CCLC logo 25 yrs 5

Spring Newsletter


Casa Cornelia Celebrates its 25th Anniversary at the
annual La Mancha Awards


The ceremony will feature awards for Distinguished Pro Bono Attorney of the Year and Jubilee Law Firms, and highlight 2018 Pro Bono Publico Award winners. We will also have a reception featuring live music and hor d'oeuvres for approximately 600 friends, colleagues and supporters. 

Keynote Speaker: Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer-Prize award winning journalist and Op-Ed Columnist for The New York Times, has over two decades of experience reporting on human rights violations and social injustices around the world, including Sudan, Darfur, Israel-Palestine, Libya and Iraq.

After joining The New York Times in 1984, Kristof served as correspondent in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo. In 1990 Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, then also a NYT journalist, became the first husband-wife team to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Kristof won his second Pulitzer in 2006... Read more.


Kristof Times     Nicholas Kristof, Journalist & Columnist for The New York Times. Photo by Ramin Talaie / EPA


View Sponsorship Opportunities * Reserve your Tickets

We look forward to celebrating with you!



2017 Snapshot: The Impact of Our Work
Through our legal advice, representation, support and referrals, 2,441 vulnerable immigrants received timely and quality attention in 2017:
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The legal work of Casa Cornelia cannot exist without the assistance of Volunteer Attorneys (VAs) and competent volunteer interpreters and translators (VITs). Our Pro Bono Program recruits, trains, assigns cases, mentors, and supervises VAs from the private bar. In 2017, over 400 individuals received assistance from VAs. The full time equivalency of their donated time was six full time attorneys. Similarly, the program recruits, trains and mentors VITs to assist our clients, including clients who speak indigenous languages. Altogether, contributions from 19,824 volunteers were valued at over $522,469.

San Diego Rapid Response Network:
Responding to Aggressive Deportation Tactics in the Community
Casa Cornelia is one of the various service providers of the San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) offering screenings and free legal services to people identified through and referred by the network. On April 24, 2018, I interviewed Elizabeth Camarena, Associate Director of Casa Cornelia, to ask for her thoughts in this time of crisis.
How does SDRRN run such a complex operation?SDRRN 2
Our partners have a deep understanding of the community needs, and rely on one full-time staff member at ACLU and a large network of volunteers. Some of them work on the hotline, others provide legal and non-legal services and resources. The SDRRN has committed volunteers that advocate for rights and fair processes for our neighbors. The SDRRN community also has creative individuals that develop flyers, software, and other resources to keep everyone interconnected.

What is different in today's immigration policy?
It is important to understand that immigration law has not changed. However, this federal administration is implementing different enforcement policies from the previous administration. This translates to heightened internal enforcement, higher number of detained persons throughout the deportation process... Read more.


Client Stories: Successful Asylum & Petitions Granted
Marcelo's Asylum: Granted
adolescence-adolescent-adult-60778Marcelo*, a 19-year-old young man from a Central American country, fled to the U.S. after facing threats from MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs, domestic violence and sexual abuse. He traveled by foot, hitchhiked, took several buses and rode on the train also known as “La Bestia”. Although he met some people along the way, he mostly traveled alone, relying on the generosity of others for food and water.
Once Marcelo reached San Diego, Casa Cornelia’s Children Program offered representation. The team, formed by three Volunteer Attorneys, took the case and determined that Marcelo was eligible for protection under our immigration laws. Recently, Marcelo was granted protection. None of this would have been possible without Nathan Kiyam, Jennifer Cumming and Brooke Killian Kim from DLA Piper US LLP who donated their skills, time and energy to provide Marcelo with such a fortunate outcome. Thank you so much for your support!
Francesca Finds Asylum, Support and New Beginnings 
back-backlit-clouds-804697Francesca* is a young trans-woman from a Central American country who encountered violence in her country for many years due to her sexual identity. While looking for safety, she dealt with violent gangs, paying them an extorsion fee that allowed her to have a place to live. However, she continued to encounter threats along the way, even suffering a physical aggression from an employer who tried to involve her in the world of drugs and extortion. After surviving a serious physical attack, Francesca fled to the U.S. looking for safety. Once in the U.S., she was detained in a facility for almost a year.
Casa Cornelia took Francesca’s case with the support of volunteer attorneys Chris Byrd and Peter Kang from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. After much back and forth with attorneys, interpreters and the immigration system, Francesca won her case and was released from detention. In addition to representing her, Casa Cornelia also provided support services, connecting Francesca with temporary housing, access to food and healthcare. Thank you, Chris and Peter for your commitment and support of our clients!
*Names have been changed to protect clients’ identities.

