Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Celebrates 27 Years of Service to Washington State Immigrants and Refugees

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Contact: Michelle Muri, Staff Attorney,, 206-957-8635

SEATTLE, WA- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s 27th Anniversary Celebration will take place this Friday, May 13, 2011 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at the Experience Music Project’s dramatic Sky Church.  A reception featuring aerialist Michele Frances, mini-live auction and wine pull will be accompanied by a brief program and awards.  This year, NWIRP will present its Golden Door Award to Michael Concannon and its Amicus Awards to Omar Riojas & DLA Piper and K&L Gates.

About Michael Concannon
Immigrants in detention include families, people who have been in the US for years, survivors of torture, asylum seekers, pregnant women, and mentally and physically disabled individuals. The Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma is the fourth-largest immigration detention center in the country.  Over 90% of those who face deportation cases while they are detained at this facility are not represented by a lawyer and must face an immigration judge on their own. In the past four years Mike Concannon has provided pro bono representation to over 55 detained immigrants and refugees, more than any other law firm or attorney in the region. It is with great pleasure that we honor him tonight with the Golden Door Award to recognize his remarkable contribution.

About Omar Riojas and DLA Piper
For over four years Maria Luis, a citizen of Guatemala, was separated from her two children following a Nebraska juvenile court order that terminated her parental rights because she was detained due to her immigration status.  Omar Riojas of DLA Piper took on the case and served as lead counsel in an appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court, leading to a unanimous decision reversing the order.  The court’s decision allowed the Guatemalan mother to regain custody of her children after many years apart.  Maria L. v State of Nebraska sets an important precedent, and has raised much needed awareness of the legal needs of immigrants. In recognition of their important work, NWIRP will present an Amicus Award to Mr. Riojas and DLA Piper, for their commitment to extraordinary pro bono work defending the rights of immigrants and refugees.

About K&L Gates
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is excited to honor K&L Gates and attorneys Theo Angelis and Doug Greenswag and former K&L Gates attorney Kymberly Evanson, for their partnership with NWIRP, and in particular their work on behalf of Rennison Castillo.  Mr. Castillo is a U.S. Citizen and U.S. Army veteran who was unlawfully detained at the Northwest Detention Center for over seven months. After being released from detention, K&L Gates agreed to join NWIRP in representing him in an action against the United States Government.  Through their efforts, a federal district court ruled in favor of Mr. Castillo, leading to a $400,000 settlement and a written apology.  In part as a result of the litigation, the federal government has amended its guidelines so that individuals with disputed citizenship claims are released while their cases are pending. For their work on this case, we honor K&L Gates with the Amicus Award.
Please join NWIRP and the immigrant rights community as we gather to celebrate the achievements of the above mentioned awardees and raise funds to fulfill NWIRP’s mission.  Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served.  Guests receive two complimentary drink vouchers for each ticket purchased.  To attend, register online at

NWIRP’s 27th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, May 13, 2010 from 5:30 to 8:00pm
Location: Sky Church at the Experience Music Project
325 5th Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
Tickets: $100

NWIRP is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit.  All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.  For tax purposes, the fair market value of one ticket is $50.

For questions about tickets or event sponsorship, please contact Koriel Jock, Development Associate by email at or by phone at (206) 957-8641.