NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - July 05, 2016) - Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC), the country's first fellowship program wholly dedicated to meeting immigrants' need for high-quality legal assistance, announced today that Jojo Annobil, a leading immigration lawyer, will become the organization's executive director, effective August 29th.
Conceived of by Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and incubated by Robin Hood in 2013, IJC helps immigrants seeking citizenship and fighting deportation. By connecting the country's most talented advocates with the best legal and community institutions, IJC is producing new strategies to ensure that immigration status is no longer a barrier to social and economic opportunity for immigrant families.
As Attorney-in-Charge of the Immigration Law Unit of The Legal Aid Society over the last decade, and in his 26 year tenure there, Jojo Annobil served as an indefatigable advocate for immigrants in deportation proceedings. His unit has provided low-income New Yorkers with immigration services ranging from deportation defense, to adjustment of status, to legal permanent residence and citizenship applications. In his role, he has supervised individual case representation, policy advocacy and coordinated the unit's collaboration with other legal services providers, community based organizations, pro bono attorneys and law students. Under his leadership, the unit grew from nine attorneys and paralegals in 2008 to a current staff of 43 attorneys, social workers and paralegals. Indicative of his central role in spearheading access to justice, Mr. Annobil co-chairs the New York State Bar Association Committee on Immigrant Representation.
In August 2014, Mr. Annobil demonstrated leadership during the immigration crisis created by the unprecedented surge of unaccompanied minor children arriving in the United States. He led a coalition of legal service providers, pro bono attorneys, and public and private donors to help ensure that thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children received competent legal representation and social and mental health services.
"I have admired Jojo Annobil for many years, as a valued member of the Study Group on Immigrant Representation, and as someone who has been supportive of the IJC from its creation," Judge Katzmann said. "We could not have hoped for a more seasoned, well-respected, inspirational, and beloved figure in the nonprofit legal community to guide IJC in this next phase."
"He's a superb choice for the position. Although we will miss Jojo as he moves on to become the executive director of the IJC, we are excited about the opportunity his appointment presents to improve and expand quality advocacy to immigrants," said Seymour James, Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society.
"I can only speak about Jojo in superlatives," Adriene Holder, Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society's Civil Practice, said. "Jojo is one of the most brilliant, tenacious, dedicated and visionary attorneys that I know, and our success in expanding legal services to immigrants has come about because of his leadership and deep commitment to access to justice."
"IJC is uniquely positioned to make a difference nationwide in the delivery of quality immigration legal services and in training the next generation of high caliber immigration practitioners. I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to lead the IJC and to support fellows in our shared commitment to make a profound difference in immigrant communities," said Mr. Annobil.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Annobil has earned many honors, including the Louis J. Lefkowitz Public Service Award, the New York City Bar Legal Services Award, the New York City Council Proclamation for Outstanding Service to the City of New York, and the Asian Americans for Equality Agent of Change Award. He is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law where he co-teaches the Immigrant Defense Clinic. He also serves as Special Counsel to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division First Department's disciplinary committee on immigration matters.
"Jojo Annobil is the perfect leader for IJC, an organization that in just two years has had a remarkable beginning," said William Zabel, chair of the IJC Board of Directors. "Under Jojo's leadership, IJC -- with 70 fellows in the field, and a new class of 35 fellows just announced -- is well-positioned to deepen and expand its commitment to providing access to counsel to immigrants in New York and across the nation."
In welcoming Mr. Annobil, IJC board chair Mr. Zabel also applauded interim executive director Vickie Neilson "for her steadfast dedication to IJC," and former executive director Rachel Tiven "for helping us launch IJC so effectively."
In less than two years, IJC has represented more than 2,000 families in complex immigration matters. IJC screened more than 5,000 people for relief, and filed 1,990 applications for green cards, citizenship, DACA, and more. On rotation in Texas, IJC fellows have helped more than 1,000 families.
About the Immigrant Justice Corps
The Immigrant Justice Corps was incubated by the Robin Hood Foundation, whose continuing programmatic support has been essential. This fall the Leon Levy Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Spitzer Charitable Trust will join other major donors including Robin Hood, The JPB Foundation (an original founder), Laura and John Arnold, Carnegie Foundation, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Federal Bar Council, Fragomen, J.M. Kaplan Fund, Steven Kuhn, The New York Community Trust, Open Society Foundations, Oak Foundation Pinkerton Foundation, William E. Simon Foundation, Tali and Boaz Weinstein Philanthropic Fund and William D. Zabel in supporting Immigrant Justice Corps. For more information: justicecorps.org
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