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Strategies and Tactics for Successful Immigration Appeals


Speaker(s): Anna Benvenue, Aubra Fletcher, Morgan Russell, Shuting Chen, Trina Realmuto
Recorded on: Mar. 12, 2021
PLI Program #: 318566

Anna Benvenue is the Director of Immigration Legal Services at Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay.  Anna is a passionate advocate who has spent her career dedicated to advancing the rights of immigrants.  In her current role, Anna supervises the immigration legal services program, which provides quality free and low cost legal representation to Bay Area residents in removal proceedings, appeals, and affirmative applications.  JFCS East Bay's legal team collaborates with local community organizations to disseminate widespread legal education to hard-to-reach immigrant communities, conducts individual consultations to assess eligibility for immigration benefits, the consequences of criminal convictions, and the potential for relief from removal. Anna assists the agency with policy advocacy on important community issues related to immigration. Anna is also an adjunct professor at Golden Gate University School of Law where she is the lead professor for the Immigration Law Clinic.  

Prior to joining JFCS East Bay, Anna worked for nine years in private practice representing clients in deportation defense hearings, in applications before the Department of Homeland Security and in written appeals and motions filed with the Agency and Circuit Courts.  She has successfully argued more than a dozen cases before the Ninth Circuit and briefed many more resulting in multiple victories.  Prior to law school, Anna spent three years teaching fourth grade in San Jose, California. Anna received her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law, with highest honors and her B.A. from the University of Georgia, magna cum laude. Anna is admitted to the bar in California.


Based in Sacramento, California, Aubra Fletcher currently specializes in immigration appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals and federal Circuit Courts of Appeals.  She also represents noncitizens in Immigration Court and provides research, writing, and consultation services to fellow immigration lawyers.  Prior to launching her own practice in 2017, Aubra spent nearly six years representing noncitizens at the Law Office of Robert B. Jobe in San Francisco, California.  Before attending law school at U.C. Berkeley, Aubra was a paralegal at Robert Jobe’s office for three years and at the Political Asylum Project of Austin for one year.  Aubra has also worked as a client advocate at Bay Area Legal Aid in San Francisco and as an attorney at the Law Office of Donna Brorby, monitoring the California Youth Authority’s compliance with the Farrell v. Cate consent decree.


Morgan Russell is a Staff Attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project based in San Francisco.  Before joining the ACLU in 2019, Morgan worked for five years at the Law Office of Robert B. Jobe in San Francisco, representing asylum seekers and defending individuals and families against deportation.  During his last two years at the firm, Morgan’s practice focused exclusively on motions to reopen removal proceedings and immigration appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Courts of Appeals.  He is a graduate of Stanford University and the Cardozo School of Law, and clerked for Judge James L. Dennis at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.


Shuting Chen is a staff attorney in the immigration unit of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to joining the court in 2020, Ting represented immigrants in private practice, advocating for them before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the federal courts. Her work varied from removal defense to family-based immigration, appeals, and affirmative applications. She was an active advisory council member of AILA’s Northern California chapter,  SF Bar Association Barristers Club Immigration Section Co-Chair, and adjunct immigration professor at John F. Kennedy University College of Law.


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.