2016 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Andres Kwon

Andres Kwon

Name of Host Organization: American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
City, State: Los Angeles, California
Issue area: Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Anonymous

The Project

Enhance access to effective counsel for indigent immigrants charged with crimes in Los Angeles County by eliminating prohibitive fees and strengthening public defenders' immigration representation.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Of more than two million immigrant removals under the current administration, two-thirds have involved only minor convictions. Andrés’s project seeks to partner with public defender offices to ensure that Los Angeles County assesses indigent clients’ ability to pay before levying fees, waiving such fees where clients cannot pay them; and strengthen immigrant representation and prevent avoidable convictions that trigger severe immigration consequences.
The Right Person For This Project: 
Andrés is the right person for the project because:
• As recent immigrants from Argentina, he and his family struggled to access effective counsel to navigate a complex criminal-immigration legal system he now seeks to transform
• He is already collaborating with key local stakeholders
• He has worked in the area of immigrants’ rights for nearly a decade and speaks fluent Spanish and Korean

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