Gina gives vulnerable children a voice. As a paralegal in our Special Litigation and Law Reform Unit, Gina pushes for important reforms that help young New Yorkers across our city. Whether she is working with immigrant children who have been ripped from their families, or young people residing in residential treatment centers, her work helps protect children’s rights and ensure that they have a say in their future.
children separated at the border held in nyc
After getting a Master’s Degree in Refugee and Forced Migration, Gina was ready to put her expertise to work for vulnerable individuals. Now in our Juvenile Rights Practice, she is making a difference for young people in our city. In the past few months, she and her colleagues have collaborated with our Immigration Law Unit and Civil Law Reform Unit to assist some 300 immigrant children who were separated from their families by the Trump administration. Gina saw that these children were not being consulted on their immigration relief or the reunification process: “traumatized children were again being marginalized and silenced at the hands of the administration without once being asked what they wanted.” As events were rapidly unfolding nationwide, Gina worked late nights and the weekend to make the case for these young immigrants, helping ensure that their voices would be heard. Gina has been working with this same team to advocate for relief for hundreds of immigrant youth in NY ages 18-21 who are being unfairly denied Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, a valuable path to citizenship.
Making Big Changes
For Gina, this is just one of the many ways in which her unit’s strategic approach can make a lasting impact on New Yorkers. In addition to her work with immigrant children, she has also worked with her unit to protect youth rights and enhance conditions in a variety of foster care and juvenile justice settings. By working with children embedded in these two systems, Gina is helping improve the lives of these most vulnerable, disenfranchised youth. Even before her time at The Legal Aid Society, she saw that the law was a powerful tool to make a difference. Now, working on the front-lines, she knows first-hand that systemic litigation is “the best way to effect change.”
Gina and her colleagues make a difference for clients every day. But their work does more than create important changes to our city’s legal landscape: it gives New Yorkers a voice. When interviewing youth who could serve as potential plaintiffs in class action cases, Gina says there is “an outpouring of emotion from the children. They just want to be heard.” Unfortunately, our justice system often silences poor and powerless New Yorkers. Thankfully, Gina and her colleagues are here to change that. As Gina sees it, “our job as advocates for children is to vocalize the needs of the children and ensure that they’re afforded due respect.”
Want To Join The Fight?
With your help, Gina and her colleagues can make equal justice a reality
for even more New Yorkers in need.