Rage M. Kidvai (’14) has been awarded a two-year Equal Justice Works (EJW) fellowship, starting in September, to work at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), providing legal representation on asylum applications for low-income transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGNCI) immigrants.
Kidvai pursued the EJW fellowship to address the “huge gap in providing asylum and deportation defense services to TGNCI people with criminal records.” This is especially important “where transgender and gender non-conforming folks of color and immigrants are disproportionately poor, policed, and incarcerated.”
Prior to law school, Kidvai represented survivors of interpersonal violence and trafficking on cases regarding public assistance, food stamps, Medicaid, and housing, and decided to pursue a law degree to be “better able to listen and serve” those facing transphobia, homophobia, racism and xenophobia in the forms of state violence caused by criminalization, incarceration and deportation.
During the EJW fellowship, Kidvai will file asylum, withholding of removal, U-Visa, T-Visa, naturalization (citizenship), adjustment of status and employment authorization applications on behalf of clients, and will also provide legal assistance to the Prisoner Rights and Survival and Self-determination Projects at SRLP, assisting clients with public benefits and name change applications.
While at CUNY Law, Kidvai participated in the Criminal Defense clinic, and interned with SRLP, Brooklyn Defender Services Family Defense Practice, Orleans Public Defenders (through the CUNY Law Mississippi Project), Brooklyn Defender Services Criminal Defense Practice, and The Bronx Defenders.