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IRC Atlanta launches 'Release Project' to help detained immigrants

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In September 2020, the IRC in Atlanta welcomed Marielys Padua Soto, B.S., J.D. to the Community Integration and Immigration Services team to lead our ‘Release Project’ in partnership with Innovation Law Lab. As the IRC’s Release Project Legal Assistant, Marielys works with detained immigrants and their families to support them to request release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in Georgia. [IRC’s Release Project does not provide legal representation in immigration court.]

Are you or a loved one currently being held in one of Georgia’s ICE detention centers? The IRC's Release Project may be able to help you to request release from custody. More information:

A woman in a long dress with long dark hair stands in front of a yellow wall that has International Rescue Committee in bold black letters. She is smiling.
The IRC in Atlanta welcomed Marielys Padua Soto, B.S., J.D. to the Community Integration and Immigration Services team in September 2020.

Marielys is a recent law graduate from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico and is fluent in Spanish, English and Italian. Prior to joining the IRC, Marielys worked as a summer intern for the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) and, during her final year of school, served as a winter legal intern for the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP) and as a spring legal intern for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She also volunteered with the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC) and with the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN).

“Detained immigrants are especially vulnerable and more prone to human rights violations.”

Marielys is passionate about providing access to justice to the vibrant and hardworking immigrant communities of the world, and about supporting families in their search for safety and opportunity. “The current immigration climate is one of the most heartbreaking and complex of our generation,” she shared. “Detained immigrants are especially vulnerable and more prone to human rights violations. I feel extremely privileged to be able to advocate on their behalf through humanitarian parole and Fraihat petitions so they can have a new opportunity for freedom.”

In addition to her work on the Release Project, Marielys also dedicates time to the IRC’s core Immigration Services, including applications for adjustment of status (green card), work employment authorizations, travel documents, citizenship and family reunification. She intends to become a licensed attorney and complete a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in International Migration and Human Rights. We are thrilled to have Marielys as part of the team as we expand our services to those who are detained in Georgia’s ICE detention centers.

“For too long the refugee service sector abdicated our responsibility and support of those organizations who have been working for decades in this space.”

“It is long overdue that refugee serving organizations support our sisters and brothers in the broader immigrants' rights movement,” said the IRC in Atlanta’s Acting Executive Director, Justin Howell. “For too long the refugee service sector abdicated our responsibility and support of those organizations who have been working for decades in this space. The Release Project is just the beginning of the IRC in Atlanta’s commitment to advocating for and serving all people who have been harmed by this country's inhumane, xenophobic and heavy-handed immigration policies and practices.”

 

To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Director, Marian Dickson, at Marian.Dickson [at] Rescue.org or 601-310-3174.

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