BY JULIA MURPHY | August 14, 2018

On Tuesday, July 31, members of the Ignatian network in Cleveland, OH gathered at Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City for Solidarity on Tap. The program, sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, is a simple gathering at a local pub for socializing and social justice, and takes place in cities around the country featuring different faith and justice-oriented speakers and topics each time.

Solidarity on Tap – Cleveland featured Kathryn (Katie) P. Russell, Esq—a graduate of John Carroll University, an alumna of the Casa de la Solidaridad program in San Salvador, El Salvador, and a former Jesuit Volunteer at YMCA International Services in Houston. Russell received her Juris Doctorate cum laude from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and practices at Robert Brown, LLC, where she specializes in family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, removal defense, and citizenship. She has been honored with AVVO’s client choice award in 2015 and 2017.

Katie Russell at Solidarity on Tap – Cleveland.

Russell spoke about the difficulty of working with clients seeking legal status and citizenship in the context of the current harsh political climate concerning immigration. With the rise in deportations that has come with Trump’s “Zero-Tolerance Policy,” good news for Russell’s clients is hard to come by. Russell also spoke about the dire need for updates to be made to the immigration process itself, since much of its inefficiency and injustice is due to an outdated system.

Solidarity on Tap – Cleveland attendees hear perspectives from Katie Russell, an immigration attorney in Cleveland and John Carroll University alum.

Above all, Russell spoke about the importance of bringing humanity to the immigration conversation. In a moment of vulnerability, Russell shared her experience of being a new mother and thinking that she “would do anything” for her child. She related this to parents making the difficult decision to migrate to the United States—they would do anything to provide for their families. As a person of faith, compassion is the most important factor of immigration work for Russell. Answering a question about how she stays rooted when her work inevitably becomes sad or discouraging, Katie responded that this Catholic faith is what allows her to persevere.

Following the talk, folks lingered, discussed what could be improved in terms of our immigration system, and made new connections with other attendees in the Ignatian network.

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