March 17, 2014
Molly Coe (’14) has been awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship to represent undocumented immigrant students in New York City. Her project will identify students who are eligible for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS), an underutilized pathway to citizenship for young people who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents.
During her EJW fellowship, Coe will represent young people in both steps of the SIJS process: obtaining a special findings order from family court and then filing with U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. She will also develop a pro se guide to encourage the participation of caregivers who are often undocumented themselves.
Working for immigrant rights has been a passion of Coe’s for years. As a native New Yorker, growing up in Brooklyn, Coe says she decided to become a lawyer “to improve access to justice to low-income immigrant communities, particularly where limited English proficiency prevents full participation in judicial processes.”
As a student at CUNY Law, Coe has held a number of internships focused on these issues. She interned for Brooklyn Defender Services’ Immigration Unit, where she worked to mitigate the immigration consequences of criminal charges for non-citizens. She also interned with The Door’s Legal Services Center, where she represented young immigrants in removal (deportation) proceedings, predominantly by applying for SIJS, but also through requests for prosecutorial discretion, deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), and asylum.
During her second year, she participated in CUNY Law’s Economic Justice Project, and during her third year, she participated in the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic (INRC).
Coe’s EJW project will be hosted by Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS), which provides pro bono legal assistance to New York City’s neediest residents. At VOLS, Coe will be supervised by CUNY Law alumna Elizabeta Markuci (’05). The fellowship is co-sponsored by Debevoise & Plimpton LLC and MetLife.