Heidi Boas, Esq.
Heidi Boas has dedicated her legal career to assisting asylum-seekers, refugees, and other immigrants through her work with the U.S. Government, United Nations, and non-profit organizations.
Ms. Boas joined Wilkes Legal in 2018 after four years of government service with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State. From 2014-2017, Ms. Boas worked at the Arlington Asylum Office, where she adjudicated the asylum claims of applicants from around the world. As a Senior Asylum Officer, Ms. Boas handled complex applications for asylum, including long-pending cases involving national security and terrorism-related issues. Ms. Boas also managed a team of asylum officers adjudicating applications for permanent residence under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA). In 2017, Ms. Boas transferred to the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, where she advised senior officials on policy issues related to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
Ms. Boas began her legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow with the Immigration Legal Services program at Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C. During her six years at Catholic Charities (2007-2013), Ms. Boas was promoted to Senior Attorney and successfully represented hundreds of clients in humanitarian and family-based immigration cases before USCIS, the Immigration Courts, Department of State, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. As an attorney, Ms. Boas has focused on serving the African immigrant and refugee community in the Washington, D.C. area. Ms. Boas has represented clients from over 40 African countries and founded the African Women’s Empowerment Workshop in 2008 to empower African women who are survivors of domestic violence. This workshop has helped improve the lives of hundreds of African immigrant women by providing them with information about their legal rights and connections to social services for survivors of domestic violence.
In 2012 and 2013, Ms. Boas worked as a Resettlement Consultant with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Senegal and Uganda. At UNHCR, Ms. Boas analyzed the resettlement eligibility of refugees from across Africa and processed their cases for submission to the United States and other resettlement countries.
Ms. Boas has delivered immigration law trainings to major law firms and prominent organizations including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (D.C. Chapter), Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and Physicians for Human Rights.
Heidi Boas is a graduate of Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall) and Stanford University. She is barred in Maryland and speaks French and Spanish.
Press and Publications
- Lawsuit Challenges Administration's Crackdown on Asylum Seekers, Joel Rose (Correspondent), All Things Considered, National Public Radio (NPR), August 7, 2018.
- Interview on Asylum Law with All Things Considered, Audie Cornish (Host), National Public Radio (NPR), May 7, 2018.
- Will America Shut Its Doors to Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence?, immigrationcourtside.com, April 5, 2018.
- Tips from a Former Asylum Officer, The Asylumist, March 25, 2018.
- Understanding Cultural Perspectives on Domestic Violence in African Immigrant Communities, American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence E-Newsletter, Vol. 13 (Winter 2009).
- The New Face of America’s Refugees: African Refugee Resettlement to the United States, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Vol. 21, No. 3, 431 (Spring 2007).
- Field Visit to Refugee Communities in Jaqué, Panama, Refview (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Bureau for the Americas, October 2006).
- The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act: Preventing the Abuse and Exploitation of Foreign Women, Domestic Violence Report, Vol. 11, No. 4, 57-58 (Civic Research Institute, April/May 2006).