A Non-Profit Law Firm

ADVOCATES FOR
IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

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Our Mission

The mission of Advocates for Immigrant Rights (AIR) is to fight for the dignity, safety, and inclusion of immigrants in the United States, especially those most marginalized, through legal representation and advocacy.

 We fight for the rights of immigrants but also for the expansion of those rights to ensure that all people are equally protected by the laws of the United States. AIR seeks to create structural and systemic change by coordinating with other legal service providers and community-based organizations to complement our skills and build our mutual capacity. Our service model inherently provides for relationships that will propel our work and the work of our partners.

 

Our Values

The vision of AIR is that all people in this country will be free to achieve their dreams.

Guiding principals:

  • We believe in social, racial, economic, gender justice

  • We want our work to be a part of movement building

  • We strive for structural change

  • We know that we cannot achieve our goals without cross-sector alliances

  • We believe that inclusion and leadership of marginalized communities is essential for our work to succeed

 
 

Direct Services

 
 
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Detention Defense

We represent people who have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and are currently being held in ICE facilities. We work with our clients on the phone, through video appointments, and in person to prepare requests for parole, bond, and, when those options are not available, to represent someone in their immigration case from detention. Most of our clients are detained in Louisiana and Mississippi, though we will consider representing clients who are detained in other places under certain circumstances. These cases tend to be resolved in a shorter amount of time than cases that are not detained.

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Removal Defense

For people who are released from detention and/or for people who have their immigration court outside of detention facilities (most of our clients have court in Memphis, TN) we provide representation to defend their rights to stay in the United States. We will work with our clients in person, as well as on the phone or through video appointments, to collect documents, prepare applications, and provide in-person representation in court. Sometimes the applications we file in these cases are not with the court, but with the immigration office (USCIS). Immigration court cases can sometimes take years to resolve and involve multiple applications for relief from removal.

 
 
 
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Appeals to the BIA

For people whose applications have been denied by an Immigration Judge, we can appeal to the BIA and argue that the Immigration Judge’s decision was wrong. This process lasts a few months for people in detention and can last a few years for people who are not detained.

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Affirmative Applications

We also represent people who do not have court but want to apply for some kind of legal status. We file applications for Asylum/Withholding of Removal, U-Visa, family sponsorship, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Cancellation of Removal and other types of applications with the immigration office (USCIS). We also identify and fight other legal issues that immigrant communities face.

 
 
 

Fees

Our fees are set according to our clients’ income and ability to pay. We will talk to our clients about their financial situation and create a payment plan that works for them. For an initial consultation, we charge $100.00. Even if someone is not able to pay the initial fee, we are willing to waive the initial fee and schedule a consultation. We do not charge a consultation fee for people who are detained.

Consultations

Please use the link below to schedule an initial intake, or call or send us a text at 901.729.9560. Once we receive information from someone who is detained, we will schedule a detained consultation directly, free of charge.

 
 
 

The Team

 
 
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Casey Bryant

Executive Director

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Hi! I'm the Executive Director of Advocates for Immigrant Rights (AIR). I'm also an attorney. I went to law school in New York, at the City University of New York (CUNY), which is a law school dedicated to public service. I attended CUNY because I knew that ultimately, I wanted to help people. I graduated in 2010 and since then have represented hundreds of people from around the world.

I am licensed to practice law in Tennessee, Arkansas, and New York and specialize in immigration law.

In addition to my work with AIR, I am the Legal Director for Arkansas United.

I serve as the Board Chair for the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) of Memphis and am the Vice Chair of the LGBT Section of the Tennessee Bar Association. I am also the Pro Bono Co-Chair for the Mid-South Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

I believe that it is very important to explain things clearly to clients and let them decide what and how they would like to proceed with their case. I believe that the work I do for one person can affect the lives of many and that it is very important to work together to make a bigger difference in world.

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Dani Garcia

Legal Assistant & Interpreter 

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I am the legal assistant and interpreter for Advocates for Immigrant Rights (AIR). I graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee in May of 2018. I studied International Politics and Latin American Studies. Throughout my time at school I researched the social and economic context that foments migration patterns from Latin America to the United States.

At AIR, I interpret in client-attorney consultations and do clerical work for the office. I hope to strengthen the communication between our clients and their attorneys.

 
 
 
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Stephanie Berish

Staff Attorney

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I’m a Staff Attorney with Advocates for Immigrant Rights (AIR). I received my law degree in 2017 from the University of Memphis School of Law. I then clerked for Chancellor Walter L. Evans, the Head Chancellor for Shelby County Chancery Court. After my clerkship I joined AIR as a Staff Attorney to help people with their immigration needs.

I have an unusual background, as I received my Undergraduate degree from Memphis College of Art where I focused in Sculpture, Metal Working, and Ceramics. I worked as a bench jeweler for several years before attending law school.

I became a lawyer to help people and make a difference in my community. I enjoy working directly with clients in their immigration needs. I think it’s important to provide a safe and welcoming space for people to share their troubles and receive help.

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Andrea Barboza

Paralegal

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I am a Paralegal for Advocates for Immigrant Rights (AIR). I graduated from Law School in my hometown of Maracaibo, Venezuela in August of 2009 and worked as a Labor and Employment Attorney until I moved to the United States in February 2013.

Now I have over 5 years of experience in the area of Immigration Law, and my expertise includes assisting with applications for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, Family-based Petitions, U-Visas, VAWAs, Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing among others.

I have my own story about coming to the U.S. and dealing with the complexities of the immigration system and for that reason I am committed to assisting others to obtain legal status in this county, and doing it in the most efficient and professional way possible.

 
 
 

Board Members

Africa Gonzalez

Kathryn Maceri

Alejandro Paredes

April Steele

 
 

 Partnerships & Coalitions

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 AIR works closely with local and regional partners to expand our reach, compound our resources, and be more accessible to our clients

 
 

In Arkansas

We partner directly with Arkansas United, an organization that provides services and advocacy across the state of Arkansas, to prepare naturalization applications and simple status renewals for their members. We also provide Know Your Rights Trainings, community informational sessions and legal screenings throughout the state. Through this partnership, we are able to reach rural communities where there are none, or very few, legal services, as well as increase civic engagement of immigrant communities throughout Arkansas.

In Memphis

We work in coalition with the Community Legal Center (CLC) and the Mid-South Immigrant Advocates (MIA) as the Immigrant Defense Alliance. Together we organize legal workshops and informational sessions as well as raise awareness for our shared work around removal defense. 

We are very fortunate to have our office in the First Congregational Church in Memphis, TN and we are working in partnership with their burgeoning South Cooper Street center for social justice.