SILVER SPRING, Maryland -- A new program under CLINIC’s Defending Vulnerable Populations Project will provide immigration legal advice and representation to people from countries covered by the Trump administration’s travel ban.
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., known as CLINIC, received a $100,000 grant to fund a staff attorney to help Montgomery County, Maryland residents from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Libya with immigration problems. The grant from Montgomery County businessman and philanthropist David Trone and his wife, June, was one of several their family foundation made to local organizations.
Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of CLINIC, said the unusually local-focused project in the county where CLINIC is based “is in line with our focus on promoting the dignity and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable immigrants.”
“All immigrants, of all faiths and from all countries, deserve legal protection and due process,” Atkinson added. “The funding gives us the opportunity to focus on immigrants from the countries targeted in the executive order. It enables us to ensure that people of all nationalities and faiths have access to the immigration legal assistance they need.”
Kiyanoush Razaghi, a Montgomery County attorney, was hired by CLINIC for the project. Razaghi is an immigrant from Iran, who has been actively promoting tolerance and human rights in his home country. He speaks English, Farsi, Arabic and French.
Razaghi said he considers the work with immigrants from the targeted countries to be personal. “I can relate to the legal and emotional challenges that immigrants to the United States face,” he said. While in private practice, Razaghi represented clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and the immigration court in Baltimore. He also volunteers with the Montgomery County Bar Association and other nonprofit organizations.
The Supreme Court on June 26 agreed to review legal challenges to the travel ban that had blocked its enforcement. The court allowed the executive order barring travel to the U.S. from half a dozen African and Middle Eastern countries to proceed in cases where the visitors or refugees have no significant ties to the United States. The block on enforcement was allowed to continue in cases where people have “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” CLINIC anticipates Razaghi will serve immigrants and their families who are encountering significant delays and other obstacles in processing immigration applications. He also will work to ensure immigrants know their rights and understand the implications of laws and policies.
Flyers about the program in Arabic and Farsi may be found here.
For further information about CLINIC, the Defending Vulnerable Populations Project or the Montgomery County outreach program, please contact CLINIC’s Communications Department.