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MIRA Legal Project Update

7 Aprile 2016 No Comment

MIRA Legal Project Director, Attorney Patricia Ice, is working with several families on their immigration cases, which include applications for employment authorization, lawful permanent residence, temporary protected status, petitions for relatives, waivers for national visa center processing, and naturalization. The Legal Project charges fees for services in these cases.  Ice has focused the Legal Project’s work on administrative humanitarian and family based immigration cases. The immigration courts are in New Orleans and Memphis and the MIRA Legal Project does not have the resources to handle cases there due to time, distance and the complexity of the cases. Tuttavia, the Legal Project does have a few pending immigration court cases in New Orleans and Memphis.

Patricia is currently serving immigrants and their families in active cases from Cameroon, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Mauritania, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Yemen. Patricia also fields about 15-20 new telephone calls per week requesting information about immigration. That adds up to almost 1000 calls per year, including calls received from Mississippi attorneys (who do not regularly practice immigration law) and clients with active cases. In many cases she refers new callers to private lawyers in the area or to Catholic Charities of Jackson or The Village/El Pueblo in Biloxi. In some cases Patricia is able to give general information to callers and to point them to where to find accurate information online.

 

Last fall Patricia attended a USCIS training program on setting up a naturalization program. In the near future, Ice is planning to develop a naturalization training program for volunteers and applicants. She is also seeking volunteer attorneys or other volunteers with computer and/or bilingual language skills to help with the naturalization project and with MIRA Legal Project in general. If you are interested in volunteering, please send an email to L. Patricia Ice at p.ice @ yourmira.org and put “Volunteer” in the subject line.

On March 4, Patricia participated in an Expungement Clinic hosted by Jackson City Councilman Dekeither Stamps, Attorneys Latrice Westbrooks and June Hardwick and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project at the Metrocenter Mall in Jackson. At the Clinic attorneys assisted individuals with the court pleadings required to have certain crimes erased from their records. The expungement of these crimes will allow some individuals to seek better jobs and vote in upcoming elections.

On March 4, Patricia participated in an Expungement Clinic hosted by Jackson City Councilman Dekeither Stamps, Attorneys Latrice Westbrooks and June Hardwick and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project at the Metrocenter Mall in Jackson. At the Clinic attorneys assisted individuals with the court pleadings required to have certain crimes erased from their records. The expungement of these crimes will allow some individuals to seek better jobs and vote in upcoming elections.

 

On March 12 Patricia was on a panel regarding immigrant Human Trafficking sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Mississippi.  Patricia is part of the Programma de Asistencia Jurídica a mexicanos a través de Asesorías Legales Externas (PALE) program of attorneys working with Mexican nationals and the Mexican Consulate of New Orleans. On March 15 Ice met with staff of the Protection Department at the Consulate in New Orleans. On March 29 Patricia was a presenter at the Margaret Walker Alexander Center at Jackson State University regarding immigration issues. Students from the Tougaloo CollegeBrown University exchange program and their professors attended that event.

 

This semester Patricia is again a field extern supervisor with the Mississippi College School of Law and is hosting Ylani Hayes, a 3rd year African American law student from Natchez, Mississippi. Ms. Hayes will graduate in May and, after taking the Mississippi Bar Examination, she will start a job in the fall of 2016 with the U.S. Department of Justice (EOIR) Immigration Court in Oakdale, Louisiana. To prepare for her upcoming position, Ylani is learning a lot about immigration law from Patricia and the MIRA Legal Project.

 

Il primo aprile 7 Patricia will attend the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Day of Action 2016 in Washington, D.C.  Organizer Melinda Medina, from the MIRA Biloxi office will accompany Ice to D.C. where they will visit the offices of all of the Mississippi members of the U.S. Congress which includes Senators Cochran and Wicker and Representatives Thompson, Harper, Palazzo and Kelly to advocate for just and humane immigration reform.  On April 8 Ice will attend the AILA Spring Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Conference at the Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill. At the CLE Conference Patricia will meet with leading immigration attorneys from all over the country as well as officials from the following U.S. Agencies:  Homeland Security (including CBP, ICE & USCIS), Justice, Labor, and State.  Each agency will give an update on their policies and activities as they relate to immigration.

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