Austin lawyers brush up on latest immigration policies

Austin attorney's learning immigration policy

AUSTIN - AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin Bar Association hosted a seminar for Immigration lawyers to teach other lawyers about the latest policies Monday.

"Immigration lawyers are being inundated right now, we're really overwhelmed with concerned calls and emails from our existing clients, from new clients, and we're trying to keep up with all the changes that are flying at us,” said Immigration attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch.

She hopes some of these lawyers can help out.

"We're looking to really expand pro bono services for indigent immigrants in the Austin area," said Lincoln-Goldfinch.

Ana Deleon works as an office manager. She went to college in Indiana, is married to a US citizen, and is currently applying for her permanent U.S. resident status.

"We actually have our interview tomorrow,” said Deleon.

She has mixed emotions about recent immigration policies and discussions.

"I'm not sure if I feel a specific thing of oh I feel sad, or I feel frustrated, or angry, I think it's like all of those and more,” said Deleon.

But she's glad Austin lawyers are coming together to figure out ways to help.

"There's also been lots of rumors of things that might be coming forward, ICE raids etc., regardless of the truth in all of those, what that does is it raises awareness and it raises concern,” said Amy Welborn, president-elect of the Austin Bar Association.

Caroline Tang, an immigration attorney for Austin technology and engineering companies, spoke to the group Monday.

"This is not only impacting the refugee population, which a lot of people talk about, but it also impacts the employees of the companies I represent,” said Tang. "Some of those individuals have not been able to travel overseas to present at academic conferences where they were invited, some individuals are currently stuck outside the United States and are unable to come back in to continue working for the companies that employ them for several years here."

The free seminar sold out in one day. The association also broadcasted the information on Periscope.

"It's very exciting that there's been so much; it's interesting. Right now is a dark time for immigration attorneys and for a lot of us who are in the field of immigration, so to see that there are so many people to come and help," she said.

Attorney Claudia Garnica attended the seminar.

"I know that a lot of people think immigration is black and white and it's actually incredibly grey, and incredibly complicated,” said Garnica.

She's seen that within her own family as an immigrant from Mexico.

"It's a common sentiment at least within my family and my close friends about what’s going to happen next, even my U.S. citizen friends, they're very  concerned about what's going to happen to my boyfriend, my friends, regardless of their status, are they going to be able to stay here," said Garnica.

It's an uncertainty, Deleon is glad the group of lawyers is working to fix.

"I think it's very crucial right now to find ways to unify,” said Deleon.

Some of the lawyers also plan to help with clinics called "Know Your Rights." The nonprofit "Texas Here To Stay" will host those clinics.

The next one will be in Georgetown on Feb. 12.

You can find information on that here.

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