Lenni Benson, Director
Professor Benson is nationally recognized in the fields of immigration law and political asylum. Before becoming a faculty member at NYLS, she was a partner in the International Law Firm, Bryan Cave, LLP. In 2012, she was named the chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. In 2011 through 2012 she was a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States where she prepared an analysis of improving immigration removal adjudication. In 1999, the American Immigration Lawyers Association named Professor Benson the 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 is an active participant in immigrant rights projects coordinated by the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union, and she 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 is past Chair of the Immigration Committee of the Administrative Law Section of the American Bar Association and past chair of the Immigration Section of the American Association of Law Schools.
Fellow and Adjunct Professor – Bethany Ow
A New York Law School graduate of 2009, Bethany Ow has been working in the field of immigration law for over a decade. Most recently, 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 working 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 forthcoming immigration law textbook for Lexis. Ms. Ow is the 2009 recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Proficiency in Constitutional Law in addition to the New York State Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Award for her work on the Safe Passage Immigration Project. During her time at New York Law School, Mrs. Ow acted as the Articles Editor for the New York Law School Law Review from 2006-2008. Additionally, Mrs. Ow was active in the New York Law School Immigration Law Student Association and in the Student Division of Lawyers Without Borders New York Law School Division. She is currently affiliated with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and has been admitted to the New York State Bar.
Safe Passage Fellow – Guillermo Stampur
A 2010 graduate of Fordham Law School, Gui Stampur has extensive experience working with young people. He currently works with the Diane Abbey Center for Children and Families as a Safe Passage Fellow. Prior to Safe Passage, Mr. Stampur worked with Make The Road and The Door, where he represented immigrant youth in Family and Immigration court. Mr. Stampur was the 2010 recipient of the Archibald R. Murray Public Service award and the 2009 Ann Moynihan Public Interest Fellowship. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2011. While an undergraduate at Columbia University, Mr. Stampur founded SportSupport, a foundation that seeks to mentor and provide psychological and emotional support for children through athletics.
Safe Passage Attorney – Claire R. Thomas
Prior to joining the Safe Passage team in 2014, Ms. Thomas advocated for the rights of African and Caribbean immigrants as a legal intern and then a staff attorney at African Services Committee, a non-profit organization in Harlem assisting persons living with HIV/AIDS. At African Services, Ms. Thomas conducted intakes for new clients and represented French-speaking indigent persons in family law and benefits cases. She provided pro bono representation for survivors of gender-based violence, including minors, in immigration proceedings. Ms. Thomas also directed “Projet Aimée,” 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). Ms. Thomas completed her undergraduate degrees in anthropology and French at the University of Chicago and also studied at the Université de Paris X, Nanterre. She holds a graduate degree from New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and a law degree from New York Law School. She is a member of the Immigration & Nationality Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and chair of the Youth and Children subcommittee as well as an adjunct member of the African Affairs Committee and co-chair of the Gender subcommittee. Ms. Thomas has presented trainings on cultural competency, working with interpreters, asylum, immigration, and benefits law to students and professionals in both the U.S. and abroad. She has contributed articles on women’s rights to Perspectives on Global Issues and Women for Women International’s Critical Half Journal. Ms. Thomas speaks French fluently and is learning Spanish.
Martin Rothstein, Esq., 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.
Susan Henner, Esq., Mentor Attorney and Adjunct Professor
Ms. Susan Henner is a highly experienced immigration attorney with experience in handling all types of immigration cases from business-related immigration matters to deportation cases. She has secured temporary visas, permanent residence and citizenship for thousands of clients and the employees of clients. Ms. Henner has also saved hundreds of clients from deportation and she is experienced in handling family-based cases as well as criminal immigration matters. Her areas of expertise are within the areas of: Artists and Entertainment Visas, Asylum Law, Cancellation of Removal, and Citizenship matters. Susan is the current co-chair of The Westchester County Bar Association’s Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law. Ms. Henner works extensively with women and immigrant groups in the tri-state area in order to educate others with respect to the constantly changing immigration laws. She also provides training to other lawyers and paralegals in the various area of immigration law. She has taught a course in immigration law at Westchester Community College, and she has lectured to groups such as the Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association and the New York City Grievance Committee regarding immigration law and ethical issues. A published author, Ms. Henner has written for several publications within both the legal and general communities. Her articles and quotes appear frequently in local newspapers, law reviews, trade publications and other publications. Ms. Henner is admitted to practice in New York. She received her J.D. from New York Law School in 1994.