Law Links - March 2017

UB law student receives prestigious fellowship to help immigrants

Law student Kerry Battenfeld ’17, along with graduating students from Harvard, Berkeley and Georgetown, has been selected to receive a prestigious Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) fellowship. Battenfeld and 24 other fellows will represent immigrants fighting deportation and seeking lawful status and citizenship.

“The 2017 Fellows will be joining the immigration bar at a moment in time of immense crisis in immigration and their work will make a tremendous difference between an immigrant remaining in the United States with family and deportation,” said Jojo Annobil, the Executive Director of the Program.

The program, conceived by Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, is dedicated to meeting immigrants’ need for high-quality legal assistance.  The Justice Fellows will be placed at top legal services agencies, and will serve for two years in and around New York City as well as in New Haven, Connecticut and Karnes, Texas.  Battenfeld will be placed at the Bar Association of Erie County’s Volunteer Lawyers Project.

"I am incredibly honored to have been selected as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow," says Battenfeld. "In the fall I will help expand VLP’s work with detained women and unaccompanied minors. This is IJC’s first placement in Western New York, and I’m proud to be able to serve my community in this capacity. The fellowship also offers the unique opportunity to be part of a network of recent graduates starting their careers as immigration attorneys."

“Kerry is a leader among her peers and it is no surprise that she was selected,” says Marc Davies, the School of Law’s associate director for career services. “Kerry’s studies and her professional life demonstrate a profound dedication to advancing human rights and fighting injustice. She is precisely the type of advocate the program hopes to recruit. As the first IJC Fellow from our law school, she will be a stellar ambassador for UB, and will play an integral part in the IJC fulfilling its mission.”

The 2017 Fellows bring a variety of immigration experience and skills to the program.  According to IJC, all are bilingual – 92% of the class speak Spanish; several members of the class speak Cantonese, Czech, French, Korean, Mandarin and/or Polish.  Approximately half of the class are first-generation immigrants.

“These remarkable advocates will inject the whole system of immigrant justice with new energy,” said Judge Katzmann in a previous statement.  “The thousands they will serve will be represented by a good lawyer, well-trained and well-supervised, and will not be prey to those who take advantage of immigrants.”