Katie Shepherd

Kathryn “Katie” Shepherd is the National Advocacy Counsel for the Immigration Justice Campaign at the American Immigration Council, where she focuses on legal advocacy and policy related to the asylum-seeking women and children detained in family detention centers around the country. Before joining the Council in August 2016, Katie was the Managing Attorney of the CARA Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas, where she managed a team of lawyers, advocates, and volunteers which provides legal services to asylum-seeking women and children detained in Dilley, Texas. For almost ten years, Katie has worked to advance and protect the rights of noncitizens seeking humanitarian relief in the United States. Before her work with CARA, she ran a private practice in Houston, Texas where she focused exclusively on asylum cases. Katie holds a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law and her B.A. in History with Special Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. She is licensed to practice law in Texas and New York and speaks conversational Spanish.

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The Death Toll of Migrant Children in US Custody Continues to Rise

The Death Toll of Migrant Children in US Custody Continues to Rise

Another migrant child died after being in U.S. custody this week—the fifth child since December 2018. These tragic deaths raise serious concerns about conditions in border facilities and the lack of adequate medical care. 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, the most recent child to die in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, was held […]

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Federal Court Allows Controversial ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy to Continue

Federal Court Allows Controversial ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy to Continue

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is resuming its controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy. This policy requires asylum-seeking Central American migrants who arrive at our Southern border to return to Mexico to await their immigration court hearings in the United States. A federal judge in California had previously blocked the policy’s implementation until the court […]

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‘Your Client Is Going Bye-Bye.’ New Investigation Details Immigration Judges’ Cruel Behavior in El Paso Court

‘Your Client Is Going Bye-Bye.’ New Investigation Details Immigration Judges’ Cruel Behavior in El Paso Court

Texas—and specifically El Paso—has been ground zero for many of the incredibly harmful policies introduced under the Trump administration, such as family separation, returning asylum seekers to Mexico to wait for hearings, and keeping migrant families under an overpass for days to wait for processing. Findings uncovered in a new complaint, however, reveal profound deficiencies […]

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Federal Judge Rules Government Must Reunite Thousands More Separated Families

Federal Judge Rules Government Must Reunite Thousands More Separated Families

In recent weeks, alarming stories have surfaced indicating that thousands more children were forcibly separated from their parents at the southern border than originally thought. In response to this and earlier reports that the government had begun separating parents as early as 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a federal judge to expand […]

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ICE Releases Infants in Its Custody Following Civil Rights Complaint

ICE Releases Infants in Its Custody Following Civil Rights Complaint

Nothing is more delicate or worthy of comprehensive care than a newborn. Yet, over the past several weeks, detention watchdogs and public health experts have noticed an alarming uptick in the number of infants—some as young as five months old—being held in prison-like detention facilities run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On-the-ground staff in these facilities report mothers complaining […]

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Immigration Courts’ Growing Reliance on Videoconference Hearings Is Being Challenged

Written by on February 25, 2019 in Due Process & the Courts, Immigration Courts with 0 Comments
Immigration Courts’ Growing Reliance on Videoconference Hearings Is Being Challenged

In some parts of the country, it has long been the practice for detained immigrants to appear for their immigration court hearings via video teleconference (“VTC”), rather than in-person. This is especially the case for immigrants being held in remote detention centers, hours from the nearest immigration court. However, under the Trump administration, immigration courts […]

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Letter to Nielsen Shows Potential Catastrophic Impact of Migrant Protection Protocols

Letter to Nielsen Shows Potential Catastrophic Impact of Migrant Protection Protocols

The Trump administration began implementing a deeply troubling new policy on January 28, 2019, the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP). Under the MPP, the government prevents asylum seekers from entering the United States by forcing them to remain in Mexico pending their request for protection. Now, a new letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary […]

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Government Quietly Increases ICE Detention to 48,000 Beds During the Shutdown

Written by on January 31, 2019 in Abuses, Detention, Enforcement with 0 Comments
Government Quietly Increases ICE Detention to 48,000 Beds During the Shutdown

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) drastically expanded its network of immigration jails in the last month by a startling 7 percent. ICE now holds about 48,000 individuals in its jails and private prisons, even though Congress has only appropriated funds for them to detain 40,500 individuals on any given day. How can a government agency […]

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US Government to Force Migrants to Remain in Mexico and Await Their Immigration Court Hearings

US Government to Force Migrants to Remain in Mexico and Await Their Immigration Court Hearings

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans to immediately launch a new policy to force asylum-seeking migrants to wait in Mexico for their immigration court hearing. Officially labeled the “Migrant Protection Protocols” but more commonly known as “Remain in Mexico,” this sweeping change to how people access the asylum process could lead to catastrophic […]

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The Judicial Black Sites the Government Created to Speed Up Deportations

The Judicial Black Sites the Government Created to Speed Up Deportations

As the Trump administration continues to strip away due process in immigration courts, the recent creation of two “Immigration Adjudication Centers” is cause for concern. The two new facilities are called “Centers,” not “courts,” despite being places where judges decide whether to issue orders of deportation. The Centers came out of a “Caseload Reduction Plan” […]

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