Wednesday, February 7, 2007

New Front Page Poster, Jenna Moore

To add a little metro flavor to the front page, Jenna Moore, an Atlanta attorney who many of you know from both her community service and Democratic political activities, will be joining us as a front page poster. Welcome, Jenna! While I'm getting her set up with access to the site, below is her first powerful post:

Help victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other crimes achieve legal status

Georgia has witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of foreign-born individuals living in its communities. Many of these individuals arrived in this country on work visas, tourist visas or fiancé visas and are married to and have children with U.S. citizens or permanent residents. But if a citizen or permanent resident spouse becomes physically, sexually or emotionally abusive toward his foreign-born wife, refusal to initiate or cooperate with her immigration petition becomes a powerful way to exert control over her and keep her and her children in a dangerous relationship and precarious legal status. Other foreign-born persons, the majority of whom are women and children, are tricked, coerced, sold or forced into situations of slavery-like exploitation from which they are unable to escape.

Federal law, provides avenues for these immigrant victims of crime and their children to achieve legal status in the United States without the help or knowledge of the abuser or trafficker. AVLF’s Project Liberty seeks to make these legal avenues accessible to this unusually vulnerable population by training volunteer attorneys and paralegals to work in teams to assist immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other crime with drafting and filing these difficult petitions. In many cases, the volunteers can also assist the petitioner obtain work authorization so she can support herself and her children. In appropriate cases, AVLF further helps secure the petitioner’s family by referring her to an AVLF volunteer attorney who will assist in obtaining a divorce from an abusive spouse.

Pioneered by lawyers from Powell Goldstein, LLP, and BellSouth in 2005, this project is now open to the entire legal community. The next training for Project Liberty is on March 14, 2007, at the State Bar of Georgia. Please see the AVLF homepage more information about how to register. If you are interested in volunteering for Project Liberty, please contact Tamara Serwer Caldas at tcaldas@avlf.org.

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