Featured Stories2022-04-13T14:24:17-07:00

Featured Stories

Meet the 2021 Special Recognition Awardees!

This year, we bestow fourteen Special Recognition awards to exceptional interpreters, translators, law clerks, paralegals, and community volunteers who embody the spirit of Casa Cornelia by assisting our clients and furthering our impact with compassion, dedication and perseverance. The Law Center relies on the generosity of volunteer interpreters and translators (VITs) to bridge the language [...]

Meet the 2021 Pro Bono Publicos!

This year, we bestow twelve Pro Bono Publico awards to exceptional attorneys who embody the spirit of Casa Cornelia by representing our clients with compassion, dedication and perseverance. In 2020, the effects of the pandemic and immigration policy restrictions impacted Casa Cornelia’s programs and the clients we serve. However, these challenges did not impede the active [...]

Religious Freedom for Hashem

Hashem* was born in the 70’s in Iran to an extremely conservative Muslim family. Although it was all he knew growing up, there were many aspects of his family’s religious practices and beliefs that made Hashem uncomfortable. Some of the rituals included self-harm, polygamy, and public executions by stoning. As an Islamic state, Iran’s citizens [...]

Marcel’s Story: Trapped in the Middle of the Cameroonian Conflict

Marcel* was born directly into the conflict between the English and French-Speaking regions of Cameroon. With an absent father, Marcel grew up with title of his mother’s Anglophone culture - he attended school in English and adopted Christian practices. But disputes with his father’s family over his up-bringing resulted in Marcel moving to a Francophone [...]

Gratitude and COVID-19 Updates From Casa Cornelia by Carmen Chavez, Executive Director

Dear Friend, In these difficult times, I hope you and your family are staying safe.      Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Casa Cornelia’s dedicated lawyers, legal assistants, volunteer attorneys, interpreters and translators continue to meet the needs of vulnerable children, families, and asylum seekers in need of pro bono legal counsel.    With the fear and stress [...]

Paulo’s Story: Finding Freedom Through Asylum

Growing up in Brazil, Paulo* was taught conservative Christian values by his family. From a young age, they instilled in him that being gay was wrong. But despite these beliefs, he could not deny his feelings towards boys throughout childhood. This conflict within was very difficult for Paulo’s mental and emotional health. The trauma was [...]

Patrick’s Journey from Grief to Hope

Patrick* grew up in a small village on the outskirts of a city in Cameroon. He was introduced to political advocacy at a young age through his father’s involvement in the Anglophones’ (English-speaking individuals) peaceful separatist movement. While he gained an understanding of his part in this movement, he was also able to follow his passion and earn a certificate in theatre, [...]

Lawyers Who Love Access to Justice: Pillsbury Lands in First Place!​

Between March 11-22, 2019, San Diego law firms came together to raise necessary funds to provide access to justice for immigrant victims of human and civil rights violations. Participating firms raised $21,692, exceeding the campaign goal of $20,000, and enabled Casa Cornelia to increase life-changing free legal services to vulnerable members of our San Diego [...]

Diogo and Antonio: Escaping LGBTQ Persecution, Asylum Granted

Diogo and Antonio were recently granted asylum in the U.S. They escaped persecution based on their membership in the LGBTQ community and HIV positive status. After ongoing harassment and increased violent and fatal attacks on gay, transgender, and lesbian individuals in their country of origin, they traveled to the U.S. and applied for a humanitarian protection. ​ Living in [...]

25th Anniversary & 2018 La Mancha Awards

On ​​​​October 20, 2018, Casa Cornelia Law Center celebrated its 25th Anniversary at the 2018 La Mancha Awards, commemorating over 10,000 children, women and men who were granted humanitarian protections through pro bono legal services and representation. With your support we raised over $350,000 in event sponsorships, donations and tickets, which help us further our [...]

A Tale of Two Refugees

A Reflection by Volunteer Attorney and Board Member Nancy Aeling, Esq. Of the thousands upon thousands of words I read, heard and studied in Law School, one sentence by a professor stands out: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” (Luke 12:48.) My work as a Volunteer Attorney at Casa [...]

Grateful for Our New Friends

It is truly difficult to summarize the outpouring of support that Casa Cornelia’s clients received from community members this summer - across San Diego, across California, and even across the country. As news of the family separation crisis broke, our phones began ringing… and they kept ringing. I had the honor of working with incredible [...]

VIT Program: Bridging the Language Gap

Quality representation begins by hearing the client’s story in their own words--in their own language. This is where Volunteer Interpreters and Translators (VITs) make Casa Cornelia’s mission a reality: by making the client-attorney communication possible. VITs go through a comprehensive training consisting of ethical and technical elements to set up the clients (and our volunteers) [...]

San Diego Rapid Response Network: Responding to Aggressive Deportation Tactics in the Community

As a response to the current Administration’s aggressive deportation tactics, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of San Diego and Imperial Counties launched the San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN)–an interconnected system of organizations and individuals working together to respond to dehumanizing immigration enforcement activities, including checkpoints, raids, and arrests in the County. Casa Cornelia is [...]

Meet Patricia Ramirez, MSW, ​Casa Cornelia’s Support Services Coordinator

Expanding our network to support our clients’ growth, social services and basic needs. Throughout the course of a legal case, Casa Cornelia’s clients often experience the need for basic human and social services such as housing, nourishment, access to healthcare, and education for themselves and their families. These unmet needs often become barriers to the [...]


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