An experienced immigration attorney fluent in Spanish and German, Christopher Stender currently leads his own law firm in San Diego, California. Christopher Stender also stays connected with his fellow immigration attorneys through membership in organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
Among its many resources and programs for members, the AILA hosts a yearly meeting that is relevant for immigration attorneys from a wide range of practice levels. The organization recently hosted the 2015 AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law in National Harbor, Maryland, where attendees experienced a comprehensive and innovative continuing legal education program prepared by the AILA Annual Conference Program Committee. The program featured more than 145 in-depth sessions with practice tracks addressing key immigration law topics and dedicated seminars on ethics, trial skills, and law practice management.
Along with the opportunity to earn as many as 33 CLE credits, attendees gained insights from hundreds of immigration experts and government representatives on the most recent changes in immigration law and policy. The 2015 AILA Annual Conference also included networking engagements and an exhibit hall.
Christopher Stender, an immigration attorney, draws on 25 years of practice experience. Through the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), immigration attorney Christopher Stender offers his services at no charge to foreign nationals who must appear before an immigration judge.
Since January of 1983, the Executive Office for Immigration Review has handled all court proceedings that determine whether an immigrant may remain in the United States. It includes the Board of Immigration Appeals as well as the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, whose function was once part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The office does not handle cases that fall under the jurisdictions of the Office of Immigration Litigation or the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.
The Office of the Chief Immigration Judge sets priorities and direction for the country's 260 immigration attorneys, while also disseminating information regarding policies and procedures involving removal proceedings. The proceedings themselves take place in courtrooms or jails across the nation.
Appealed removal decisions go to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the highest authority available to interpret immigration law, which most often reviews case materials in print and then issues a binding decision. Meanwhile, the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer is available to hear certain applicable employment and fraud cases.
An immigration attorney for more than two decades, Christopher Stender currently assists clients as a partner of Stender & Lappin, PC, a San Diego-based firm he founded in 2008. Throughout his career, Christopher Stender has contributed his time and resources to a number of charities and nonprofits, including the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP).
FIRRP provides free legal services to men, women, and children detained in Arizona for immigration removal proceedings. Currently, FIRRP provides these services through several programs, including its Detained Immigrant and Refugee Children’s Initiative, which helps unaccompanied minors who have been apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Each year, thousands of minors from Mexico and Central America cross the border into the United States without their parents. Those detained by ICE officials are held in secure facilities, contract shelters, and group homes. In some cases, unaccompanied minors are placed in foster care through the Office of Refugee Settlement.
The Children’s Initiative works closely with those minors awaiting removal proceedings before the Phoenix Immigration Court to ensure that they understand their rights and have access to proper legal representation. If FIRRP is unable to provide representation itself, the Children’s Initiative helps connect clients with pro bono attorneys from the local community.
An established San Francisco immigration attorney, Christopher Stender has a strong commitment to the community he serves. In a notable 2010 deportation case, Christopher Stender successfully represented a Nigerian immigrant who contracted AIDS and was subsequently convicted of dealing drugs. The case hinged on conditions in his client’s home country, where he was likely to face torture upon return.
Coming to the United States on a visa, Lawrence Eneh contracted AIDS from a contaminated needle while employed at a Minnesota health center. Gaining legal U.S. residency in 2000, Mr. Eneh was convicted for selling marijuana two years later and was ordered to be deported following a three-year prison term. In 2004, Mr. Eneh presented evidence that individuals convicted of criminal activity related to drugs in foreign countries are imprisoned upon their return to Nigeria. In addition, AIDS patients are not provided with the medications they require. Mr. Stender’s representation in appellate court resulted in a 3-0 ruling in favor of his client in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
San Diego, California-based immigration attorney Christopher Stender advocates on behalf of immigrants in need of legal counsel. A partner in the bilingual law firm of Stender & Lappin, PC, Christopher Stender accepts challenging cases that have at times resulted in groundbreaking legal decisions. Outside of work, he has contributed to the nonprofit Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP).
Through the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, individuals of all ages detained by the State of Arizona’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement can receive free legal services. FIRRP fills a gap in the legal system that does not cover provision of legal aid for people with low income who are involved in immigration removal proceedings. FIRRP offers these immigrants and their families hope through advocacy and outreach. Through donations from the public, the nonprofit recruits, trains, and mentors attorneys to act as pro bono representatives during the various levels of court proceedings required for a specific case. Cases may involve such action as cancellation of the removal order for a legal permanent resident or political asylum.
Christopher Stender works as an immigration attorney at Stender & Lappin, PC, in San Diego, California. He holds a bachelor of arts from the University at Buffalo and a degree in law from the Syracuse University College of Law. Active in his profession, Christopher Stender formerly served as vice-president of the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Immigration attorneys are some of the most active in-field practitioners of law in the industry. Lawyers who are just starting out will quickly find themselves immersed in the subject and gaining significant experience. These attorneys can work in large practices or small, and in corporate firms or nonprofit organizations. They may pick up one or more foreign languages and can help out not just with immigration law, but also with any legal problems that their immigrant clients may encounter, from traffic violations to serious crimes.
Immigration law is also complex and constantly changing. Immigration attorneys must be willing to keep up with an ever-shifting landscape of law. Finally, immigration practice is about helping others. If you are looking for a law practice that will make a difference in individual lives, then immigration law may be just the field.
California-based immigration attorney Christopher Stender has served as a volunteer for the Florence Project in the past. Today, Christopher Stender remains on the list of free legal services providers from the U.S. Department of Justice.
On April 6, 2013, the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP) drew local residents and visitors for the opening of an art exhibition. The theme of the exhibit focused on immigration detention practices at Industria Studios in Tucson, Arizona. The event attracted guest artists from California to New York.
The reception began with an introduction from staff members of FIRRP who spoke about their organization, which supplies immigration detainees with free legal services. Artists donated 30 percent from their artwork sales to the Florence Project.
One local artist, Wesley Fawcett Creigh, attended with her interactive art project titled Painting by Numbers: Women in AZ Detention Centers, Bringing Numerical Statistics to Life. Ms. Creigh started her project after discovering a detention center near the town of Eloy and learning the stories of the thousands of undocumented migrants detained there. Essentially forgotten, center detainees included mothers who had been separated from their children.
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