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Representing Unaccompanied Children in California – Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, T Visas, and Confidentiality


Speaker(s): Cindy C. Liou, Hayley Upshaw, Helen Beasley, Jenny Horne, Katie Annand, Kristen M. Jackson, Lynette M. Parker, Nickole Miller, Rachel Prandini, Sara Van Hofwegen
Recorded on: Dec. 16, 2016
PLI Program #: 195831

Nickole is a Managing Attorney in the Children’s Representation Project at the Immigrant Defender’s Law Center. She helps lead a team of social justice attorneys providing zealous legal representation to unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings. Nickole practices trauma-informed lawyering and strives to empower her young clients. Prior to joining the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Nickole worked in the Immigrants’ Rights Project at Public Counsel as a Staff Attorney where she represented teen asylum seekers and abused, abandoned, and neglected children eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Through this work, Nickole has emerged as a leading expert on the intersection of family law and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Previously, Nickole was a Staff Attorney at the Immigration Center for Women and Children where she represented victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other serious crimes in their affirmative and defensive U Visa, T Visa, and VAWA applications. Nickole also served as a Legal Fellow at the Public Law Center where she organized and led DACA workshops. Prior to her legal career, Nickole worked as a research assistant for the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales in Buenos Aires, Argentina and as the Festival Coordinator for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York. Nickole received her B.A. from Columbia University and graduated cum laude from DePaul University College of Law with a certificate in Public Interest Law. She is an active member of the National Lawyers Guild, and in her free time enjoys hiking with her husband Erik and reading a good book on the couch with her cats, Prof. Lupin and Albus Dumbledore.


Hayley Upshaw is a senior staff attorney at Legal Services for Children in San Francisco, California.  She represents primarily immigrant youth in a variety of legal matters including dependency proceedings, probate guardianships and immigration proceedings.  Hayley represents youth in removal proceedings before Immigration Court and in seeking humanitarian forms of relief such as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, asylum, U and T visas, and DACA.  Hayley also works with youth in immigration detention, representing unaccompanied youth who are being detained at one of the Office of Refugee Resettlement detention centers in Northern California in their immigration cases and overseeing the provision of know your rights and legal screenings for youth in these immigration detention centers.  Hayley conducts outreach at local high schools serving immigrant youth and provides trainings and technical assistance for other attorneys and community groups working with immigrant youth.  Hayley was formerly a public school teacher in San Jose, California.  She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago and her law degree from Northwestern University School of Law.


Helen Beasley is a Senior Immigration Attorney and Supervisor of the Children's Program at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) in East Palo Alto, CA. Her work focuses on providing legal services to youth facing deportation and youth who have had contact with the juvenile justice system. She is an active participant in coalition efforts to advance the rights of immigrants and youth in San Mateo County. During her time at Harvard Law School, Ms. Beasley participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and the Family Law Clinic, and she worked on women’s rights issues at the Global Justice Center in New York and the Center for Reproductive Rights in Washington, D.C. during the summer. Ms. Beasley is from Canada and received her B.A.S. (Honors) from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.


Cindy C. Liou, Esq. is currently the State Policy Director at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a national non-profit working to provide legal counsel to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children in the United States. Prior to this role, she served as the Deputy Director of Legal Services at KIND. Previously, she was the Director of the Human Trafficking Project at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, where she also co-counseled several civil litigation cases on behalf of human trafficking survivors, and represented survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and hate crimes. She continues to provide consulting and training on topics ranging from human trafficking, domestic violence lethality, to best practices on how to collaborate in cross-disciplinary teams to support survivors of violence. She is also formerly the Co-Chair of the Policy Committee of the Freedom Network to Empower Trafficked and Enslaved Persons (USA), a network of over 40 individual and member agencies representing trafficking survivors, and the winner of the 2013 San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking Modern Day Abolitionist Award for Policy and Advocacy. Cindy is also the co-author of several articles and the second edition of the manual Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking. Before working at API Legal Outreach, Cindy handled a variety of pro bono cases at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, ranging from asylum to police misconduct cases. Cindy is a graduate from Stanford Law School and the University of Washington.


