2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Lara Finkbeiner

Lara Finkbeiner

Name of Host Organization: Urban Justice Center
City, State: New York, New York
Issue area: Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Getnick & Getnick LLP

The Project

Lara provided direct legal representation and outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers and refugees in the Tri-State area.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
The LGBT asylum seeker and refugee population in the United States is an incredibly vulnerable and marginalized population. All across the country, the LGBT population at large faces widespread difficulties when trying to exercise their legal rights. In addition to the stigma and challenges that all LGBT people encounter, LGBT refugees have the compounding burden of dealing with mistreatment based on their immigration status. They are forced to try to overcome this double marginalization as they attempt to navigate the asylum system, gain access to benefits, and rebuild their lives in the U.S. after already enduring severe trauma in their countries of origin.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During her Fellowship, Lara has:
• Represented 50 LGBT refugees on a range of immigration matters from refugee recognition and resettlement to benefits assistance and Green Card adjustments
• Recruited more than 100 pro bono attorneys and law students and trained them on LBGT immigration cases
• Screened and placed more than 150 cases with pro bono attorneys across the country
• Spoken at law schools, law firms, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and to federal court judges about the unique obstacles facing LGBT refugees
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Lara will continue her work at the Urban Justice Center and provide legal representation to many more LGBT refugees who are facing persecution around the world.

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