“It’s a difficult time to be practicing immigration law right now,” said Sara Karki, a staff attorney in Austin for the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. “I feel bad for my clients because there are new rules and new changes all the time and that makes things difficult.”
Just recently, the federal government threatened to eliminate fee waivers for low-income immigrants, she said. “It’s a stressful time, and it’s hard to give the clients accurate information because it’s constantly changing,” she said.
Most of Karki’s work involves helping refugees obtain green cards and apply for citizenship. Cases involving children are particularly challenging because many have no birth certificates, she said.
Other cases might include clients renewing their DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) protection. She works with 30 case types and 160 clients. “I really like seeing clients complete their immigration journey and become citizens,” she said. “It’s rewarding to see how proud and happy they are.”
Karki is active in the community, chairing the city’s Human Rights Commission and overseeing the Immigrant Law Center’s Austin Area Minority Business Project and serving, until recently, on the Welcome Center board.
Refugees and immigrants represent nearly 20% of Austin’s population, Karki said. “It’s nice to be in a community that’s supportive of the work the Immigrant Law Center does and which is welcoming to immigrants and refugees,” Karki said.
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2019 here.
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