Meet The Center’s Tess Feldman

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My work as an immigration attorney is about fighting for, and with, marginalized people, people of color, and indigenous peoples who have survived violence and trafficking. I am very passionate about humanitarian immigration work and want to fight for my clients in court, at detention centers, and before the government agencies. The Center was the right place for me to continue my commitment to this mission and my clients.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we at Legal Services are limiting the number of in-person appointments we have with clients and have replaced walk-in hours for appointments to phone calls. This means that Legal Services has continued to work with many new clients and continues serving the hundreds of people we represent at any time.

It has been so satisfying to know that we did not close our doors or slow down—we continue working with immigrant clients from around the world. We can keep fighting for our clients in court, even though we are trying to keep staff and clients home and safe when possible.

We have gotten creative in how we work with clients to complete legal caseworks efficiently and safely. So many efforts by the Trump administration were direct attacks on immigrants and asylum seekers; the failure to organize a response to the pandemic has been just one more thing we need to learn to work around. And we are fast learners! We have continued filing cases and winning cases even with our operational changes during the pandemic.

Working at the Center has allowed me to meet so many wonderful clients. We work so hard together and prepare difficult and complex cases. When my clients win their cases, it is such a gift for me, too. There is nothing like seeing a client take the witness stand and successfully tell their story, usually after years or months of practice together. Developing my skills and career as a lawyer by working with such wonderful people is a gift in my life.
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Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Year Started Working at Center: 2019

Staff Position: Manager & Staff Attorney, Immigration Law Project, Legal Services Department

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