October 2010 Volunteer Feature: Jane Hopwood, Hunton & Williams LLP
The City Bar Justice Center recognizes Jane Hopwood, an associate at Hunton & Williams LLP, for her commitment to serving some of New York's most vulnerable through the Immigrant Women and Children Project (IWC).
The Immigrant Women and Children Project assists survivors of gender-related violent crimes, including domestic violence and human trafficking, in regularizing their immigration status through Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions and applications for the U Visa and the T Visa. These matters are complex, lengthy, and require great sensitivity when interacting with clients. Ms. Hopwood has been a model volunteer ever since she began working with IWC in 2007.
After Ms. X's* eight-year-old son was kidnapped and held for ransom outside of the country, Ms. X worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to locate and retrieve him and to arrest the kidnapper. Ms. Hopwood took on Ms. X's case in 2008 and helped her and her children file applications for work permits and for the U Visa so that the family could continue to live and work legally in the United States. In 2010, Ms. X and her children became eligible to file for permanent residency and Ms. Hopwood worked with them to prepare these applications as well. With her help, Ms. X and her children received their green cards in the spring of 2010.
Ms. Y, an Argentine immigrant who is a survivor of domestic violence at the hands of her U.S. citizen husband, has Ms. Hopwood to thank for aiding in the removal of the conditions on her green card in 2009. Now that she has unconditional permanent residency, Ms. Y is no longer afraid that her abusive ex-husband will be able to take their young daughter away from her.
Ms. Hopwood is currently working with Ms. Z, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, after Ms. Z fled her abusive marriage to a U.S. citizen. Thanks to the applications Ms. Hopwood prepared, Ms. Z is able to work legally and support her children, one of whom has special needs, while she waits for her self-petition to be approved. Once she becomes a permanent resident, she will be able to bring her children to the U.S. so that the family can be reunited after being apart for more than five years.
Jane Hopwood has changed the lives of these and other clients and their families by helping them to remain in the United States lawfully and therefore to begin healing physically and emotionally. IWC depends on volunteers such as Ms. Hopwood and we deeply appreciate Ms. Hopwood's time and commitment.
*All names have been changed to protect the individuals' privacy.