Immigration Lawyer Ava Benach to Be Honored for Providing Mentorship in Asylum Cases and Representation of Transgender Immigrant Women

April 9, 2019

WASHINGTON—The American Immigration Council will honor immigration lawyer Ava Benach with its Stephen K. Fischel Distinguished Public Service Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations who exhibit an outstanding commitment and dedication to America’s heritage as a nation of immigrants and to the struggle for fair and humane immigration policies in the United States.

The award will be presented at the D.C. Immigrant Achievement Awards Reception on April 11 at the The Capitol View at 400 during the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) National Day of Action in Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled that this year we will celebrate the Immigration Justice Campaign—our joint initiative with American Immigration Lawyers Association to fight for a fair day in court for detained immigrants—and our partners who make the Campaign a success. Ava Benach is one of those partners. She is a fearless lawyer who has generously shared her experience and expertise with volunteers representing detained asylum seekers. Most recently, she has stepped up to provide mentorship in urgent cases on behalf of transgender women detained in Texas,” said Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council.

Benach has taken a lead role in representing transgender asylum seekers before the asylum office and the immigration courts. She has pioneered an innovative collaboration with Whitman Walker Health to provide quality representation to transgender immigrants while training the next generation of lawyers in representing LGBT immigrants.

“I am thrilled that the American Immigration Council has poured such resources into securing quality legal representation for some of the most vulnerable immigrants. Transgender immigrants are fleeing some of the most horrific violence imaginable and are detained in harsh conditions when they request asylum in the United States. I am encouraged by the commitment of the Council and the volunteer lawyers I mentor in knowing that these immigrants will receive outstanding representation and I urge all experienced immigration lawyers to sign up as mentors,” said Ava Benach, founding partner of Benach Collopy.

Benach has represented clients in immigration courts across the country, litigating cutting edge asylum issues and a broad range of other complex deporation issues. Benach also brings actions in federal court to challenge unreasonable or delayed government decisionmaking and to ensure that her clients’ rights are protected.

The Council has recognized the achievements of many outstanding immigrants and their advocates. Past honorees include General Colin Powell, Senator Daniel Inouye, the Southern Poverty Law Center, TheDream.Us, and Gerda Weissman Klein.


For more information, contact:

Maria Frausto, American Immigration Council, at [email protected] or 202-507-7526.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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