BCNA Teaching Fellow Regina Jefferies Honored by The Advocates for Human Rights

June 29, 2017

Minneapolis-based The Advocates for Human Rights has honored Regina Jefferies, who has served for the past year as a clinical teaching fellow at the Law School’s James H. Binger Center for New Americans, with a 2017 Special Recognition Award. The award recognizes her work as a leader of the rapid-response team that mobilized attorneys at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to protect people affected by President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.

As The Advocates’ award announcement reports, on Friday, Jan. 27, Jefferies signed up to help locally with an International Refugee Assistance Project effort to counter the travel ban, “and by Sunday morning had messages from more than 150 lawyers willing to go to the airport.” Jefferies and the other team leaders “organized everything from attorneys providing direct assistance on the ground at MSP [and] a habeas team ready to file for anyone detained under the ban to volunteer training and communications and liaison with the Metropolitan Airport Commission. Within two weeks, the project grew to more than 300 attorneys and countless community members…. Volunteers met every international flight to Minnesota for six weeks. Their work not only provided on-site help to anxious family members waiting for their loved ones to arrive. It sent an important message to federal officials that the people of this country will not sit idly by in the face of discrimination and intolerance. Their work embodies The Advocates’ mission to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law.”

“Regina helped inspire and mobilize scores of local volunteer lawyers in the immediate aftermath of the executive order, connecting them with each other and to national allies to monitor and respond to a constantly evolving situation at airports across the country,” said Professor Ben Casper Sanchez (’97), director of the Binger Center. “Beyond her tireless work in the days after the Muslim ban was first announced, Regina then helped channel the energy of the same volunteer lawyers she’d organized into important but longer-term pro bono projects that continue to protect the due process rights of immigrants facing deportation. This award was richly deserved.”

Jefferies joined the Binger Center in June 2016 for a one-year fellowship appointment. She has more than 10 years of experience practicing before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of State, U.S. immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Jefferies serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association National USCIS Field Operations Committee and is a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent-rated attorney. At the Binger Center, she co-taught the Detainee Rights Clinic, which provides representation and support for detainees in Minnesota who are facing removal from the United States. She will soon begin Ph.D. studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where she will also serve as a teaching fellow in the Faculty of Law and be affiliated with the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.

Regina Jefferies
Regina Jefferies

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