Once a Fellow, Always a Volunteer

PILI Fellow Represents a Dozen SIJS Clients

Kathy Jara, now an Associate with Sidley Austin LLP, was a tremendous help at CVLS this past year. Her focus as a Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow at CVLS was to directly represent clients seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) findings for minor children in their care.

SIJS is a special form of immigration relief available to children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both parents. An application for SIJS requires a court order from a family law court, or equivalent, making these and other findings to qualify the child for SIJS.

As a PILI Fellow with CVLS, Kathy represented a dozen clients in Guardianship and Domestic Relations cases seeking these court orders. One such client was Victoria, the mother of an adult daughter named Sandra, who was abandoned by her father. Sandra and her mother fled to the United States after being threated by criminal gangs in their home country of Colombia.

In November of this year, an order was entered granting Victoria guardianship of her adult daughter and making the necessary findings for SIJS relief. Kathy’s work on this case allows this family safety and stability in the United States and provides Sandra a much-needed pathway to citizenship.

Best of luck with the rest of your career, Kathy. You will be missed!

Kathy Jara, Sidley Austin LLP
Kathy Jara, Sidley Austin LLP
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