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Elaina Vermeulen

United States  
Centro Legal de la Raza
Joined May 2020
Interests: Citizenship, Criminal Justice, Gender-based violence
I presently work as a paralegal on the Ending Immigrant Detention team at Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, CA. I work with detained immigrants in complex removal proceeding in the San Francisco and Northern LA Immigration Court jurisdictions. I previously co-coordinated the Post Release Accompaniment Project to secure the release of eligible, detained immigrants on bond and parole. The main scope of my work is focused on representing LGBTQI + individuals with past criminal convictions, incarcerated in ICE and Federal BOP custody, in their removal proceedings. I am a founding member and co-coordinator of the Bay Area Asylum Support Coalition (BAASC), which connects unrepresented individuals in non-detained removal proceedings with legal support, organizing training and wraparound services. I am also a founder and co-leader of VisibiliT, a Bay-Area grassroots organization that works to connect and empower transgender and gender non-conforming immigrants being released from criminal and ICE custody.
Prior to my time at Centro, I was the Transgender Detention Release Specialist for the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, where I organized advocacy groups, service providers and community members nationally to create networks of support and sponsorship for transgender asylum seekers. Within this role, Elaina was responsible for directing on-the-ground legal accompaniment and services for the LGBTQIA+ exodus. By joining this network, I hope to learn more about the work being done at intersection between immigration and criminal carceral systems. Additionally, I hope to be able to connect with individuals doing powerful movement work to abolish systems of oppression through the practice of law.

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