Shalyn Fluharty Appointed Executive Director of Americans for Immigrant Justice

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Arthur Hernandez, Director of Development & Marketing305-573-1106 ext. 1100 | ahernandez@aijustice.org

Miami, Florida (May 24, 2022) – Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) proudly announces the appointment of Shalyn (“Shay”) Fluharty as Executive Director. Ms. Fluharty will assume her duties on August 15, 2022. As announced earlier this year, co-founder Cheryl Little will retire at the end of June after 25 years at the helm. The Search Committee, composed of highly respected members of the community as well as several current members of the Board of Directors, worked diligently over the past eight months to identify a talented pool of candidates. On the committee’s recommendation, last week the Board of Directors unanimously approved Ms. Fluharty as AI Justice’s new Executive Director.

A native Floridian, Ms. Fluharty will be moving home after an impressive legal nonprofit career spanning the past 15 years, the last 10 spent in Texas. Most recently, Ms. Fluharty was at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) and directed the Dilley Pro Bono Project, which focused on providing legal aid to asylum-seeking immigrant mothers and their children being held at the country’s largest detention facility. Under Ms. Fluharty’s leadership, her team attained a 99% approval grant rate for families they represented before the Asylum Office, allowing those families to be released from detention, to reunite with family or friends, and to obtain counsel to complete their legal proceedings before the Immigration Courts. Ms. Fluharty has also been a leader in responding to more recent policy impacts on the South Texas border, launching the PASA program to provide services to families forced to remain in Mexico and await immigration proceedings there and a response to legal charges brought against immigrants under Operation Lone Star. In addition to her hands-on work on the Southern Border over the past decade, Ms. Fluharty previously worked with organizations in California and New York to provide legal services to unaccompanied immigrant children and served as a Public Defender in Sacramento.

With regard to her new role, Ms. Fluharty emphasized the important connection between the work on the Southern Border and the communities that immigrants call home: “I am ready to shift my focus and apply my experience on the border to expanding access to justice for immigrants in South Florida, where I was born and raised. I care deeply about building spaces of welcome and inclusion in my community and believe I can do something good and ambitious at AI Justice together with the talented and dedicated staff who have built an important presence and reputation for top-notch legal representation, both locally in South Florida and on the national plane.” 

Johanna Rousseaux, a lawyer at Jones Day and President of AI Justice’s Board of Directors, expressed the Board’s enthusiasm for the new hire: “It is no easy task to replace a founding executive director, and certainly not someone of Cheryl Little’s talent and passion, but the Board of Directors believes that Ms. Fluharty has the perfect combination of hands-on experience, impact litigation, and advocacy work to step into this role and move the organization forward without missing a beat. Ms. Fluharty’s energy and charisma are contagious, and she is a compassionate and highly credible voice for the immigrant population, badly needed reforms, and a better path forward. The Board could not be more excited about her hire and the future under her leadership.”

AI Justice is extremely grateful to the Search Committee. They worked tirelessly, contributing in unexpected and important ways at every stage of the process. The committee worked closely with Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group (www.marcumllp.com) and is indebted to Marcum’s Karen Schuler and her team for their support during a challenging process in a rapidly changing market.

AI Justice, which has just celebrated its 25th Anniversary, is an award-winning non-profit law firm that fights for justice for immigrants through a combination of direct representation, impact litigation, advocacy and outreach. In Florida and on a national level, AI Justice champions the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocates for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serves as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; fights to keep families informed, empowered and together; and pursues redress on behalf of immigrant groups with particular and compelling claims to justice.  For more information on AI Justice, its legal programs, and its accomplishments, please visit www.aijustice.org or AI Justice’s social media accounts linked below.

###

Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) is an award-winning non-profit law firm that fights for justice for immigrants through a combination of direct representation, impact litigation, advocacy and outreach. In Florida and on a national level, it champions the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocates for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serves as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; fights to keep families informed, empowered and together; and pursues redress on behalf of immigrant groups with particular and compelling claims to justice.