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Greenberg Traurig Miami Hosts Legal Training for Attorneys Representing Unaccompanied Children in Immigration Court Proceedings


The international law firm Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office recently hosted a legal training providing attorneys with information and resources necessary to represent children in immigration court proceedings, including children who are victims of violence, trafficking, and other abuse. The event was co-sponsored by The AILA South Florida Pro Bono Committee, Americans for Immigrant Justice (AIJ), Catholic Legal Services, and St. Thomas University School of Law Immigration Clinic.

AIJ has reported that the number of unaccompanied children entering the country has skyrocketed from 8,041 in 2008 to a projected 60,000 in 2014.  These children are fleeing war, poverty, oppression, abuse, and persecution, and many have been orphaned, abandoned, or trafficked into the U.S. Thousands of them may have legitimate legal grounds to seek relief under U.S. law, but without assistance from attorneys, they have little chance for success.

At the legal training, noted subject-matter experts offered guidance for pro bono attorneys in a variety of areas, including:

  • Representing unaccompanied minors seeking relief under U.S. law
  • Litigating in removal proceedings in immigration court
  • Practicing in Miami immigration court and dependency court
  • Filing petitions for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and applications for Lawful Permanent Resident status
  • Corroborating and building asylum claims for victims of crimes and other groups
  • Representing victims of violent crimes and trafficking
  • Filing domestic violence petitions

Greenberg Traurig hosted the event because of the firm’s commitment to supporting the mission of helping unaccompanied children in immigration court. Shareholder Jackie Becerra is a board member of Americans for Immigrant Justice and Shareholder Ian Ross serves as Co-Chair of the organization’s Young Professionals Group.

The legal training was also attended by special guest speaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario, who spoke about the journey many unaccompanied minors must endure to arrive in the U.S.  Nazario detailed her own experience covering these matters as a journalist and talked about her book, Enrique’s Journey, a national best-seller that tells the story of a Honduran boy’s struggles to find his mother in the U.S.. Other speakers included: Mary Gundrum and Ricardo Rodriguez, with the FIU Immigrant Children’s Justice Program; Farahnaz Jamette, with AI Justice, Children’s Legal Program; Kristie-Anne Padron, with Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami; Elizabeth Sanchez Kennedy, with Catholic Legal Services; Michael Vastine, with St. Thomas University School of Law; and Sui Chung, with AILA South Florida Pro Bono Committee.

About Greenberg Traurig — Miami

The Greenberg Traurig Miami office, founded in 1967 by attorneys with a business-focused approach and a tradition of community service, has actively supported and helped drive South Florida’s growth as an international financial and cultural center and gateway between the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The office is known for its “Miami Roots, Global Reach.” The attorneys advise local, national and international companies in numerous industries and sectors, including aviation, entertainment, financial institutions, health care, international trade and customs, manufacturing, real estate, retail and technology. In Florida, Greenberg Traurig serves clients from across seven offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

About Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP is an international, multi-practice law firm with approximately 1750 attorneys serving clients from 36 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The firm is among the “Power Elite” in the 2014 BTI Client Relationship Scorecard report, which assesses the nature and strength of law firms’ client relationships. For additional information, please visit


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