IIBA deployed six staff members to the border to give witness to what is happening, to stand for the rights of people who have crossed the border, to serve as translators, to provide much-needed legal expertise, and to bring compassion to those who have received far too little of it.
As a naturalized citizen, Rie Sugisawa wanted to use her knowledge of the naturalization process to help others. So Rie volunteers every week at IIBA’s Napa office, administering “mock” interviews to IIBA clients, preparing them for their citizenship interview.
IIBA offers citizenship workshops throughout the Bay Area, helping legal permanent residents apply for and gain citizenship. Many of IIBA’s workshop volunteers are attorneys providing valuable pro bono hours.
“By the end of the summer, I hope to learn more about IIBA’s fundraising efforts and how to craft a legal argument for a case,” says Peter. He connected with IIBA through the San Francisco Social Impact Internship Program at Dartmouth College, where he is an undergraduate student.
“IIBA staff always kept me updated on the status of my case and made me feel secure,” says Amelia Hernandez. She appreciates that sense of security more than ever after her nightmarish journey to the U.S.
Diamante is the Legal Outreach Coordinator at IIBA’s Redwood City office and educates the immigrant community on their constitutional rights. She also works on diverse immigration cases and coordinates the DACA program. Diamante chose IIBA because she is passionate about advocating for the immigrant community.
Frustrated by the anti-immigrant rhetoric of last year’s presidential election, Jennifer Boyle decided to stand up and take action. She was intent on supporting the immigrant community, so she contacted IIBA Board President Jennifer Beckett seeking volunteer opportunities.
“I’m thrilled to be joining IIBA as a Staff Attorney and Pro-Bono coordinator,” says Valentina Ozbek. In addition to providing immigration legal services to our clients, Valentina will be working with major technology companies and law firms to advance our pro-bono program and broaden our mission of empowering and serving the immigrant community in the Bay Area.
IIBA client Clara Blanco-Herrada embodies the phrase, "Where there's a will, there's a way." With the devaluation of the Mexican peso, in the mid-1990s, Clara's life turned upside down. Her family lost their business and property in the recession, so they immigrated to the U.S., in search of new opportunities.
When Stephen Filios is not teaching Foundations of Science for Brigham Young University Idaho’s online program, hevolunteers in IIBA’s citizenship preparation classes. “I have always had an interest in working with people from different cultures,” says Stephen, so he stepped up to teach IIBA’s San Francisco class in the Tenderloin, attended primarily by Arab women.