Volunteer Interpreters & Translators (VIT)
Appreciation Event
On April 19, Casa Cornelia hosted an appreciation event for the Volunteer Interpreters and Translators (VITs) who supported us in 2017. Through their commitment & dedication in bridging the language gap, Casa Cornelia was able to respond to 2,441 victimized children, women and men who spoke over 50 languages from around the world.

Quality representation begins by hearing the client’s story in their own words--in their own language. This is where VITs make our mission a reality--by making genuine client-attorney communication possible. This event was a small token of our deep appreciation. Thank you VITs for your commitment and support. We love our VITs!
  VIT Cake  
 VIT ana 

VIT Gathering 2
  See more photos on our Facebook page!  

Attorneys Who Care: We Met Our Goal!
We are excited to share that the annual Attorneys Who Care campaign was a success! Thanks to the San Diego legal community, we met our goal and raised a total of $15,208! 

Our Volunteer Attorneys hosted fundraising activities at their firms, encouraging online donations among their peers. We are very grateful! The winners of this friendly competition were...

In First Place:

JonesDay_AWC 2

Jones Day Partner, John Kinton, with Casa Cornelia's Pro Bono Program Director, Katherine Paculba Lacher
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First Runner-Up:


Casa Cornelia's Katherine Paculba Lacher with Victoria Hester and Rebecca Chaparro at
Best Best & Krieger LLP

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We are grateful to all of the firms who participated. Thank you for supporting access to justice for our clients!


Welcoming Casa Cornelia's New Legal Staff       
fernando cropped Annie Gorden
Fernando Santos, Esq. is the most recent addition to Casa Cornelia’s Legal Team. Inspired by civil rights leaders like Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr. and by his mother, who emigrated from Brazil when he was a young boy, Fernando started his law career wanting to protect people’s civil, human and constitutional rights. Originally from Bella Horizonte, Brazil, and raised in Cape Cod, MA, Fernando holds dear the values of freedom, diversity and equality. As Staff Attorney, Fernando recently won his first litigation case for an asylum seeker from Cameroon at the United States Immigration Court in San Diego, CA. Welcome, Fernando! Annie Gorden, MA recently joined Casa Cornelia as Litigation Legal Assistant. After traveling the world with her family, Annie witnessed the direct and permanent impact of U.S. international policy on people’s lives. Determined to help make a positive change, Annie pursued higher education that would help her obtain practical tools for peace and conflict resolution. Originally from Redlands, CA, Annie plans to attend law school in the future, continuing with her life goals. She is currently preparing for the LSATs. Good luck, Annie!

Our Collective Strength: Together We Can and Will Continue
with our Mission
Your donations are transformational.
Thank you2 2With your contributions, you are funding free legal services for survivors of domestic violence, asylum seekers suffering from socio-political persecution, and children held at detention facilities.
Donate today and bring hope, dignity, and opportunity to vulnerable communities in need.
For questions about making an outright gift or a planned gift to Casa Cornelia, contact Courtney Brown, Director of Philanthropy at 619-231-7788 Ext. 324 or

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Iconography Credits
“Baby” icon by Simon Sim from the Noun Project.
“Refugee” icon by Gan Khoon Lay from the Noun Project.
“Abuse” icon by Luis Prado from the Noun Project.
“Team” icon by b farias from the Noun Project.

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Suite 200
San Diego, California 92103

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