Attorney of the Week

Safe Passage, July 25, 2016

This week, Safe Passage Project is proud to feature two of our dedicated attorney volunteers: James O’Malley and Natalie Bello of O’Malley and Associates.

Ms. Bello, an NYLS graduate, volunteered with Safe Passage Project during her time in law school and was excited to take on the case and act as a liaison with Safe Passage Project again. She said, “Essentially when I joined O’Malley and Associates, I took on the case because I was familiar with Safe Passage Project and that type of case.” Mr. O’Malley, also an NYLS graduate, had volunteered with Safe Passage Project before and was happy to take on this case when Professor Lenni Benson called for volunteers.

The team from O’Malley and Associates recently successfully concluded their case, and their client, R.G., was granted relief from removal and lawful permanent residency!

In September of 2012, Ms. Bello and Mr. O’Malley took on the case to help an immigrant child, R.G., from El Salvador. Mr. O’Malley and Ms. Bello thought about seeking asylum for the child, but decided that SIJS was a more probable option. The two worked tirelessly to secure SIJS status for R.G. They worked closely with Greg Peters, as he represented R.G. in family court, while Mr. O’Malley and Ms. Bello represented R.G. in immigration court. Mr. O’Malley explained that their main challenge was getting the I-360 submitted before R.G.’s 21st birthday. Ultimately, they were able to submit the I-360 petition three months before R.G. turned 21 in January of 2015.  After years of dedication, R.G. was granted lawful permanent residency based on his SIJS in June of this year!

R.G. is doing great and recently graduated from high school and started a new job.

Mr. O’Malley explained, “Professor Benson is just such a great mentor and role model for all of us. I’m a graduate of New York Law School also, so it’s kind of a no brainer really. We almost always have one active pro bono case in some form of another in the office.” Ms. Bello decided to take on the case because she explained, “I have always been interested in this area of law since college. I took a lot of classes in immigration law and I come from immigrant parents so it is a great motivation to help other immigrants come to the United States.”

As for a piece of advice to other attorneys thinking about working with Safe Passage Project, Mr. O’Malley and Ms. Bello said to have patience and always make sure that their client knows what is going on and doing what they are suppose to do at all times. We are very thankful to Mr. O’Malley and Ms. Bello for all of their hard work and dedication to Safe Passage Project!

Mr. O’Malley studied at the Northern University of Ireland and is a graduate of New York Law School. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and is admitted to practice in the State of New York, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. O’Malley has been practicing U.S. Immigration for over 25 years. He has been honored by Irish America Magazine in 1992 as one of the 100 most important Irish Americans and later again in 2008 as one of the top 100 Irish American Lawyers. His areas of specialty include executive and managerial transferees, investment visas, outstanding researcher, professional and specialty occupation visas, extraordinary ability, entertainment visas, permanent residence and issues of dual citizenship.

Ms. Bello received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Business Administration from Fordham University, Lincoln Center. She attended New York Law School and is admitted to practice in New York State. Ms. Bello is fluent in Spanish and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Her areas of experience include professional and specialty occupation visas, trainee and intern visas, entertainer and performer visas, and Prosecutorial Discretion and DACA applications.