Photography by Bill Cameron. Scott Smith has over 40 years of experience as a trial lawyer. In 2016, Scott joined The Advocates as a volunteer attorney and began representing clients by doing what he knows best: telling their stories. Over the years, Scott has given a voice to immigration detainees and labor trafficking victims by telling their stories and helping them navigate the complex U.S. immigration system. He works alongside interpreters, court observers, social service workers, and others to secure justice and freedom for The Advocates’ clients. Scott shared … Continue reading Scott Smith: 2021 Volunteer Award Recipient
Photography by Bill Cameron. They say family is everything and Robin Phillips’ family is a case in point. Not only has Robin, the Executive Director and fearless leader of The Advocates, been able to engage volunteers throughout the world in the efforts of The Advocates, she has also engaged her family members who have now become some of the organization’s most loyal, dedicated, and long-standing volunteers. Robin’s mother Dotty Bieurance and Robin’s sister Rhonda Phillips have been volunteering for The Advocates for twenty-six years. When … Continue reading The Family at the Backbone of The Advocates: Celebrating Twenty-Six Years of Volunteering
Photography by Bill Cameron. At the Fort Snelling Immigration Court, hearings are open to the public. However, few people attend these hearings to observe the realities immigrants face under our immigration and justice system. The volunteer Immigration Court Observers of The Advocates for Human Rights are changing that. They monitor the proceedings and collect priceless … Continue reading The Immigration Court Observers Leaders Team: A 2021 Volunteer Award Recipient
Photography by Bill Cameron. Carrie Brasser, a Minneapolis-based lawyer, is an inspiring volunteer for The Advocates for Human Rights who helps to make the organization’s work possible. Brasser began volunteering for The Advocates in 2018 and has been an enthusiastic volunteer since. Over the past three years, Brasser has participated in several projects for The Advocates, including representing clients in several asylum and immigration cases, traveling to Geneva as a member of the 2019 United Nations Study-Advocacy team, and participating in remote international advocacy in 2020 to brief members of … Continue reading Celebrating Carrie Brasser: A 2021 Volunteer Award Recipient
In the winter of 2004, Patrick Finnegan’s first-time volunteering with The Advocates as an interpreter was off to a rough start. “I managed to get myself into a fender bender on the way there,” Patrick remembers. “Worse, it was my error… The lawyer almost had to call for another interpreter.” Thankfully, he made it. The … Continue reading Once an Advocate, Always an Advocate: Patrick Finnegan
In a room full of refugees and asylum seekers, Blaise Masinga is reminded of the time when he was in their shoes. He had fled from South Africa to Minnesota, leaving behind his wife and two children. Pain, trauma, and uncertainty are still on the forefront of his mind when he thinks about that time. Similar to the journeys of many other asylum seekers, Blaise’s path to safety and reunification with his family was long, unpredictable, anxiety-filled, and lonesome.