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Morgan Lewis Establishes Military Immigration Fellowship

July 11, 2023 (2 min read)

Morgan Lewis, July 10, 2023

"Morgan Lewis is funding a two-year, full-time legal fellowship with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (Council) to help guide hundreds of noncitizen soldiers and veterans through the naturalization process. The funding is a further salute to the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) soldiers and veterans on behalf of whom Morgan Lewis secured the right to lawful US citizenship through litigation against the US government.

The noncitizen US Army soldiers and veterans who will be counseled through the fellowship were members of three federal class actions Morgan Lewis led against the US Department of Defense, US Army, and US Citizenship & Immigration Services following their delay and denial of citizenship promised to the MAVNI enlistees in exchange for the vital language or medical skills they brought to the country’s armed forces. With more than 15,000 hours of pro bono counsel dedicated to these class actions, the firm’s successful representation of thousands of MAVNI program members has already resulted in key government policy changes and the naturalization of more than 2,000 class members. Now, through this fellowship, the firm builds in further assurance that the remaining class members will face no further obstacles on their path to naturalization.

“We are honored to continue to serve these US soldiers and veterans through the establishment of the Morgan Lewis Military Immigration Fellowship and to see that the promise of citizenship provided in exchange for their loyalty to the United States is fulfilled,” said Firm Chair Jami McKeon.

Joanna Kloet will serve as the immigration fellow. Joanna was chosen to fulfill the fellowship based on her years of practicing immigration law, including in private practice, as an attorney advisor for the Executive Office for Immigration Review in the Tenth Circuit, and as a supervising attorney in the immigration law clinic at Michigan State University College of Law. Joanna graduated summa *** laude from Michigan State University College of Law as a King Scholar.

“AILA’s Military Assistance Program (MAP) has long assisted military service members and their loved ones in navigating our complex labyrinth of immigration laws. With AILA member and retired Lieutenant Colonel Margaret Stock’s leadership and experience, MAP has assisted more than 3,500 service members since the program began in 2007. Morgan Lewis’s generosity in creating the Military Immigration Fellowship and Margaret Stock’s vital mentorship will allow AILA and the Council to expand legal support to those who bravely serve our country,” said AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson.

Joanna will work with AILA and AIC in partnership with Margaret Stock, a leader in military immigration law who created the MAVNI program while serving in the Army and later served as an invaluable resource to our MAVNI litigation team, to advise class members as they navigate the naturalization process. The support is expected to include assistance with completing and submitting applications, preparing class members for naturalization interviews, and representing them during the interviews. Additionally, Joanna will provide support to service members and recent veterans seeking assistance through AILA’s Military Assistance Program and with other immigration-related litigation efforts."