AIG’s Deborah McNeil honored with the Thomas A. Russo Award

Safe Passage congratulates Deborah McNeil, who was recently honored with the First Annual Thomas A. Russo Award for Outstanding Leadership and Dedication to AIG’s Pro Bono Program/ Ms. McNeil was presented with this award on May 15, 2017 at Peter Solmssen’ s GCLR Town Hall in part for her work in support of Safe Passage.

According to Ms. McNeil, this was quite unexpected and a complete surprise – I did not see this coming, as I believe whole heartedly in sharing information on our events, but personally try to do things unnoticed, invisible if I can. I am truly thankful and appreciate the honor and speech my colleague gave to the GLCR team at the Town Hall event and to those listening on the webcast, sharing various opportunities and projects I was fortunate enough to participate on.”

Safe Passage feels lucky to consider AIG a corporate sponsor and to be working with AIG attorneys on behalf of immigrant children. As McNeil so aptly stated, “If  anything I’ve accomplished within the last year reaches or motivates at least one person to commit to Pro Bono, then we are on the right path to continue filling and surpassing  Tom’s (Mr. Russo’s) expectations. After all we have big shoes to fill, and have to start somewhere.
Ms. McNeil encourages other corporate leaders to get involved in Pro Bono and to volunteer with Safe Passage. According to Ms. Mcneil, “Start small and make the time – find your availability!”

Safe Passage Deputy Executive Director, Gui Stampur congratulates Deborah and says, “hopefully Deborah’s example will encourage other corporate leaders to get involved in Pro Bono and to start small, reach out, and lend a hand. Safe Passage is incredibly grateful and now more than ever, people need to follow Deborah’s lead and lend a hand.”

Safe Passage Project Featured in LinkedIn Article

The Founder and CEO of BorderGab, Maneesha Mukhi spoke highly of Safe Passage Project’s work in her article “No Child Should Face Immigration Court Alone.” This short Linkedin pierce describes the value of Safe Passage Project in aiding the influx of undocumented children. Mukhi notes,”The current climate has led to large groups of people mobilizing to defend our rights and that mobilization is both heartening and effective. With the judicial system at our disposal and the willingness of the people to work together, there is hope. Bureau Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau, Lourdes Rosado, said: “Now… is THE time for lawyers for social justice.”

Safe Passage Project featured in Medium

Felicity Conrad, Co-Founder of Paladin, recently published an article in Medium that featured Safe Passage Project. In this article, Conrad expresses the value of Safe Passage Project’s efforts in providing representation for undocumented children.

Click here to read the full article. 


Safe Passage Pro Bono Attorney of the Month, Ryan D. Galisewski

Safe Passage Project is proud to feature Ryan D. Galisewski as our Attorney of the Month.  

Ryan is currently an associate in the Litigation Group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where he works on a wide variety of complex matters.   

Volunteering with Safe Passage was Ryan’s first experience with immigration law.  He felt the match was “serendipitous” as he had heard from others about the challenge and reward involved in working on juvenile immigration issues, and he was looking for a more personal pro bono opportunity after previously being part of a large pro bono matter.  

Reflecting back on his first Safe Passage case, Ryan describes it as “enriching both personally and professionally.”  Ryan worked closely with his client to really get to know him and learn about his difficult family history in Ecuador, and his struggles and dreams for the future.  Ryan greatly valued the opportunity to then advocate for his client in both family court and immigration court settings and ultimately secure Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and a green card for his client.

Ryan considers pro bono a very important part of his law practice, because it allows him to give back to the greater community and use his legal skills to help others:  “SIJS cases have been especially rewarding in the opportunity to become a close advisor and advocate for clients in need.”  

Ryan had such a great experience with his fist Safe Passage case that he took on a second case, and has begun to mentor other associates within Sullivan Cromwell to help bring more pro bono attorneys into the field.

Thank you Ryan for all your hard work and dedication to your clients. We salute you as our Pro Bono Attorney of the Month for the month of May. Safe Passage feels lucky to have such a strong pro bono advocate in our ranks. We look forward to continuing to work with you and your extraordinary Firm in the future!

Immigration Adjudication: The Missing “Rule of Law” by Lenni B. Benson

Lenni B. Benson had her article published by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS). To read her article, please click HERE.

Safe Passage Project featured on NY1!

New York 1 interviewed one of our amazing clients. She courageously shared her experience as an unaccompanied minor, and her sentiments on what it was like for her to be a Safe Passage Project client.

Our Deputy Executive Director, Gui Stampur, and Director of Legal Services, Desireé C. Hernández, are also featured on this segment!

Please see below for the English and Spanish Versions of the interview:

Unaccompanied Minors Who Are Undocumented Immigrants Feel Especially Vulnerable to New Policies.

Ayudan a migrantes menores de edad para que puedan enfrentar su caso en la corte.

Safe Passage wins Green Card on behalf of Client

Safe Passage helped this incredible young girl from Honduras obtain Legal Permanent Residence in the United States.  We first met her in Immigration Court in February 2012 and took on representation immediately. She won asylum in February 2014 and in April 2017 was granted Legal Permanent Residence.  And now, in early-May 2017, she has her Green Card in her possession and is happy living with her partner and two young children.  The Safe Passage Legal team was led by Rex Chen and supported by Bethany Ow, Nisanat Rolling, and volunteer law graduate Daniel So.  It was truly a Safe Passage Team Effort.

NYC Mayor’s Office Honors Safe Passage

Last week, the New York City Mayor’s office  recognized and celebrated Safe Passage Board Members, Careen Shannon, Susan Henner, and Lenni Benson, as well as Safe Passage Pro Bono Attorneys, John Ryan, Joe Francoeur, and Steve Kent, for their commitment to service through the NYC Mayoral Service Recognition Program. Careen, Lenni, John, Joe, Steve, and Susan have contributed over 5,000 hours of pro bono time to Safe Passage in the last year and Safe Passage is so grateful. Lenni Benson, Rich Leimsider, James Stejger, and Gui Stampur attended the awards ceremony at 1 Municipal Plaza, where First Lady Chirlane McCray addressed the award winners.
According to award winner and Pro Bono attorney, John Ryan, “I am very honored to have been recognized by the Mayor’s office for my pro bono work with the immigrant community in New York. I know that I have been blessed in so many ways through my involvement with Safe Passage in its mission to provide legal services to undocumented children as they navigate the very complicated immigration system in this country. My clients have inspired me and so has Safe Passage. The children I have represented, and those I now represent have risked everything for the hope of forging a new and meaningful life in this country. Their stories replicate those I read about in text books describing those who came to America with the hope of forging a new life and helped build a stronger nation.”
Safe Passage salutes Careen, Lenni, John, Joe, Steve, and Susan for all they have done for Safe Passage and our clients.
Read the NYC Mayor’s Office Press Release here:

Safe Passage calls on DHS and ICE to Ensure Protections for Immigrant Survivors of Violence

Safe Passage Project has joined over 560 organizations to call on DHS and ICE to ensure that immigrant survivors of violence can access safety and protections.

The letter may be read in its entirety HERE.

Lenni Benson on WNYC

What it Means That Trump Wants to Limit ‘Unaccompanied’ Status for Minors Crossing the Borders

by Sarah Gonzalez, reporter for WNYC

Lenni Benson, Founder of Safe Passage Project 

Sarah Gonzalez discusses the potential consequences of President Donald Trump looking to limit ‘unaccompanied’ status for immigrant children. Tune in here to listen to Sarah Gonzalez interviewing Lenni Benson, founder of Safe Passage Project, and to read the full article.

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