Newsletter | Winter 2013
Vol. 17, Issue No. 1
HistoryMiami Legal Legends
Cheryl Little was honored as a Legal Legend by HistoryMiami and the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Historical Society at its Annual Awards Dinner in October. This award is given to attorneys who have shaped the legal community for over 25 years and reflect the outstanding legal heritage of Miami and South Florida. Ms. Little was recognized as “a pioneer and leading expert on immigration law” and described as “the essence of a true human rights advocate … [who has] changed the lives of countless individuals and families by seeking justice for the voiceless throughout South Florida and the nation.”
Most Effective Lawyers
Ms. Little was also selected as the 2012 Most Effective Public Interest Lawyer at the Daily Business Review’s annual luncheon. Working with former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, she was instrumental in the Obama Administration’s adoption of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides a temporary two-year deferral of deportation for young people brought to this country as children, giving them the opportunity to pursue their dreams in the only country they call home.
“Little was the visionary who pushed the Administration to grant deferred action to childhood arrivals when no one else thought it possible. Her Op-Ed in The Miami Herald in April 2012, which generated attention from The White House and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, prompted me to call her to see how I could help,” said former Mayor of Miami, Manny Diaz.
Subsequently, Ms. Little drafted a legal memorandum setting forth the basis for the Administration’s authority to act and met with White House officials to walk them through the strategy. According to Mr. Diaz, “the legal memo was especially helpful as I joined Cheryl in making the case for DACA to members of DHS’ Advisory Council, on which I serve, and others. Cheryl also helped me draft a resolution that was passed at the US Conference of Mayors in June 2012, urging the Administration to grant deferred action to DREAMers.” The Administration announced the DACA program on June 15.
Haitian American Professionals Coalition
Ms. Little was honored for her leadership and her untiring and devoted service to the Haitian community at the Haitian American Professionals Coalition Annual Holiday Reception in December. Ms. Little’s legal career began at the Haitian Refugee Center when she graduated from law school with honors in 1985 and she is recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on Haitian asylum and refugee issues.