Jenny Horne, a graduate of Stanford Law School, has been a staff attorney at Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County since 1994. She founded the Teen Parents’ Project which provides free legal advice and representation to low income San Mateo County teen-aged parents in domestic violence, family law, public benefits, education, guardianship, emancipation, and immigration. Over the past fifteen years, she has spent an increasing amount of time providing immigration assistance including help with U VISAs, SIJS, VAWA, and DACA to teen parents, their families, and other youth who cannot live with one or both of their parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Jenny was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame; received the Silver Award from the Peninsula Partnership Council’s first biannual Children’s Report Initiative in 2002; and in 1999, received a Commendation from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the San Mateo County Perinatal Council for services provided to San Mateo County school-age parents.


Katie Annand is the Managing Attorney of the San Francisco and Fresno offices of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). KIND trains and mentors pro bono attorneys to represent children in immigration court proceedings. Katie joined KIND in February 2016 after running a successful solo practice specializing in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a form of legal relief for undocumented children abused, abandoned or neglected by one or both parents. Katie also worked as a volunteer and staff attorney with the Immigration Center for Women and Children, where she represented clients seeking SIJS and U visas, and as an associate with Reed Smith, LLP in the commercial litigation and financial services groups. Katie is a graduate of University of California, Hastings College of Law, and of Wesleyan University, where she majored in anthropology and received a certificate in international relations. Katie is licensed to practice in the state of California, and she is fluent in Spanish.


Kristen Jackson is a Senior Staff Attorney in Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. She has expertise in asylum and children’s immigration issues, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the intersection of immigration and juvenile justice. Kristen has litigated SIJS issues in state and federal court and is co-counsel in federal litigation seeking government-appointed legal representation for children in removal proceedings. She has authored numerous publications, including a practice advisory on suppression and termination strategies for children, and she taught the Asylum Clinic at UCLA School of Law for over a decade. Kristen clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after receiving her J.D. from Yale Law School.


Lynette M. Parker is Clinical Faculty (Immigration Practice Area) of the Alexander Community Law Center, Santa Clara University School of Law. She has been teaching and supervising law students handling immigration cases since March 2000.

She provides technical support to attorneys on political asylum, U visa and T Visa cases.

She has co-authored “Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: A Promising Practices Handbook,” 1st edition published in 2010 and 2nd edition in 2014 by Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), and has authored a Georgetown Immigration Law Journal article titled “Increasing Law Students Effectiveness When Representing Traumatized Clients: A Case Study of the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center.”

Ms. Parker has been a member of the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking since 2005, and a commission member of the Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Commission since 2014.

She was awarded the FBI’s Community Leadership Award in 2014 for her working in serving survivors of human trafficking, and the 2018 Unsung Heroes Award from the Santa Clara County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee.


Rachel Prandini is the ILRC’s immigrant youth project attorney based in San Francisco. Rachel focuses on immigrant youth issues, including unaccompanied minors and immigrant youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Rachel provides technical assistance and trainings to immigration and state court attorneys, social workers, and judges. She works on statewide and national policy that affects the rights of immigrant youth and is frequently consulted for her expertise in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Rachel co-authored the ILRC’s publication Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Other Immigration Options for Children and Youth.

Prior to joining the ILRC, Rachel represented detained and released unaccompanied minors in removal defense and led a project focusing on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status at Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project in Los Angeles. While at Esperanza, Rachel also performed "Know Your Rights" work in southern California immigration detention centers for minors. Previously, Rachel worked as an associate at Paul Hastings, LLP and volunteered as a Child Advocate for unaccompanied minors.

Rachel earned her law degree from the University of California at Davis, where she was a member of the Immigration Law Clinic and was fortunate to work on complex deportation defense cases and detention issues. She received her undergraduate degree from Westmont College, where she double-majored in philosophy and political science. Rachel is admitted to the bar in California. She is conversant in Spanish.


Sara Van Hofwegen, Esq., is a supervising staff attorney in the Immigrant’s Rights Project at Public Counsel. Sara has represented more than 250 survivors of human trafficking and is an expert on human trafficking and the legal remedies available to immigrant survivors, including T Visa petitions. At Public Counsel, Sara defends unaccompanied immigrant youth, many of whom are survivors of human trafficking, from removal from the United States, representing them in removal proceedings, state court, and before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Prior to joining Public Counsel, Sara was the Managing Attorney at the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking, where she worked collaboratively with law enforcement and community partners and provided holistic legal services to survivors of human trafficking, including criminal victim-witness, civil, and immigration advocacy. Sara also regularly provides training and technical assistance on human trafficking and immigration issues in California and throughout the country. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law.