Dec. 13-14: Proceeding in Proceedings: Legal and Practice Strategies for Survivor-Based Removal Defense

Dec 13, 2023 12:00PM—Dec 14, 2023 5:00PM



Event Contact Maria Lazzarino | Email


ASISTA Virtual CLE Conference

Proceeding in Proceedings: Legal and Practice Strategies for Survivor-Based Removal Defense 

Wed., December 13 – Thur., December 14, 2023: 12-5:00 pm ET


This 2-day virtual conference is intended for intermediate attorneys and DOJ Accredited Representatives who have experience or interest in working with immigrant survivors in removal proceedings before the Immigration Court.

ASISTA attorney experts will be joined by other national leaders in the field to discuss the latest developments in defending immigrant survivors before EOIR. Day One will focus on creating a case strategy based on the letter of the law (your “strategy on paper”), and Day Two will wade into the complications that arise when putting that strategy into action (requiring a revised “strategy in practice”). Topics for discussion include recent precedential decisions and changes to the law; how to make the most of policy shifts like limited appearances and video conferencing; and the latest recommendations in the realm of prosecutorial discretion.

In addition, we will hear from DHS representatives on the agency’s approach to a variety of scenarios, especially where a survivor’s case involves input from multiple DHS components.

Note: We are still awaiting confirmation of participation from additional government speakers we have invited. 

Intermediate Training: 8 CLE credits

Day ONE:  Strategy on Paper – Wed., December 13th (12:00-5:00pm ET)

  • Session One: (1.5 hrs.)  12:00-1:30 ET

Refresher on Survivor-Based Relief in Proceedings: In this session, we center ourselves for the rest of the conference with a high-level review of the main survivor-based forms of relief, VAWA-based adjustment, VAWA Cancellation of Removal, U status, and T status. In addition to the elements of the applications, we discuss issues unique to the removal setting, such as jurisdictional intricacies and obtaining continuances to pursue relief before USCIS.

Speakers: Julio Cortes del Olmo, Del Olmo Law; Jesse Evans-Schroeder, Green Evans-Schroeder; Kelly Head, ASISTA

  • Session Two: (1 hr.) 1:45-2:45 ET

Issues in Detained Proceedings: In this session, we turn to survivors in detention. Starting with a review of the different bases for detention and release, we also discuss recognizing the influence of trauma and systemic biases on who gets detained and for how long. We discuss fashioning arguments on these points, and otherwise advocating for your clients to receive all appropriate services and access to justice while in detention.

Speakers: Katharine Gordon, CAIR Coalition; Rebecca Eissenova, ASISTA

  • Session Three: (1.5 hrs.) 3:30-5:00 ET

DHS Panel: Updates in DHS Policy and Practice: Representatives from USCIS join to discuss DHS’s latest policies as they affect noncitizens. Special interest will be paid to areas where multiple DHS components play a role in a single case or issue. 

Speakers: Cecelia Friedman Levin; Elizabeth Bokan, Service Center Operations Directorate, SCOPS.

Day TWO:  Strategy in Practice  – Thru., December 14th (12:00 – 5:00pm ET)

  • Session Four: (1.5) 12:00-1:30 ET

Latest Discretion Strategies for Survivor Respondents: OPLA PD  practices, and ERO enforcement guidance: In this session, we cover policy-based strategies for representing survivors in removal proceedings, including prosecutorial discretion with OPLA and the ICE Victims-Centered Approach. Discussion will include both the letter and intent behind the policies, and how they are actually being implemented.

Speakers: Daniella Prieshoff, Tahirih Justice Center; Cristina Velez, ASISTA

  • Session Five: (1 hr.) 2:00-3:00 ET

Post-Conviction Relief for Survivors: In this session, we focus first on when post-conviction relief is –and is not–helpful to immigrant survivors. We then discuss PCR advocacy strategies for criminalized immigrant survivors.

Speakers: Sabrina Damast, Law Office of Sabrina Damast; Denise Grosman, Immigrant Defense Project; Lia Ocasio, ASISTA

  • Session Six: (1.5 hrs.) 3:30-5:00 ET

Experts Roundtable: To round out the conference, we hear from experts on the many surprises and quagmires that can arise when putting strategies into action. Drawing on questions from the audience and those that arise in ASISTA’s one-on-one strategy calls, we will cover tips for when client testimony veers off course, when judges or TAs behave unexpectedly, and when cultural or language differences need to be addressed on record. We also discuss harnessing the options for limited representation and video appearances in survivor cases – along with other avant-garde practical advice. 

Speakers: Sabrina Damast, Law Office of Sabrina Damast; Julio Cortes del Olmo, Del Olmo Law; Jesse Evans-Schroeder, Green Evans-Schroeder; Katharine Gordon, CAIR Coalition; Daniella Prieshoff, Tahirih Justice Center.  Moderator: Rebecca Eissenova, ASISTA.

Prices for full training (6 sessions = 8 CLE credit hrs.)

  • $350 Legal Staff/Advocates/Non-Profit 
  • $450 ASISTA Member Private Attorney
  • $600 Non-member  

Note: Early bird pricing ends on December 6th. Prices for training will increase $50 on Thursday, December 7th. Registration will close the day before the training on Tuesday December 12th, 2023 at 5pm ET.  Processing fees apply for online payments.

CLE: 8 hrs of Texas MCLE credits will be applied for this conference. Certificates of attendance will be available upon request and completion of the training (all sessions have a 0.5 hr. break in between).

Questions: Contact Maria Lazzarino at with any questions

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    ASISTA mailing address: PO Box 12, Suffield, CT, 06078