California Lawyers for the Arts San Diego Presents
Cross Border Migration, Family Law and Mediation
Cross-border families face a variety of challenges in our current legal landscape. Expert panelists Melissa A. Kucinski and Carolina Martin Ramos will discuss issues ranging from international parental child abduction and multi-jurisdictional parenting to how immigrant families are treated under family based immigration law, humanitarian immigration benefits, family separation at the border and detention of families by ICE. They will walk attendees through some real-life fact patterns to explore how international family law and immigration law intersect. (MCLE Credit Available)
With this workshop, you will learn:
1. What is international parental child abduction, and what laws apply to families in these situations;
2. What practical and ethical considerations need to be considered by lawyers who work with cross-border families;
3. How family related issues arise in immigration law;
4. Immigration risks and benefits for mixed status families; and
5. Ethical considerations that arise when working with families in the immigration system.
About Our Speakers:
Melissa Kucinski is an attorney and mediator with her principal office in Washington, D.C. She served as a consultant to the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 2013 and has written a dozen articles published in more than one language on international children’s issues and mediation of complex cross-border custody and child abduction cases. Melissa has presented at over 30 national and international conferences on international children’s issues and mediation. Melissa has traveled to Tokyo twice for meetings on the Hague Child Abduction Convention – first in 2014 as part of a U.S. delegation and again in 2019, at the invitation of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Melissa has been a long-standing member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law. She served as a private sector advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the Hague’s Sixth Special Commission meeting in 2011 to review the practical operation of two international children’s treaties, and she attended the Seventh Special Commission meeting in 2017 with International Social Service (ISS). She chaired ISS’s efforts to create a global network of international family mediation resources. Melissa has served in a variety of capacities within the American Bar Association, including past chair of an International Family Mediation Task Force, and chair of two separate international family law committees. Melissa has taught the International Family Law course at the George Washington University School of Law since 2010. She is a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. Her book, A Practical Handbook for the Child's Attorney: Effectively Representing Children in Custody Cases, included a chapter on representing children in complex international abduction and relocation cases. Her newest book, Family Law Across Borders: Cases and Comments, is being released in July 2021 by West Academic.
Carolina Martin Ramos (Mexica Mestiza/Chicana/Kinship ties to U.S. Tribes in SE) is Co-Executive Director of Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim (CMPI) and directs the Maya Human Rights Program and legal services at CMPI. Carolina is an immigration and human rights attorney with years of experience in nonprofit, government, and private practice. She has worked on immigration issues in criminal law, noncitizen victims of human trafficking and crimes, and asylum seekers with special recognition for her work with rights of Indigenous migrants and LGBTQ asylum seekers. Currently, Carolina focuses her work on the rights of Indigenous Peoples through pre-existing Indigenous traditional laws and governance and international human rights mechanisms.
Through her work, Carolina has responded to multiple legal and humanitarian crises related to the forced displacement of Indigenous Peoples under colonial state policies including environmental destruction through extractive projects and industries. Carolina volunteered at the Red Owl Legal Collective (aka Legal Tent) at Oceti Sakowin, Standing Rock Nation, worked with asylum seekers at the U.S. – Mexico border region during “the surge” in 2014 and subsequent events where caravans of asylum seekers faced human rights violations, family separations, and refoulement under Trump administration Zero Tolerance policies and Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). In 2018, Carolina traveled to Maya Territory to work directly with families separated at the border and reunited parents and families with their children held in U.S. custody. Carolina’s work at CMPI is inherently transnational, cross-jurisdictional, cross border, decolonizing, and anti-colonial. Through the CMPI Maya Human Rights Program, she focuses on providing immigration legal services to Maya and Indigenous migrants, policy and advocacy work in the U.S., and human rights work with Indigenous land and water protectors in Maya Territories.