Breaking News! BIA Recognizes Domestic Violence as Basis for Asylum

Northwest Justice Project’s New Text Campaign Connects People to Legal Information

NJP

The Northwest Justice Project is pleased to announce that we have recently launched a text campaign connecting individuals with legal information via their cell phone. Individuals who need a driver’s license for work and have a suspended driver’s license because of unpaid traffic fines, suspension due to a car accident while uninsured, or had one or more convictions for driving with a suspended license and still have unpaid fines even though the suspension period is over can text the keyword DRIVE to 877877. 

Click here to view the short video describing the campaign.

Breaking News! Highest U.S. Immigration Tribunal Recognizes Domestic Violence as a Basis for Asylum

By: Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

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The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) today issued a landmark ruling, Matter of A-R-C-G-, with the potential to affect immigrant women across the country. As CGRS has done with so many asylum cases based on domestic violence, we assisted the attorney in this case (Roy Petty) with briefing and strategy, and we filed an amicus brief in support of the client.

CGRS has pioneered this area of the law in two internationally known cases – starting with the case of Rody Alvarado, Matter of R-A-, and then in Matter of L-R-. CGRS Director Karen Musalo, working with her colleagues at CGRS, represented both women. In 2004, and again in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set forth its position that women fleeing intimate partner violence can qualify for asylum and agreed to grants of asylum in R-A- and L-R-, respectively. These were important victories, signaling that these cases are viable, but they did not set precedent. Now, for the first time, we have binding precedent to support domestic violence survivors who seek protection in the United States.

Continue reading here.

CERD Issues Its Concluding Observations on the United States

By: Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)

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The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has issued its Concluding Observations on U.S. compliance with the CERD treaty, reflecting many of the concerns raised by the delegation of U.S. civil and human rights groups that came to Geneva to testify.  We were especially pleased to see the strong recommendations (pp. 6-7) on U.S. housing and education policy (issues where PRRAC had submitted coalition comments).  Stay tuned for Megan Haberle’s report on the CERD review in the next Poverty & Race, and thanks to the U.S. Human Rights Network for coordinating a successful advocacy effort.

Click here for the full report.

Moldovan Legal Professionals Trained on Fighting High-Level Corruption

Moldovan Conference

By: American Bar Association

From May 4–10, six Moldovan legal professionals attended the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative Institute’s second regional anti-corruption training with support from the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). ABA ROLI also selected the Moldovan participants, including two prosecutors, a judge and a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) trainer, who were accompanied by an ABA ROLI staff attorney. A total of 24 lawyers, including from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine, attended the Prague workshop.

The interactive course addressed several aspects of investigating high-level corruption, including tracking money, interviewing witnesses, and gathering and presenting evidence. The training employed a case study, allowing participants to work in smaller groups to accomplish various tasks, such as identifying potential corrupt practices, developing an investigation plan, identifying and interviewing witnesses and defendants, analyzing financial data and presenting evidence in court.

Continue reading here.  Photo credit: American Bar Association

Evictions Soar in Hot Market; Renters Suffer

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By: Shaila Dewan, New York Times

Just after 7 a.m., sheriff’s deputies knocked on the door of the duplex apartment, holding a fluorescent orange eviction notice. The process was quick and efficient. A moving crew began to carry out the family’s possessions and stack them neatly at the curb. Celeste Wilson, the tenant, appeared on the front step in pajama pants.

Ms. Wilson, 36, explained that the family had missed a month of rent when her husband fell ill, so the landlady filed for eviction. Knowing they would be thrown out, the Wilsons had already found a new home, paying a double security deposit and an extra $300 because of the open eviction case.

“It’s the stability I worry about,” Ms. Wilson said, watching her five children trickle out into the yard that had been their playground for five years. “They’ve got to start off fresh, get new friends, new neighbors. It might not show now, but maybe later on in life.”

Continue reading herePhoto credit: Ben Brewer of the New York Times

Opportunity for Service! Northwest Justice Project Accepting Letters of Interest for Its Board of Directors

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By: WSBA Board of Governors

The WSBA Board of Governors (BOG) is accepting letters of interest and résumés from members interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Justice Project (NJP). There are three attorney positions open for three-year terms commencing January 2015 and ending in December 2017. Notice of BOG action will follow its November 2014 meeting.

The Northwest Justice Project is a 125-attorney statewide not-for-profit law firm providing free legal services to low-income people from 17 offices throughout Washington. NJP is funded primarily by the State of Washington and the federal Legal Services Corporation, with additional support from the Legal Foundation of Washington. NJP’s 2014 budget is $22 million.

Board members play an active role in setting program policy, assuring adequate oversight of program operations, and must have a demonstrated interest in, and knowledge of, the delivery of high-quality civil legal services to low-income people.

NJP’s Board is a working board. Board members are expected to attend quarterly meetings in Seattle normally on the last Saturday of January, April, July, and October. Board members also serve actively on one or more standing committees. The Board typically holds a one-day annual Board retreat, which may be held in conjunction with an appropriate equal justice conference. Attorney Board members are expected to participate and support NJP efforts in legal community activities and limited resource development efforts. Travel and lodging expenses are reimbursed, as appropriate.

Please submit letters of interest and résumés on or before Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, to WSBA Communications Department, 1325 Fourth Avenue #600, Seattle, WA 98101-2539; or email barleaders@wsba.org.