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Representing Children in Immigration Matters 2020: Effective Advocacy and Best Practices

Speaker(s): Anthony Enriquez, Cristina Romero, Rebecca R. Press, Wendy Wylegala
Recorded on: Oct. 1, 2020
PLI Program #: 278250

Anthony Enriquez is the Director of the Unaccompanied Minors Program at Catholic Charities Community Services in New York City. On an annual basis, he oversees and ensures the provision and quality of legal services to thousands of immigrant youth who lack an adult caretaker and are currently facing deportation and government detention.

He is a co-creator of the Immigrant Children Advocates Relief Effort (ICARE), a coalition of legal service providers funded by New York City that provides free lawyers for young people facing deportation.

After graduating from New York University School of Law in 2013, he clerked in the Southern District of New York. Prior to his role at Catholic Charities, Anthony worked with immigrants facing detention and removal as an Equal Justice Works fellow at the Immigrant Defense Project and a staff attorney at the Door, a youth development services agency in New York City. Over the course of his career, he has represented hundreds of immigrants in state, federal, and administrative courts.

Rebecca Press is the Legal Director of UnLocal, a non-profit organization dedicated both to providing zealous representation to immigrant New York and to keeping New York's immigrant communities educated on the many legal issues impacting their lives. Together with UnLocal's legal team, Rebecca represents individuals at imminent risk of deportation, those fleeing persecution, the long-time undocumented, and many others. Led by Rebecca, UnLocal's legal team provides fierce and cutting-edge representation to immigrant New York.

Rebecca joined UnLocal in 2019 with 10 years of experience representing immigrants of all ages in removal proceedings, with a particular focus in Asylum and Protection under the Convention Against Torture. She practices regularly before the Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, and Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In addition, Rebecca clerked at the New York Immigration Court through the Attorney General’s Department of Justice Honors Program. She is a 2002 graduate of Oberlin College and a 2009 graduate of the New York University School of Law.

Tina Romero is senior staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society.  She specializes in immigrant youth representation, practicing in both state and federal courts.  She advises the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice on immigration matters, supervises pro bono attorneys, and coordinates the New York City SIJS Advocates' group, which engages in local and national policy advocacy.  In 2014, she started the Immigrant Youth Advocacy Externship at Columbia Law School. She also assisted in the creation of the ICARE coalition to ensure unaccompanied children in New York City obtained representation in immigration court.  Tina graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2001 magna cum laude.  She received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2005.  She is admitted in New York and Illinois.

Wendy Wylegala is Director for Legal Strategy at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a national non-profit organization that provides free legal services to unaccompanied immigrant children facing removal proceedings.  She prepares practice guidance, provides case-specific technical assistance to a legal staff of over 200 in KIND’s ten field offices, and supports KIND’s litigation program.  Wendy joined KIND in November 2008, working in the Newark, NJ and New York, NY field offices where she trained and mentored pro bono attorneys, and conducted intake interviews and know-your-rights programs for detained and released unaccompanied children.  From 2011 to 2016 she served as supervising attorney in the New York field office.  Before joining KIND, Wendy worked at a private law firm for eight years, and represented special immigrant juvenile clients on a pro bono basis.  Before attending law school, she was an Ombudsman at New York City’s Office of the Public Advocate.  She is admitted to practice in New York, and received her law degree from New York University School of Law, and her B.A. from Barnard College.  She is a member of the New York City Chapter of AILA, and serves as Secretary of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.