July 14, 2020

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm, Central Time

ACS Chicago: Courts Matter to Immigrant Rights

Join the ACS Chicago Lawyer Chapter, Courts Matter Illinois, and several other organizations for a discussion on the current role of the federal courts in defending the rights of immigrants.

This is the second webinar in a series examining the impact federal courts have on some of the most important social issues of 2020. Stay tuned in the coming months for new additions to the lineup!


Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, National Immigrant Justice Center

Fred Tsao, Senior Policy Counsel, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights 

Hon. Robert Vinikoor, Immigration Judge (Ret.) 

Speaker Biographies: 

Mary Meg McCarthy is the executive director of Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), one of the nation’s leading immigrant and human rights advocacy organizations. Under Mary Meg’s leadership, NIJC has become a leading immigrant and human rights advocacy organization, contributing to national and international analysis, debate and reform of immigration law, policy, and practices. She has built a network of 1,500 pro bono attorneys who are essential to providing legal services to thousands of individuals each year. An expert in immigration law, Mary Meg has testified before Congress and is quoted often in major news outlets such as MSNBC, The New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune. Prior to joining NIJC, she practiced civil litigation and was an NIJC pro bono attorney. Earlier in her career she worked in local communities in Chile to help safeguard the rights of individuals under a dictatorship.

Fred Tsao is the Senior Policy Counsel at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. In this position, he provides technical support, trainings, and presentations on immigration-related topics to service providers, immigrant community organizations, and others who work with immigrants. He also provides updates and analysis of changes in immigration policies and procedures to ICIRR members and allies, and assists with the coalition's legislative advocacy efforts. A self-described “recovering attorney,” Fred practiced law at the Rockford office of Prairie State Legal Services, where he worked after receiving his law degree from the University of Michigan. He has also worked with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation, and the Missouri Public Interest Research Group. A native of Chicago, Fred is the son of immigrants from China, and has had a lifelong concern with immigration issues

Judge Robert Vinikoor joined the law firm of Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C., in 2017 after serving over 30 years as an Immigration Judge. He was appointed as an Immigration Judge in January 1984. Judge Vinikoor has authored numerous precedent deciding cases covering topics such as crimes involving moral turpitude, aggravated felony offenses, frauds committed at the time of entry and/or adjustment and claims to U.S. citizenship. His decisions helped define the age limitations for K-4 beneficiaries seeking adjustment of status, the use of Section 245(i) to waive inadmissibility, and the scope of numerous discretionary waivers. A number of published opinions have addressed his expert analysis in cases involving burden of proof, marriage fraud, and Section 216(c)(4) evidence. Upon his retirement from the bench, he was the second most senior Immigration Judge in the country. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at Loyola University School of Law Chicago teaching immigration law.

Series Co-Sponsors: Chicago Women Take Action, National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore, National Council of Jewish Women South Cook, National Council of Jewish Women State Policy Committee, National Employment Lawyers Association Illinois, and the Citizen Advocacy Center.