Battered Immigrant Project
Domestic violence is a pervasive problem among North Carolina’s immigrant population, just as it is among U.S. citizens. Battered immigrants need legal assistance in order to navigate the complex maze of ever-changing immigration laws.
The Battered Immigrant Project (BIP), part of our Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative, provides comprehensive and culturally appropriate legal services to immigrant survivors of violence needing assistance with immigration. The BIP represents qualifying applicants across North Carolina in immigration matters including:
Self-Petitions and Petitions to Remove Conditions on Residency under the Violence Against Women Act
U Visas for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking
T Visas for victims of human trafficking
Deportation defense for qualifying victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
BIP attorneys work with domestic violence and immigrant rights advocates across the state to provide them with information about the rights of battered immigrants. Through the DVPI, staff in local LANC offices, as resources allow, represent immigrant survivors in legal matters such as:
Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Family Law issues
Rona Karacaova is the Managing Attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina's Battered Immigrant Project. Before coming to Legal Aid of NC in 2002, Rona worked with Connecticut Legal Services for three years and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont for one year. Rona obtained her B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University in 1993 and her J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1998.
Amanda Hinnant is the Supervising Attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project. Before coming to Legal Aid of NC in 2010, Amanda worked as an elementary school teacher prior to attending law school. She obtained her B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 and her J.D. from Charlotte School of Law in 2010. Amanda is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and is fluent in Spanish.
Jennifer Robinson is a bilingual (English/Spanish) staff attorney with the Battered Immigrant Project, where she has worked since 2016. She represents survivors and their families to apply for immigration benefits, and she has also presented on related topics for advocacy organizations across the state, Legal Aid conferences, and the AILA Carolinas chapter. Jennifer graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, where she focused on immigration law, and Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, where she majored in Women’s & Gender Studies. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys CrossFit, baking, learning linguistics, and playing with her dog.
Leah Arnold is a Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project. She joined Legal Aid of NC in 2015. Leah obtained a J.D. from the UNC School of Law, a graduate certificate in global transmigration studies from the UNC School of Social Work, and a B.S. in Journalism with a certificate in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida. Leah is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and is fluent in Spanish. In her free time, Leah enjoys reading books, practicing yoga, and playing with her dogs.
Anna Cushman is a Staff Attorney within Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project. Before coming to Legal Aid of NC in 2019, Anna worked at a small immigration law firm in Greensboro, NC for six years. Anna obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish from Wake Forest University in 2008 and her Juris Doctor degree from Campbell Law School in 2012. She is licensed to practice law in North Carolina, a Board Certified Specialist in Immigration Law, and is fluent in Spanish.
Will Johnson is a Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina's Battered Immigrant Project. He has worked with Legal Aid of NC since 2013. Will obtained a B.A. from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC in 2006 majoring in Political Science and Peace & Conflict Studies, and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2012. He is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and is fluent in Spanish.
Jalal Nadimi is a bilingual (English/Spanish) staff Paralegal at Legal Aid North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project, where she has worked since 2013. Jalal obtained her law degree from La Universidad Católica de Santa Maria in Arequipa, Peru. She has lived in several countries around the world, where she has participated in socio-economic and community building projects. In her free time Jalal enjoys traveling and watching foreign films.
Dora MacDonald was born in Cali, Colombia where she graduated as a Social Worker. Dora loves the outdoors and sports. In Colombia, Dora worked for the Family Court as a Social Worker and while working full time, she attended law school and earned her degree as a Lawyer. In 2000, Dora moved to the USA and later she enrolled in the Paralegal Program at Penn State University where she earned a paralegal certification. In February 2008, Dora joined the BIP team at Legal Aid of North Carolina as paralegal, and in 2016, she became a Department or Justice Accredited Representative.
Cara Palmer is a law school graduate working with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project. She joined Legal Aid in 2020 after graduating from Georgetown University Law Center with a J.D. and a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. Prior to attending law school, in the summers of 2016 and 2017, she attended American University Washington College of Law’s Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. She previously earned an M.A. in History and a Graduate Certificate in Human Rights from the University of Connecticut in 2015 and a B.A. in History with a minor in human rights from the University of Southern California in 2013. She is fluent in Spanish.