Marki Stewart’s longtime commitment to helping unaccompanied immigrant children find safety and security in the U.S. earned her recognition as the Florence Projects’ Children’s Program Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.
Formally the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, the Florence Project provides free legal services, social services, and advocacy to immigrants facing detention and potential deportation. Volunteering with the organization has been Marki’s personal passion project for 15 years. Specifically, she lends her time and talent to providing pro bono representation, guidance, and support to children under threat of deportation. Her work has made a lifechanging impact that empowers vulnerable individuals as they navigate challenging circumstances with hope and resilience.
Pro Bono Managing Attorney for the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project’s Children’s Program Lizmarie Mena-Feliciano praised Marki’s expertise and dedication to the organization’s cases and called out the immense impact she has had on both their clients and on the Pro Bono Mentors that have worked with her.
“It’s rewarding to help a child through this difficult process, and to think about the possibilities if they are granted legal residency. I want them to be safe and secure, to have stability in their lives, to attend college, and to have every opportunity to pursue their dreams,” said Marki.
Currently, Marki is representing a 12-year-old girl from Mexico whose mother died when she was 4 years old, and whose father abandoned her. Marki began representing her in 2019 when she traveled to the U.S. with her older siblings, who was only 8 years old at the time. Marki won a Motion to Dismiss the immigration removal, obtained a guardian for her, and procured an order for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which was approved by the Department of Homeland Security. Now they are awaiting a final decision on her client’s application for Permanent Legal Residency. If all goes well, she will be secure knowing that she has a home in the U.S. She will also be able to attend college and pursue her dream of being an art teacher.
In addition to assisting the Florence Project, Marki guides health care providers in a variety of business and regulatory issues with a special focus in fraud and abuse, reproductivity health care, and telehealth.