Garrard Beeney, Recipient of the 2019 Law Firm Leadership Award

Each year, at our Annual Benefit, Sanctuary for Families celebrates individuals who have shown time and again, their commitment to ending gender-based violence. This year we are honoring Garrard R. Beeney, partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, for his tireless efforts and pro bono counsel on behalf of Sanctuary’s clients.

Every year, at our Annual Benefit, Sanctuary for Families honors those who have made significant contributions to the movement to end gender-based violence. This year, we are thrilled to present the 2019 Law Firm Leadership Award to Garrard R. Beeney, partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, for his tireless efforts and pro bono counsel on behalf of Sanctuary’s clients.

INTRODUCING GARRARD

Garrard is co-head of Sullivan & Cromwell’s Intellectual Property and Technology group. He is recognized as a leading lawyer for his counsel to clients on intellectual property, licensing transactions, and litigation matters around the world. He has handled patent and intellectual property matters before the U.S. Supreme Court, the International Trade Commission, the U.S. Patent Trademark Office, and federal district and appellate courts.

Beyond litigation, Garrard’s work includes an outstanding trajectory of public and social service. He served as deputy mayor of Irvington, New York, for over a decade, and has served on the board of several non-profits including Graham Windham, Mercado Global, and ProBono.net.  Garrard regularly represents clients in pro bono litigation, including a recent successful First Amendment trial and matters involving child adoptions in Arkansas and Nebraska in which he successfully argued issues before both State Supreme Courts.

Garrard holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School. He has taught various trial advocacy courses and served as a member of the faculties of the National Trial Skills Program of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and the Cardozo School of Law.

PARTNERING TO END GENDER VIOLENCE

In a recent interview, Garrard spoke to Sanctuary about his pro bono work and overall involvement with the organization. He first learned about Sanctuary through his daughter Carola, a fellow Sanctuary supporter and former Pro Bono Specialist at Simpson Thacher. The two would often discuss strategy for the numerous Sanctuary cases that Carola’s outstanding team was taking on.

Inspired by our clients’ stories of survival, Garrard formally joined Sanctuary’s Legal Advisory Committee in 2016. Since that time, Garrard has become a strong ally in our work to end gender violence by supporting Sanctuary’s legal staff with expert litigation training and by taking on pro bono cases on behalf of Sanctuary clients.

Where does your commitment to Sanctuary’s mission stem from?

A lot of my pro bono activities have included voting rights and LGBTQ+ rights. To me, it’s about trying to help those that the system has neglected and whom others are trying to exploit. Sanctuary’s work certainly aligns with this objective– The organization uplifts the voices of survivors and those who have been left behind.

Another aspect that makes Sanctuary attractive for us, in terms of partnering with a non-profit organization, is that it has an enormous number of talented, passionate staff members and supporters  ̶  it’s the mission, it’s the people who are part of it, and it’s the voices that Sanctuary raises up that make this organization so appealing.

Is there a particular experience, throughout your work with Sanctuary, that has impacted you?

There are a few that really stand out. The first would be when I led a litigation training program for several Sanctuary attorneys. It was an incredibly impressive group of people. Through the course of talking about getting a case to trial, presenting a case to a judge or a jury, and trial strategy, I learned about their particular cases, the issues that they faced, and what they were trying to achieve. It was enormously educational.

I also had the pleasure of working on an appellate brief with some Sanctuary lawyers on a case involving an abused woman’s right to use a record she had created in trying to attain safety from her abusive spouse – something that was denied to her during the divorce proceedings. On another occasion, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Sanctuary in reuniting a sex trafficking survivor with her son, who had been kept in Mexico as retaliation by her trafficker.

These experiences really spoke to me and made me appreciate the organization and its members even more.

What are some of the biggest challenges we collectively face when addressing gender-based violence?

I think one of the biggest challenges is education. I remember reading a U.N. report that found that the most unsafe place for a woman is her home, yet there is still a widespread lack of understanding of the prevalence and impact of domestic violence.

I also think that we don’t provide fair access to the judicial process to those who have not been as fortunate as many of us. We deny survivors the resources they need – resources that are available but not afforded to them without the assistance of organizations like Sanctuary for Families.

We have to raise awareness in our communities about the effects of gender violence and the resources available to survivors. We also have to raise awareness about how individuals can take action and support organizations like Sanctuary for Families, whether that be through volunteering, providing pro bono services, or by making financial contributions We must all speak up when it comes to these issues.

The theme for this year’s Annual Benefit is #WeAreSanctuary. What does being a part of Sanctuary mean to you?

I think of #WeAreSanctuary in terms of belonging to a community that strives to improve the broader communities of which it is part. Through its work, Sanctuary goes beyond helping survivors – it makes our Sanctuary city better, and many New Yorkers prouder.

In a sense, we are all Sanctuary – not only clients, staff, and board members – because Sanctuary addresses one of the most basic forms of evil that affects all of us. Whether or not we are directly impacted by it, I think we all ought to live in a world free from all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination.

To purchase tickets to our 2019 Annual Benefit, click here.

