A team of Fried Frank litigators has been selected to receive this year's prestigious Jack Wasserman Memorial Award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). This award, given “for excellence in litigation in the field of immigration law,” recognizes Fried Frank's ongoing US District Court representation of two classes of approximately 2,500 non-citizen US soldiers, recruited under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program, who seek to exercise their statutory right to become naturalized U.S. citizens. The team includes litigation special counsel Karen T. Grisez; litigation associates Neaha P. Raol, Shaun A. Gates, Katherine St. Romain, Natalia M. Szlarb, Elizabeth Woods, Kayla Stachniak Kaplan, Helene Gogadze, and Melis Kiziltay Carter; litigation law clerk Brendan McNamara; and many other dedicated legal staff.
Fried Frank has been litigating on behalf of these soldiers for over a year in two separate but related federal court class action lawsuits against the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. While both cases remain in active litigation, the Fried Frank team already has achieved remarkable successes, including obtaining two preliminary injunctions precluding the Government from enforcing new policies that otherwise would have blocked hundreds of MAVNI soldiers from applying for naturalization and resulted in the summary denial of hundreds of pending naturalization applications filed by other MAVNI soldiers. The litigation also has prevented the mass discharge of such soldiers prior to naturalization, has halted the threatened deportation of hundreds of soldiers, and has resulted in more than 120 soldiers obtaining citizenship to date.
AILA is a national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. Click here for more details.