Arnold & Porter Senior Associate Chris Moulder, PhD, successfully shepherded a Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA) self-petition to the finish line in 2022. This is Awa’s story.

After immigrating to the U.S. from Senegal, Awa* experienced domestic abuse at the hands of her spouse. She began the process of seeking protection through VAWA in 2019, working with Arnold & Porter via Ayuda’s Pro Bono Program.

Dr. Moulder came onto the case after the petition was filed, and his intervention proved instrumental when challenges arose during the waiting period. For example, when Awa approached him about visiting her children back in Senegal – one of whom had a medical emergency – he had to compassionately persuade her not to leave the country.

On another occasion, Awa’s self-petition case was almost entirely lost when United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent a request for her translated birth certificate to the wrong address. The dedicated attorneys at Arnold & Porter found the problem and hurriedly worked with an in-house paralegal to translate and submit the birth certificate just in the nick of time. With the help of Ayuda staff, Dr. Moulder triumphantly navigated the complexities of immigration law to obtain a successful outcome for Awa. 

“No matter how obvious the question, Ayuda was there to guide me through the twists and turns of dealing with USCIS to achieve a successful conclusion to this case.”

Chris Moulder, PhD, Senior Associate – Arnold & Porter

*Name has been changed to protect our client’s privacy. 

Ayuda works with pro bono attorneys to provide consultations to clients through limited scope, brief advice clinics. In addition, Ayuda works with pro bono partners to provide long-term representation to clients in immigration matters through Ayuda’s pro bono pipeline. Through Ayuda’s pro bono pipeline, pro bono attorneys are able to represent clients in immigrant matters such as T and U Visas, asylum applications, VAWA petitions, and immigration proceedings. Learn more