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A project of Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Inc.

General Line: (213) 251-3505

Fax: (213) 487-0986 

1530 James M Wood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA

©2019 by Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project

Designed and created by Luis D Gonzalez for Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project

Stephanie Lomeli
Paralegal

Why did you choose to work at Esperanza?

I have been with Esperanza since January of 2014. Interestingly enough, Esperanza and I chose one another. My first week at Esperanza I fell in love with the mission of and the two-pronged approach of representation and community education.

What was your experience like working with your client?

As the NQRP (National Qualified Representative Program) paralegal, I do not often get to work directly with detained adult clients since they are in detention, but I do get to interact with their families, especially when gathering supporting documentation. Entire families are affected by immigration proceedings, but it is always rewarding to work collaboratively with family members. There an enormous amount of coordination that goes on when representation someone in detention, and is always a blessing to have family members that are involved and willing/able to assist.

What was the most challenging aspect of the case?

The most challenging aspect of any case where an individual is detained is that the detention facility is in an isolated area, it takes a lot of mental energy to work with limited resources, especially when client does not have a strong support system.

What did you learn, from your experience, with this case?

For this particular case, I had to work collaboratively with another firm to coordinate a meeting for client, and it highlighted the importance of immigration advocates like ourselves to build relationships with and rely on other professionals to execute a plan. We really cannot do this alone

Tell us a little bit about your client’s form of relief and claim. What was the result in the case?

For this client, the immigration judge granted adjustment of status which will allow the client to receive a lawful permanent residence card.

Why is Esperanza’s mission important to you?

Esperanza’s mission is important to me because it hits home – my parents at some point were undocumented, my mother was deported in the early 90s (she thankfully now has legal status), and I have loved ones that are being directly affected by the complexities of immigration law. I am part of this community, and with the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired, I feel a sense of responsibility to do this type of work while I am able to.