ASAP has expanded its Systemic Reform department in response to evolving immigration crises, welcoming two new staff members to our team: Litigation Paralegal Marilyn E. Alvarado and Staff Attorney Zachary Manfredi. With this increased capacity, ASAP’s Systemic Reform Team will not only be able to bolster our existing efforts, but also roll out innovative new projects.
The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)’s Systemic Reform department pushes for change through complex immigration representation, federal litigation, and legislative advocacy. Earlier this year, ASAP helped Suny Rodriguez and her son secure a $125,000 settlement in a novel monetary damages lawsuit against ICE and CBP. ASAP’s Systemic Reform department also drafted a report regarding in absentia removal orders, which led U.S. Rep. Panetta to introduce H.R. 3748, the Providing Justice for Asylum Seekers Act, based on recommendations from the report.
We have also taken on new cases to help asylum seekers navigate the federal court system, bringing a federal lawsuit to help formerly separated families access critical immigration records, and helping individual clients access relief won through class action lawsuits, most recently securing a court order for a deported mother to reunite with her son in the United States.
Marilyn and Zak will be working to establish monetary damages lawsuits as an accessible tool for asylum seekers and advocates to hold the government accountable for abuses at the border, and to find creative solutions to decrease the number of in absentia removal orders issued per year. ASAP is excited to see the additional impact this team will bring.