Home > Press Releases > Immigration Equality Celebrates Executive Director’s First Anniversary, Expanded Focus on Asylum for LGBT and HIV-Affected Immigrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2015

Contact:
Jackie Yodashkin, Communications Director
jyodashkin@immigrationequality.org / (917) 620-4502

Immigration Equality Celebrates Executive Director’s First Anniversary, Expanded Focus on Asylum for LGBT and HIV-Affected Immigrants

Welcomes new Communications Director with decade of LGBT advocacy experience

New York, NYImmigration Equality, the leading organization advocating for and representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and HIV-affected immigrants, today honored its Executive Director Caroline Dessert on her one year anniversary leading the organization.

“Caroline has done an impressive job of working to focus the organization’s efforts where they are currently needed most: serving LGBT immigrants and detainees seeking asylum, and reuniting families,” said Randy Feuerstein, Immigration Equality Board Chair. “With her leadership, we’ve increased the number of asylum cases we handle annually two-fold, and look forward to expanding that work to more people living at or below the poverty line.”

Over the course of the past year, Immigration Equality has:
• won 112 cases for LGBT and HIV-affected immigrants
• advised over 1500 families seeking to be reunited
• supported 91 law firms providing pro bono legal services
• responded to over 4,500 calls and emails from people seeking legal help
• all while maintaining a 99% success rate

A lifetime advocate for social justice, Dessert is a queer Latina originally from El Centro, California, a community on the U.S.–Mexico Border. She earned a J.D. from UCLA School of Law, focusing on public interest law and policy, and critical race studies. Prior to joining Immigration Equality, she worked at the California Attorney General’s Office, where she was a Deputy Attorney General in the Public Rights Division.

In addition to celebrating Dessert’s year anniversary, the organization also welcomed a new Communications Director, Jackie Yodashkin, who previously served as Communications Director for Freedom to Marry, the successful campaign to win marriage nationwide, and Project Director for the United Nations’ first-ever global campaign for LGBT rights, Free & Equal.

“Jackie brings a wealth of experience telling the personal stories that help change hearts, minds, and laws; and as the daughter of immigrants, she knows all too well how critical Immigration Equality’s work is to the communities we serve,” said Dessert. “Through her work with the United Nations, Jackie has seen first-hand the kinds of violence and abuse people face in the over 75 countries where being LGBT is a crime. We welcome her to the Immigration Equality team so we can work together to ensure that those who come to the U.S. seeking safety do not face that same brutal treatment when they arrive here.”

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Immigration Equality represents and advocates for people from around the world fleeing violence, abuse, and persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status. Our team of legal experts has won asylum for more than 700 LGBT and HIV-affected immigrants.