MPLG 2017 Year in Review

We think it goes without saying that, beginning in 2017, there have been immigration challenges in all arenas – business, family, asylum, removal defense, and for our DREAMERs. Through various executive orders, the new administration has moved toward a policy of reducing immigration options. In doing so, this administration has stepped away from the ideals that truly make America a great country.

Members of our immigration team decided that the best way to combat these changes was to increase our client and community advocacy. Here’s a look back at some of our activism in 2017:

              Travel Ban

Starting with the travel ban in January 2017, we, along with many Americans, were troubled by the decision to characterize entire communities as security threats. MPLG attorneys participated in the many airport actions that sprung up across the country. Interestingly, on one of the occasions Kalpana volunteered, it was Indian nationals that were held back and turned around from entering the U.S. Thus, we think the travel ban gave license for overzealous border enforcement and discrimination.

              Know Your Rights

According to South Asians American Leading Together (SAALT), there have been a total of 205 unique incidents of hate [in 2017]; a 58% increase from the previous year.” In response to growing concerns in the South Asian American community regarding hate crimes and potential racial profiling by law enforcement, in March 2017, MPLG attorneys organized a Know Your Rights program in Fremont, CA, along with the South Asian Bar Association, the League of Women Voters, and numerous community groups. Over a hundred people attended this program. MPLG attorneys helped to organize a similar event at the San Jose Gurdwara. We plan to participate in future events as we believe knowledge is power.

              Maitri Volunteer Training

Since the 1990s, Kalpana has volunteered with MAITRI, a domestic violence organization serving the South Asian community. Over the years she has represented MAITRI clients on a pro bono basis and provided guidance to Maitri volunteers. In 2016 and 2017, Kalpana has presented at MAITRI’s annual volunteer training.

              Tahirih Justice Center

In 2017, MPLG teamed up with the Tahirih Justice Center, a national non-profit that has served over 22,000 individuals fleeing violence over the last 20 years. Tahirih Justice Center primarily focuses on immigrant women and girls fleeing gender based violence. Tahirih Justice Center recently opened an office in the Bay Area. MPLG has committed to not only taking cases but providing technical assistance to its local staff.

              Muslim Community Association Legal Clinic

The Muslim Community Association (MCA) runs a free weekend legal clinic in collaboration with the Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley’s “Lawyers in the Library” program. MPLG attorneys have been volunteering at this clinic on a regular basis and Ameer and Roujin also participated in Know Your Rights programs and a Naturalization Drive at the MCA.

              Attorney of the Day in San Francisco Immigration Court

MPLG attorneys volunteer with the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Attorney of the Day program to provide counseling and same-day representation to individuals in removal proceedings before the San Francisco Immigration Court.

 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Santa Clara Valley Chapter – Advocacy Committee

Kalpana has joined the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Santa Clara Valley Chapter – Advocacy Committee and helped lead a group of AILA attorneys to meet with Congressman Ro Khanna to discuss ongoing concerns especially by the business immigrant community. Kalpana will be pursuing further meetings with other local Congressman’s offices in 2018 and participating in the National Day of Action in D.C. Roujin helps lead the New Member Division of AILA-SCV and will be organizing CLEs for new attorneys.  

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