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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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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Violence Erupts at the Border as US Continues to Deny Rights to Asylum Seekers

Violence Erupts at the Border as US Continues to Deny Rights to Asylum Seekers

The situation in Tijuana, Mexico reached a boiling point on Sunday, after U.S. authorities fired tear gas at hundreds of migrants—including pregnant women and children—who had peacefully gathered earlier that morning to ask for asylum. Disturbing video footage, pictures, and stories have emerged depicting the mayhem, which came to a head after some migrants in […]

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Will the Trump Administration Begin Family Separations Again?

Will the Trump Administration Begin Family Separations Again?

The horrifying and tragic legacy of the Trump administration’s family separation policy—which allegedly ended by executive order in June this summer—is far from over. Even with many children still waiting to be reunited with their parents, the administration is considering resuming family separations once again. Nearly 250 migrant children reportedly remain separated from their parents. […]

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Disarray in Baltimore Immigration Court Is Emblematic of Systemic Issues

Written by on October 12, 2018 in Due Process & the Courts, Immigration Courts with 0 Comments
Disarray in Baltimore Immigration Court Is Emblematic of Systemic Issues

Overwhelmed immigration courts and massive court backlogs have long been a nation-wide problem. Hearings are regularly scheduled years in advance—in some jurisdictions, judges are scheduling hearings into 2022. This means that many immigrants are held in limbo for years, unable to move forward, while living with the uncertainty of whether or not they will be […]

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