What the Law is and What the Law isn't: A Know Your Rights Workshop

Thu, Nov 2, 2017 @ 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Free and open to the public for MOCA First Thursdays. LIMITED SEATING, please reserve your seat here.


Join attorneys Claire Thomas and Ernie Collette for the second workshop in MOCA’s Know Your Rights series. They will provide a brief overview of immigration law, beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act, and then clarify the current status of U.S. immigration laws to give us usable knowledge for asserting our rights. The session will be bilingual (English and Mandarin), with law student Xixi Liu serving as interpreter.


Claire R. Thomas is an attorney, advocate, and adjunct professor interested in migration, statelessness, human rights, and empowerment for women and girls facing poverty and gender-based violence. She graduated from the University of Chicago and also studied at the Université de Paris X, Nanterre. She holds a graduate degree from New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and a law degree from New York Law School. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School.


Claire also serves as Director of Training at Safe Passage Project, a non-profit housed at New York Law School, in which she mentors pro bono attorneys representing immigrant children; supervises law students, fellows and staff; coordinates a monthly Juvenile Docket at the New York Immigration Court; plans, organizes and conducts trainings; and engages in advocacy efforts with other non-profit organizations as well as city, state, and federal agencies. In addition, Claire provides legal assistance for naturalization applicants through bi-monthly immigration clinics with CUNY Citizenship Now!


She is also a member of the Immigration & Nationality Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and is the current co-chair of the Immigrant Access to Public Benefits subcommittee.

Ernie Collette is a volunteer attorney for Safe Passage and has been since September of 2014. As a graduate of Seattle University School of Law, Ernie utilized his skills, expertise, and knowledge to assist our Safe Passage children through the long and difficult immigration process. Before attending law school Ernie was a paralegal for Make the Road by Walking and the Urban Justice Center where he provided representation to clients in Public Benefits, Housing, and Healthcare Law.

As a Staff Attorney at MFY Legal Services, he created and developed the immigration pilot project for family-based immigration representing Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases and DACA/DAPA cases at MFY. He also helped to establish a partnership between MFY and Safe Passage project.

This program is held in conjunction with FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures.