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Reopening Cases for Justice: Basic Rules and Advanced Strategies for Motions to Reopen in Immigration Cases


Speaker(s): Amalia Wille, Holly S. Cooper, Trina Realmuto
Recorded on: Mar. 14, 2018
PLI Program #: 240940

Holly Cooper, Co-director of the Immigration Law Clinic, has extensive litigation experience defending the rights of immigrants and is a nationally recognized expert on immigration detention issues and on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.

Cooper is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law, where she was on the Board of the King Hall Legal Foundation and an active member of the National Lawyers Guild. She received her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. As an undergraduate, she also studied Political Science and Economics at the University of Padua in Italy. She speaks, reads and writes in both Spanish and Italian.

After law school, Cooper worked for Reed Smith LLP (formerly Crosby, Heafey Roach & May LLP), The Law Offices of Fellom & Solorio, and the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. As the Senior Staff Attorney at the Florence Project, Cooper initiated the Detained Immigrant Children’s Rights Project, provided representation and pro se assistance for adult detainees, and mentored pro bono attorneys. She currently serves on the UC Haiti Initiative’s Steering Committee and is on the Advisory Board for the Gifford Center for Population Studies.

Cooper joined the School of Law faculty in 2006. In the Immigration Law Clinic, she focuses on advocating for the rights of detained immigrants. In 2011, she was the recipient of the King Hall Legal Foundation’s Outstanding Alumni Award and the Carol Weiss King award from the National Lawyers Guild.

Cooper also trains lawyers on a national level and regularly speaks at academic conferences. She provides expert legal advice to public defenders and was the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Liaison to the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge for two years. In the international domain, Cooper has worked on human rights issues in Haiti and has volunteered on multiple human rights delegations to Haiti since the earthquake.


Amalia Wille is an associate at Van Der Hout LLP in San Francisco, California. Her practice focuses on removal defense, immigration law and crimes, complex motions to reopen, and representing immigrants before the federal courts. She also specializes in immigration detention issues and is co-class counsel in Aleman-Gonzalez v. Sessions, the class-action case that mandates prolonged detention bond hearings for individuals detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(6) in the Ninth Circuit. She currently serves on the national Asylum and Refugee Committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and on AILA’s Amicus Committee. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and Georgetown University.


Trina Realmuto is the Executive Director of the National Immigration Litigation Alliance (NILA) where she litigates impact and individual cases and provides strategic litigation assistance to NILA members. With over twenty years of experience in immigration, damages, and transparency litigation in federal courts, Trina has litigated and argued several precedent decisions on behalf of individuals, classes, and amicus curiae, written numerous practice advisories, and is a frequent presenter on immigration issues. Prior to co-founding NILA, Trina was a Directing Attorney of Litigation at the American Immigration Council (AIC). Before that, she served as the Litigation Director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and as a consulting attorney AIC. In addition, she has worked abroad representing noncitizens applying for visas at U.S. embassies and consulates. Trina began her career as an associate attorney at Van Der Hout LLC in San Francisco where she specialized in federal court litigation and deportation defense. In 2015, Trina was awarded the Jack Wasserman Memorial Award for Excellence in Litigation by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.