Military Legal Assistance: Immigration Issues

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 197 minutes
Recorded Date: March 13, 2020
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• Army Legal Assistance Policy Division
        - Solutions
        - Policy Trends
• Immigration Benefits for Military Families
        - Basics of Permanent Residency
        - Family Petitions
        - Parole in Place (PIP) Orders
        - Adjustment of Status (AoS)
        - Consular Process
        - Complications
• Pentagon Joint Legal Assistance Office
        - Joint Legal Assistance
        - Military Statistics
        - Military Naturalization
        - Spouse Naturalization
        - Client Elgibility
        - Subject Matter Areas
        - Immigration Service Capabilities
        - Immigration Help

Runtime: 3 hours, 17 minutes
Recorded: March 13, 2020


During this 3.25-hour CLE session, moderator Dawn Du Verney, ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Member, will facilitate elite speakers for these topics:

Immigration Benefits and Policy Developments for Servicemembers and their Families This 1.75-hour presentation - from Ms. Zaira Solano of the Solano Law Firm LLC, Mr. Peter Katson from the Pentagon Joint Legal Assistance Office, and Ms. Melissa Halsey from the Army Legal Assistance Policy Division - will cover a variety of issues involving immigration benefits, a current and important legal concern for many servicemembers and their families. Participants will learn how servicemembers may be eligible for expedited naturalization and streamlined citizenship, along with immigration options available to their families. This will also focus on military survivor immigration benefits and its strict requirements. In addition, this session will explore new policy developments in immigration effecting the military, along with collaboration with other state agencies, including the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Department of State, and recent changes to overseas processes and services.

From this 1.5-hour presentation, the panel will continue to examine immigration law for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, further exploring naturalization options, along with paths to a Green Card for military family members, while also focusing on the unique immigration challenges - and benefits - experienced by immigrants in the U.S. Military and their families.

This program was recorded on March 13th, 2020

Provided By

American Bar Association


Peter D. Katson

Legal Assistance Attorney
Pentagon Joint Legal Assistance Office

Peter Katson is a Legal Assistance Attorney at the Pentagon Joint Legal Assistance Office.

Zaira D. Solano

Solano Law Firm, LLC

Zaira earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Georgia College & State University. While earning her degree, she worked in the office of a solo practitioner in the metro Atlanta area. She gained valuable, hands-on experience in family law, criminal law, and worker’s compensation law prior to her legal education. Zaira worked for several firms throughout the Atlanta area while earning her law degree at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Zaira discovered her passion for immigration during law school. Later in her training, she clerked at an immigration firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Zaira also worked in the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office in the Complex Case Division. In 2011, Zaira founded Solano Law Firm with a focus on immigration law to serve the Latino community. She believes in providing honest representation and educating clients throughout the process.

Melissa Halsey

Chief, Legal Assistance Policy Division
Office of the Judge Advocate General

Ms. Melissa J. Halsey assumed her new role as Chief of the Legal Assistance Policy Division (LAPD), OTJAG, on 15 April 2019. Melissa joins us from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office of Service member Affairs. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience helping Soldiers and their families, in a variety of positions, including, as a former JAG, the Deputy LAPD, so Melissa's appointment is also a homecoming back to the JAGC.

Dawn M. Du Verney

Director, Hearing Operations
Social Security Administration

Dawn Du Verney is Hearing Operations Director for the Social Security Administration’s Office of Hearings Operations in Tupelo, Mississippi. Dawn professional background spans a diverse range of executive leadership and legal experience within corporate, academic, social service, faith-based, and government sectors. Prior to joining the Social Security Administration as an attorney in 2010, Dawn held titles, including gubernatorial-appointed Executive Director of the New Jersey Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, EEO/Ethics Officer for the New Jersey Department of State, Special Counsel to the New Jersey Secretary of State, Associate General Counsel for Handex Environmental, President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Trenton (NJ), Assistant Deputy Public Defender for the State of New Jersey, and Adjunct Professor for Temple University School of Law and Peirce College in Philadelphia.

Dawn earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The American University, a Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law, and a LL.M from Temple University Beasley School of Law. In addition, she has certifications and training in organizational development, executive leadership and management, including situational leadership, Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), group leadership intensive facilitation, the lawyer personality, systems thinking, and Japanese Learning Circles (quality).

Dawn’s guiding principle is “To whom much is given, much is expected; and to the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). She values her legal training and gives back to legal profession through active membership in the American Bar Association. Her work has afforded her leadership positions in the Litigation Section, including Division Director, Communications Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, Committee Chair, and Managing Director. She is committed to expanding pro bono representation to all underserved persons. In this regard, she has served as ABA Presidential Appointee to the Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) and the Standing Committee for Pro Bono and Public Service. For the latter, she chaired the Equal Justice Conference and the Pro Bono Publico Awards Committee and Awards Luncheon.

She is married to Steven Wilkins, who is the former Chief Learning Officer for the New Jersey Judiciary and an executive coach for private individuals and corporate clients. They have two adult sons, Ross Jordan and Drew Carrington.

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