DHS plan to deputize border agents to handle Credible Fear Interviews will harm refugees

Tasking Border Patrol agents with conducting credible fear interviews is a clear effort to fast-track the removal of vulnerable asylum seekers.

Lori Adams is the Director of the Immigration Intervention Project at Sanctuary for Families.

The recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security decision, reported by President of the National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd, to task Border Patrol agents with conducting credible fear interviews is a clear effort to fast-track the removal of vulnerable asylum seekers, many of whom are gender violence survivors, from the U.S.

Sanctuary for Families serves individuals and families who have suffered gender-based harm to find safety and rebuild their lives. Our refugee clients, including women who have survived gender-based violence in their homes and in their communities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who have suffered violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have a right to seek asylum and to have a trained officer evaluate their claims.

These claims require an understanding of the country conditions that provide the context for that suffering, the failure of state protection for women and others in those countries, and an understanding of the evolving laws and policies impacting gender-based asylum cases. Credible fear interviews are the first step in the U.S. asylum process.  They are a matter of life and death.  And they should only be conducted by asylum officers who have received the training and have the time to recognize a refugee when they see one.

Section 235 of the Immigration and Nationality Act requires this. The “professional training in country conditions, asylum law, and interview techniques” that asylum officers receive is not provided to Border Patrol officers whose role is to monitor the border for weapons, drugs, and other threats to U.S. security. DHS should not divert the attention of Border Patrol agents away from their intended duties, and should not ask them to take on responsibilities that they were not hired or trained to do. That will almost certainly lead to failure to properly identify refugees at the border, and will increase the burden on the U.S. immigration courts to reconsider improperly denied applicants.

Instead, the U.S. should fund the creation of additional positions within the Asylum Division and ensure that the new asylum officers receive the requisite training in country conditions, asylum law, and interviewing techniques to properly evaluate the asylum claims of vulnerable refugees who fled to this country to seek protection.

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants and was founded as a safe haven for those who escaped persecution in their countries of origin. Not only are we bound by international law and our own domestic asylum laws to protect refugees who cross our borders, but providing that safety and protection is also inextricably bound to the ideals upon which this nation was founded.

The pilot program is reportedly scheduled to begin two weeks from now. Sanctuary for Families urges DHS to cancel this pilot program and leave the responsibility of conducting sensitive credible fear interviews with the asylum officers who are trained to conduct them.

To speak with Lori Adams, Director of the Immigration Intervention Project at Sanctuary for Families, contact LAK Public Relations.

On International Agunah Day, Sanctuary Stands with Jewish Orthodox Survivors

Learn about the plight of “chained women” and how you can support our work within the Jewish Orthodox Community.

On the eve of Purim, the Jewish Orthodox community observes Ta’anit Esther to commemorate the plea of Queen Esther – a Jewish woman who saved her people during their exile in the Persian Empire. Like many Jewish women today, Esther was trapped in a forced marriage to the king of Persia and spent years fearing her husband might kill her.

Today, Sanctuary joins advocates around the world to observe the International Day of the Agunah – a day marked yearly on the Fast of Esther to bring awareness to the plight of the modern-day agunah, or “chained woman” – and stands in solidarity with Jewish Orthodox women in New York and across the world who have suffered from get-refusal and are trapped in unwanted marriages.

According to Jewish law, a marriage can only be dissolved once the husband voluntarily grants a get, or religious divorce, to his wife – something many men refuse to do out of malice or to use as leverage when negotiating financial settlements and custody arrangements. Get-refusal is thus a form of domestic violence by which the husband asserts power and control to deny his wife the opportunity to separate and move on with her life. Orthodox Jewish women in these situations are called agunot, or chained women, for they are not allowed to remarry. For agunot, any new relationship they have is considered adultery, and their children will be considered illegitimate if conceived outside of marriage.

At Sanctuary, we recognize get-refusal as a form of gender violence that harms women, their children, and the wider Jewish Orthodox Community. In 2015, seeing that many women seeking help with civil and religious divorces had virtually nowhere to turn for help, we launched the Jewish Orthodox Matrimonial Project. In the years since, we have provided clinical and legal services, shelter, and economic empowerment to hundreds of Jewish Orthodox women and their children. Furthermore, we have actively engaged with rabbis, community leaders, and peer organizations, to build a network of advocates committed to raising awareness about domestic violence within the Jewish Orthodox community and protecting the rights and wellbeing of survivors.

Please consider demonstrating your solidarity this International Agunah Day by donating to Sanctuary’s Jewish Orthodox Matrimonial Project.

Get to know our Immigration Intervention Project staff

Find out what drew our Immigration Intervention Project staff to Sanctuary and what about their work inspires them.

Working in immigration these days is not easy. Adapting to the rapidly changing policies amidst a constant stream of charged anti-immigrant rhetoric from the White House, and seeing the impacts of both on families here in New York is often as exhausting as it is upsetting.

