2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Madeline Taylor Diaz

Madeline Taylor Diaz

Name of Host Organization: Ayuda
City, State: Falls Church, Virginia
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

The Project

Madeline provides direct legal services and outreach with the goal of obtaining legal status for immigrant children, including victims of violence, those who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, and DREAMers—individuals eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Immigrant children are often isolated from legal resources that could enable them to obtain legal immigration status. Cultural, economic, and language barriers, common to all immigrants, are compounded for a child. Undocumented immigrant children, many of whom are fearful of having their status discovered, are unable to plan for their future. This project provides direct immigration legal services to children in Northern Virginia—a region experiencing rapid growth in its immigrant populations and a lack of services adequate to meet the need—so that these individuals do not fear deportation and can grow up to be successful adults.
Highlights to Date: 
In the first year, Madeline has:
• Helped 32 immigrant children obtain relief from deportation and legal immigration status, including T-Visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and prosecutorial discretion
• Provided legal consultations for 150 clients
• Collaborated with local private attorneys who work with children to educate them on the remedies available for undocumented immigrant children
• Worked with other service providers to expand services available to undocumented immigrant children
What's Next: 
In the next year, Madeline plans to:
• Continue to represent immigrant children in state and immigration courts with the goal of obtaining relief from deportation
• Expand her efforts to educate private attorneys who work with undocumented immigrant children on the legal remedies available for these individuals
• Conduct trainings on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for guardians ad litem
• Identify a way to sustain her project beyond her Fellowship term

© 2017 Equal Justice Works - 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036-4511