Alumni Spotlight

Equal Justice Works Fellow Armistead ’14 Advocating for Immigrant Youths, Survivors of Trafficking

Mary Armistead ’14

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Mary Armistead ’14, once a fixture at Albany Law School's Justice Center, is still making a difference in the lives of area immigrants, albeit in a new role: as an Equal Justice Works Crime Victims Justice Corps Fellow.

Now working at The Legal Project, Armistead is representing survivors of human trafficking, including undocumented youths who could face deportation in immigration court proceedings. Her work was recently featured in the Times Union article "New York's undocumented children face greater risk of deportation," in which Armistead described an immigration relief system fraught with tight limits and lengthy waits.

"During this long wait period, my young clients consistently contact me, desperate for information that I cannot give them—when exactly will my application be granted? Will I be deported before my application is granted?" Armistead said. "The extreme uncertainty that children face during this time is anxiety-provoking, which is something that impedes them from being able to fully heal from the traumas they have previously faced."

Currently Armistead and her team of eight volunteer lawyers are representing 16 undocumented youths, the Times Union reported.

In addition to providing direct legal representation to victims of human trafficking for a variety of legal issues, Armistead's fellowship—sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime—also includes conducting community-based outreach and working with local organizations to better serve the needs of trafficking survivors in the Capital Region.

As part of that effort, Armistead will be presenting and moderating at the upcoming CLE event "Hidden in Plain Sight: Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking in Your Work," to be held Thursday, November 15, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Albany Law School. (Also participating in the Nov. 15 CLE will be Damara Fredette, a third-year student and Government Law Center Fellow at Albany Law School.)

Armistead was previously a staff attorney with Albany Law School's Immigration Law Clinic, part of The Justice Center, where she provided pro bono legal services to immigrants and asylum seekers in the Capital Region. Before that she served in a prestigious clerkship at the New York Court of Appeals.

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