Our Immigration Intervention Project team, made up of 19 attorneys, case managers, specialists, and project assistants, are committed to helping immigrant gender violence survivors secure and maintain lawful immigration status and obtain U.S. citizenship. Working with partner agencies and city officials, our immigration team strives to support New York’s immigrant communities and empower undocumented survivors of gender violence to build safe and happy lives here in the City.

Get to know a few of our team and find out why they do the hard but important work that they do. 

Sheeba

Staff Attorney, Bronx Family Justice Center

Languages other than English: Tamil and Spanish.

What drew her to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project: The holistic support that Sanctuary’s immigration clients receive — legal assistance in other areas, counseling, economic empowerment, case management, etc.

One thing in her work at Sanctuary and life in New York that gives her hope as our country’s leadership continues demonize immigrants and target immigrant communities: I’m a child of immigrants who grew up in New York City, so helping other immigrants obtain status and unite their families is a great way to pay it forward.

Anne Cécile

Immigration Specialist, Manhattan Family Justice Center

Languages other than English: French, German, Chinese, and basic Spanish.

What drew her to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project: I try hard never to believe in borders.

One thing in her work at Sanctuary and life in New York that gives her hope as our country’s leadership continues demonize immigrants and target immigrant communities: The resilience and strength of survivors, even in these dull times, never ceases to amaze me.

Pooja

Deputy Director, Manhattan Office

Languages other than English: French

What drew her to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project: The people. 

One thing in her work at Sanctuary and life in New York that gives her hope as our country’s leadership continues demonize immigrants and target immigrant communities: Our clients’ resilience. 

Ines

Staff Attorney, Manhattan Office

Languages other than English: French and Spanish.

What drew her to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project: My passion for representing vulnerable immigrants in removal proceedings. Legal representation is more than essential to navigate the U.S. immigration court system and win a case. All immigrants facing deportation should be given a fair hearing.

One thing in her work at Sanctuary and life in New York that gives her hope as our country’s leadership continues demonize immigrants and target immigrant communities: The courage, strength, and resolve of our clients give me hope. They don’t give up so neither should we.

Natali

Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow, Manhattan Office

Languages other than English: Spanish.

What drew her to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project: Immigrant women are among the most vulnerable groups of immigrants. On top of the forms of domestic violence survivors face, immigrant women face extra barriers to peace and justice, including fear of police and the judicial system, fear of deportation, inadequate shelter and other social services, language and cultural barriers, and lack of access to information about the legal system. When I first found out about Sanctuary’s Immigration Intervention Project, I was immediately drawn to its mission to breaking down these barriers for immigrant survivors.

One thing in her work at Sanctuary and life in New York that gives her hope as our country’s leadership continues demonize immigrants and target immigrant communities: Our clients! They have gone through unspeakable violence and systematic barriers and still continue to contribute to the United States. The first thing the majority of my clients ask me is how and when they can pay taxes because they want to give back to their new home. Immigrants are not a “drain” on our resources they are the fuel that keeps this nation running. Their strength and hope gives me hope. (sorry cheesy, but it’s so true)

Tayyaba

Senior Staff Attorney, Manhattan Office

Languages other than English: Spanish, Urdu, and Hindi.

What drew her to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project: I was drawn to the opportunity to work with immigrant survivors from across the world and empower them with the knowledge of their rights and remedies, as well as being able to assist them in their immigration needs.

One thing in her work at Sanctuary and life in New York that gives her hope as our country’s leadership continues demonize immigrants and target immigrant communities: It gives me hope to see New Yorkers and Sanctuary staff outside of the Immigration Intervention Project taking such an interest and becoming so active in supporting immigrants’ rights. It was great seeing how how recent trip to the border generated so much interest among staff.

Vanessa

Project Assistant, Manhattan Office

Languages other than English: Spanish.

What drew her to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project:My family and I are immigrants from Mexico. I was helped by a non-profit to adjust my status and without them I do not think I would have been able to cover the fees, let alone apply to adjust my status. With the current political climate that we are in and the attacks on immigrant communities, I felt called to support immigrants and wanted to work in a non-profit as a way to give back and help.

One thing in her work at Sanctuary and life in New York that gives her hope as our country’s leadership continues demonize immigrants and target immigrant communities: That all the colleagues I work with are as passionate as I am about the work that we do. That we care deeply for all immigrant communities and we want to provide high quality work for our clients because they deserve it. We all know the importance of immigrants to this country and to this city, so being around people who share that same value is so important to me.

Gaby

Case Manager, Manhattan Office

Languages other than English: Spanish.

What drew her to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project: I want to one day be an immigration attorney.

One thing in her work at Sanctuary and life in New York that gives her hope as our country’s leadership continues demonize immigrants and target immigrant communities: Sanctuary provides so many resources to those who feel they have nothing or no where to turn.

Ana

Senior Staff Attorney

Languages other than English: Bosnian.

What drew her to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project: To help clients win their cases despite the current administration’s hostile, anti-immigrant policies.

One thing in her work at Sanctuary and life in New York that gives her hope as our country’s leadership continues demonize immigrants and target immigrant communities: That we still rise.