2013 Public Interest Grant Recipient
Ms. Mitchell recently completed her first year at Loyola Law School’s evening program. Upon completing her undergraduate studies in 2005, Ms. Mitchell joined the Jesuit Voluteer Corps and committed to a year of simple living, social justice, and volunteer service in a community with limited resources. As part of the program, Ms. Mitchell started volunteering as a paralegal at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), where she now works full-time during the day as an accredited representative, and attends law school at night. At CARECEN, Ms. Mitchell has worked with immigrant survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, asylum seekers, and families seeking reunification through family-based immigration. One of the highlights of Ms. Mitchell’s public interest work was the creation of a Citizenship Resource Center for naturalization applicants. In 2009, Ms. Mitchell co-authored a grant for $100,000 to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to expand citizenship services. This grant became the “seed money” to create a comprehensive naturalization program that includes legal services, a resource lab, and five citizenship classes. Since opening in late 2009, the center has grown to serve over 300 individuals annually. Currently, Ms. Mitchell is in El Salvador to further her research on the social ramifications of immigration laws among the Central American communities in Los Angeles. Specifically, she is determining the impact of family separation created by Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a provisional immigration status granted to certain Central Americans in the United States. While it provides some immigration relief, TPS does not contain a path to permanent legal status and many applicants end up separated from family members (i.e. children) abroad for many years.