The 2012 honoree for the Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law is Michelle Brané.
Michelle Brané is one of the nation's foremost experts on U.S. immigration detention and reform. As the Director of the Detention and Asylum program at the Women's Refugee Commission, Michelle Brané advocates for the critical protection needs of immigrant women, children and other vulnerable migrant populations in the United States. In addition to frequently writing on key issues concerning immigration detention and reform, she authored the 2007 Women's Refugee Commission landmark report on family detention, Locking Up Family Values and the 2009 report on unaccompanied migrant children, Halfway Home, and is the senior editor of all the Detention and Asylum Program's reports.
Ms. Brané has more than 25 years of experience working on immigration and human rights issues. As an attorney advisor with the Department of Justice Board of Immigration Appeals, she specialized in asylum cases and assisted in developing relevant regulations and training programs for new staff. In her service as a labor negotiator at the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), she represented Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents among her clients. While at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, she developed and coordinated the Detained Torture Survivor Legal Support Network, the Legal Orientation Program and was the Director of the Access to Justice Unit. She has also worked internationally with human rights organizations in India and as a Human Rights Officer with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Bosnia, where she also served as the Head of the Sarajevo Field Office .
In her current capacity, Ms. Brané has testified before Congress, and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, appears frequently in national and local print and broadcast outlets, and presents regularly as an expert at various conferences, briefings, and professional trainings, including presentations before the Human Rights Counsel and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva. In 2011, she was named as one of Women's eNews' "21 Leaders for the 21st Century."
Ms. Brané holds a B.A from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from Georgetown University and is a member of the New York bar.
The award presentation and reception will be held Wednesday, June 13, 2012, at 7 p.m. at the AILA National Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., in Presidential Boardroom A on the Presidential Mezzanine of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conference Center.
A member of the Editorial Board of Bender's Immigration Bulletin, Daniel Levy died at the age of 48 on
Sept. 14, 2001, in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. Mr. Levy was a prolific author, litigator, and
scholar, and was widely known and loved by many in the immigration bar. With this annual award Matthew Bender
seeks to honor an individual who emulates the values that informed Mr. Levy's life and work:
- enthusiastic advocacy on behalf of immigrant clients;
- deep scholarship in immigration law; and
- an expansive vision of justice.
Prior honorees were Ann Benson (2005), Lisa Brodyaga (2003), Jayne Fleming (2009), Javier Maldonado (2006), Nancy Morawetz (2007), Christopher Nugent (2004), Michael J. Ortiz (2011), Brent Renision (2010), Philip Schrag (2008) and Charles Wheeler (2002).
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