practices, promote public interest curricula, present internship and postgraduate employment options, and counsel students on debt relief.

Provide Mentorship and Increase Diversity in the Legal Profession

The Immigration Corps aims to increase the representation of historically marginalized groups in the legal profession as well as in the practice of public interest law. We believe that increasing legal representation from communities comprised of those most directly impacted makes for stronger and more competent legal representation. The Immigration Corps Fellows will aim to mentor high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students interested in the legal field.

Coordinate with Pro Bono Attorneys

The Immigration Corps will coordinate with private attorneys interested in supporting low-income immigrants who otherwise would not have access to legal services in New Mexico. Fellows will look for private attorneys to get involved by providing pro bono direct representation, collaborating on Continuing Legal Education presentations and other trainings, providing community presentations, and advocating on issues that impact the legal rights of immigrants.

WHY NEW MEXICO?

There are more than 200,000 immigrants living in New Mexico, making up approximately 10 percent of the state's population. According to national Census data, these individuals are less likely to have graduated from high school, more likely to be employed in low-wage service occupations, and more likely to be living in poverty than native-born individuals.

Unfortunately, language barriers and unfamiliarity with the U.S. legal system can complicate successful assimilation. As a result, many immigrants do not take advantage of available public support systems and are exposed to a myriad of legal problems such as the threat of unjustified deportation, unfair work practices, and other predatory practices. To compound these problems, there is a lack of access to legal counsel for low-income immigrants.

MEET OUR FELLOWS

Adriel Orozco

2016-2018 Equal Justice Works Attorney Fellow

Adriel grew up in Albuquerque and attended Brandeis University where he studied Political Science and Economics. After graduating, Adriel worked as a paralegal at a small law firm in Boston, MA, where he focused on immigration, personal injury, and criminal law. He attended the University of New Mexico School of Law and became an attorney in September, 2016. Adriel's Equal Justice Works project is aimed at increasing legal services for immigrants across New Mexico. He is particularly interested in the intersection of immigration and employment/labor laws and in finding ways to build sustainable economies that produce just and fair workplaces for everyone, including immigrants.

Martha Laura Garcia

2017-2019 Equal Justice Works Attorney Fellow

Martha Laura was born in Mexico and grew up in a couple different countries. She attended Saint Louis University-Madrid Campus where she studied Political Science and International Relations. After graduation, she spent time on the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana and later worked as an Education Outreach Intern at YES! Magazine. She attended Loyola University Chicago School of Law. During her time in Chicago she worked with various immigrant rights organizations. She plans to focus her career on empowering immigrant communities through both direct representation and community organizing.

Hali Calzadillas Andujo

2017-2019 Equal Justice Works Paralegal Fellow

Hali is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, but has lived in the United States since the age of 9. Hali is a beneficiary of the DACA program. She grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from The MASTERS Program Early College Charter High School. Hali attended New Mexico Highlands University and received a Bachelor of Arts this past May in University Studies with 3 areas of concentration: Social Work, Spanish, and Social Sciences. During college, Hali worked at the Santa Fe Mountain Center as an outreach worker emphasizing the importance of mental health in the undocumented population and creating paths of access. She volunteers at the Santa Fe Dreamers Project events as a translator and participated in their Dreamers Series. She is on the board of MANA Del Norte, a scholarship committee dedicated to helping women in Northern New Mexico pursue their path in education. Hali plans to pursue a career in immigration law to serve the immigrant community in New Mexico. She is passionate about social justice and social change for the immigrant community.

Rebekah Wolf

2017-2019 Equal Justice Works Attorney Fellow

Rebekah graduated from UC Hastings college of the law with a concentration in international and comparative law and has a BA in history from New York University. Before attending law school, she was the executive director of an international human rights organization in the Middle East, and has worked as a high school teacher. She is particularly focused on asylum and refugee law, and is fluent in Arabic.

Vanessa Gonzalez

2017-2019 Equal Justice Works Paralegal Fellow

Vanessa grew up in Taos, NM and attended Pitzer College where she earned a degree in Sociology with a concentration in Chicanx/Latinx Studies. Vanessa was involved with many legal non-profits in the Los Angeles area, including Pomona Economic Center, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Central American Resource Center, and several others. Vanessa will continue to serve the immigrant community by expanding services to rural communities in New Mexico and working within immigration detention centers. She will attend law school after completing her fellowship with the goal of concentrating on immigration and civil rights law.

Lizdebeth Carrasco

2016-2017 Equal Justice Works Paralegal Fellow

Liz became a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative in the fall of 2016. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish from the University of New Mexico. Liz was admitted to the University of New Mexico School of Law in the fall 2017 and plans to become an immigration attorney and continue serving the immigrant community in New Mexico.

INTERESTED IN BECOMING A FELLOW?

We are currently accepting applications for the 2018-2020 Equal Justice Works Attorney and Paralegal Fellows.