Safe Passage Project Staff

Lenni Benson, Executive Director and Founder

Professor Lenni Benson is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of immigration law and political asylum.  Before joining the New York Law School faculty in the early 1990s, Professor Benson represented numerous corporations and individuals as partner at the international firm, Bryan Cave, LLP.

Professor Benson has won widespread recognition and numerous awards; in 1999, the American Immigration Lawyers Association named her Outstanding Professor in Immigration Law based on her contributions to the professional and scholarly development of the field and her role as a mentor of students and young attorneys. She was honored in 2008, along with other members of the Safe Passage Project, and received the State Bar President’s Award for Pro Bono Law School Project. She recently co-authored the first interactive immigration law textbook, and has authored numerous oft-cited articles, as well as many training videos and other visual materials.

From 2011-2012 Professor Benson was a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States, and prepared an extensive analysis of and recommendations for improvements to the system of immigration removal and adjudication. She is an active participant in immigrant rights projects coordinated by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), serves on the board of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law Foundation, and is a trustee emeritus for the American Immigration Law Foundation. She has also served as Chair of the Immigration Committee of the Administrative Law Section of the American Bar Association and as Chair of the Immigration Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

Megan Eiss-Proctor, Director of Operations and Development

Megan Eiss-Proctor volunteered with the Safe Passage Project for several years before joining the team full-time. Ms. Eiss-Proctor received a BA from the George Washington University in 2000 and joined Teach for America after graduation. After teaching 5th grade for two years in the South Bronx, she enrolled in law school and received her J.D. from New York Law School in 2005. She served as an Executive Articles Editor of the NYLS Law Review, and was an active member of the NYLS Justice Action Center. After graduating, she practiced family law in New York City and in August 2010 started her own practice focused on helping start-ups, small businesses, and not-for-profits.

Bethany Ow, Staff Attorney

A 2009 graduate of New York Law School, Bethany Ow has been working in the field of immigration law for over a decade.  Ms. Ow began working with the Safe Passage Project in July 2012 and helped to implement our successful juvenile docket screening program at the New York Immigration Court.  Prior to her work with Safe Passage, Ms. Ow was employed with the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review in Houston, Texas, where she gained valuable experience in the field by researching and drafting legal decisions on behalf of eight Immigration Court judges.  Ms. Ow has published an academic article regarding federal court jurisdiction over citizenship cases and served as one of the principal research assistants on a recently published immigration law textbook.  Ms. Ow is the 2009 recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Proficiency in Constitutional Law, and accepted the 2008 New York State Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Award on behalf of the Safe Passage Project. During her time at New York Law School, Ms. Ow was an Articles Editor for the New York Law School Law Review, and was active in the New York Law School Immigration Law Students Association. She is currently a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Bar Association.  She is admitted to practice in New York.

Guillermo Stampur, Staff Attorney and Adjunct Professor

A 2010 graduate of Fordham Law School, Gui Stampur has extensive experience working with youth.  As an undergraduate at Columbia University, he established SportSupport, an organization that provides mentoring and psychological and emotional support for children through athletics.  Before coming to Safe Passage Project,  Mr. Stampur worked with Make The Road and The Door, where he represented immigrant youth in both Family and Immigration courts. Mr. Stampur was the 2010 recipient of the Archibald R. Murray Public Service award and the 2009 Ann Moynihan Public Interest Fellowship.

Claire Thomas, Staff Attorney and Adjunct Professor

Before joining the Safe Passage Project team in 2014,  Claire Thomas advocated for the rights of African and Caribbean immigrants as a legal intern, then staff attorney at the African Services Committee, a Harlem non-profit that assists persons living with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, Ms. Thomas provided pro bono representation for survivors of gender-based violence, including minors, in immigration proceedings. Ms. Thomas also directed “Projet Aimée,” the African Services Committee’s women’s empowerment group for survivors of gender-based violence, funded by a Community Action Grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She is a member of the Immigration & Nationality Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York as well as chair of the Youth and Children subcommittee.  She is also an adjunct member of the Association’s African Affairs Committee and co-chair of its Gender subcommittee. She has contributed articles on women’s rights to Perspectives on Global Issues and to Women for Women International’s Critical Half Journal.

Martin Rothstein, Mentor Attorney and Adjunct Professor

Mr. Rothstein is a Senior Partner with Barst Mukamal & Klenier LLP. His firm is one of the oldest and largest Immigration and Nationality Law firms in the United States, handling all manners of US Immigration and Nationality cases. Mr. Rothstein has appeared before various courts and reviews, in addition to preparation of immigrant and non-immigrant petitions, applications, and appeals.  As a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Mr. Rothstein is a member of the National Board of Governors, Chair of the National Naturalization Committee, and the Chair of the New York City chapter of the Association. He is also the co-author the book “US Immigration Laws, Working, Living, and Studying in America” which was published by the Hein Publishing Company and translated into Japanese and Chinese, reaching a worldwide audience. Mr. Rothstein has been a guest lecturer at various Associations and Universities including the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, New York State Bar Association, the Practicing Law Institute, NYU School of Law and University of Texas School of law, amongst others. He has been recognized by New York Magazine as one of New York’s Top Attorneys, one of New York’s Super Lawyers by the New York Times, and has been included in the list of Best Lawyers in America as well as in Who’s Who Legal. Mr. Rothstein was admitted to the New York Bar in 1968 and the District of Columbia Bar in 1970.