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Andrea Montavon-McKillip

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Bio

Andrea Montavon-McKillip is an Immigration Attorney with Maney Gordon Zeller, P.A. She has been practicing for the past 20 years. She is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Florida Bar (2013) and is a member of the Florida (2008) and Illinois (2002) Bars. Ms. Montavon-McKillip is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and a prior Board member and officer of the South Florida chapter of AILA. She served on the Clients’ Security Fund Committee of the Florida Bar from 2012-2018.

Attorney Montavon-McKillip became personally involved in immigration law when, while working as an immigration paralegal in Chicago, she helped the immigration lawyers she worked for prepare her husband’s immigration case. This personal experience taught her how fundamental the U.S. immigration system is to U.S. families and businesses and motivated her to go to law school to become an immigration attorney.

Attorney Montavon-McKillip received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Spanish with College Honors from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997, after spending her junior year studying at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain.

In 2002, Attorney Montavon-McKillip received her Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, where she was Senior Articles Editor for the Arizona Law Review and served as a student attorney in the Immigration Law Clinic.

After her admission to the Illinois Bar, Attorney Montavon-McKillip worked for the State Appellate Defender in Chicago, Illinois, handling criminal appeals and arguing before the First District Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court. After moving to the Fort Lauderdale area in 2007, she worked in private practice as an immigration lawyer, dealing with the full spectrum of immigration law issues and representing immigrants throughout South Florida. In 2017, she became the Supervising Attorney of the Immigration Unit of Legal Aid Service of Broward County and helped to grow the Immigration Unit from 1 attorney and 1 paralegal to 5 attorneys and 3 paralegals. While she was Supervising Immigration Attorney at Legal Aid, the Immigration Unit won the South Florida AILA Pro Bono Champion Award for its work assisting Somali refugees in class action litigation (2017-18) and for its work assisting immigrant survivors of the Parkland school shooting obtain U visas (2019-20). Attorney Montavon-McKillip has presented at several Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars and immigration clinics and has published articles in various legal publications.

In 2021, Attorney Montavon-McKillip moved to the Tampa area and joined Maney Gordon Zeller, P.A.

Languages – fluent in English and Spanish, working knowledge of French and Portuguese

Admission to Practice

  • 2002 – present; Illinois Bar, Member (currently voluntarily inactive)
  • 2008 – present; Florida Bar, Member, 2012-18 Client Security Fund Committee Member, 2013-present Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law
  • 2009 – present; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • 2011 – present; U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • 2018 – present; U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida

Associations

  • 2021 – present; Central Florida AILA, Member
  • 2007 – present; South Florida AILA, Member, 2014-15 Board of Directors, 2015-16 Secretary, 2016-17 2nd Vice President/Website Administrator
  • 2007 – present; AILA National, Member, 2016-18 Distance Learning Committee Member, 2011-12 Board of Publications, 2009-11 Military Assistance Project (MAP)

Significant Decisions

  • Matter of Y.E.S.L., ID# 6980412 (AAO Oct. 14, 2020) (reversing USCIS denial of SIJS)
  • Gayle v. Meade, 2020 WL 2086482 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 30, 2020) (granting TRO in class action challenging civil immigration detention during pandemic)
  • Matter of Y.A.V.C., ID# 04976034 (AAO Jan. 27, 2020) (reversing USCIS denial of SIJS)
  • Matter of M.S.A., AXXX-XXX-XXX (BIA Mar. 19, 2019) (reopening removal case for Somali client based on changed country conditions)
  • Ibrahim v. Acosta, 2018 WL 582520 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 26, 2018) (finding jurisdiction and denying government motion to dismiss in class action to stop removal of Somalis)
  • Lopez Barillas v. ICE, 697 Fed. Appx. 624 (11th Cir. 2017) (remand in habeas challenging prolonged immigration detention of asylum seeker)
  • Rila v. State, 218 So. 3d 448 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017) (reversing denial and remanding motion for post-conviction relief in criminal case with immigration consequences)
  • Matter of Y.S.M., AXXX-XXX-XXX (BIA Feb. 3, 2017) (reverse and remand denial of asylum based on sexual orientation)
  • Matter of K.S.L.B., AXXX-XXX-XXX (BIA Feb. 3, 2017) (reverse and remand denial of asylum based on sexual orientation)
  • Matter of F.A., AXXX-XXX-XXX (BIA Jun. 28, 2016) (reopening and terminating removal proceedings based on grant of I-751 petition)
  • Matter of N.S., AXXX-XXX-XXX (BIA Feb. 19, 2016) (reverse/remand denial of waiver of criminal conviction based on failure to make hardship findings)
  • Matter of C.R.-M., AXXX-XXX-XXX (BIA Apr. 2, 2015) (reverse/remand denial of cancellation of removal based on failure to consider hardship evidence)
  • White v. A.G., No. 13-12620 (11th Cir. May 6, 2014) (reverse/remand denial of motion to reopen removal proceedings involving IAC and waiver of criminal conviction)
  • Ruiz-Turcios v. Holder, 717 F. 3d 847 (11th Cir. 2013) (remand on rehearing of denial of motion to reopen removal proceedings in case involving IAC and equitable tolling)
  • Friendly House v. Whiting, 10-01061, Doc. 447 (D. Ariz. Oct. 8, 2010) (contributed to AACJ amicus brief in challenge to Arizona’s SB1070)
  • Tokarz v. TRG,08-60190, 2008 WL 4533917 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 6, 2008) (omnibus order granting motions to compel discovery)
  • People v Rodriguez, No. 1-06-0300 (Ill. 1st Dist. 2007) (remand for new trial based on improper jury voir dire)
  • People v. Ochoa, No. 1-05-1848 (Ill. 1st Dist. 2007) (remand for new trial in murder case based on improper hearsay testimony of co-defendant)
  • People v. Jakes,No. 1-04-1388, 931 N.E.2d 366 (Ill. 1st Dist. 2006) (remanding post-conviction petition for evidentiary hearing based on evidence of police abuse and IAC)
  • People v. Gonzalez, No. 1-04-2775, 927 N.E.2d 333 (Ill. 1st Dist. 2006) (remand for new sentencing hearing based on sentencing based on incorrect version of law)
  • Conlon v. Bailey, 98-CV-346 (D. Ariz. Aug. 27, 2001) (habeas grant releasing from parole term – involved as student attorney)

Speaking Engagements/Publications

Don’t Hold Back! Filing in Federal Court, AILA South Florida’s 42nd Annual CLE (Miami), Feb. 2021

Rainbow Justice Project: Immigration Clinic for the LGBTQ Community, hosted by World AIDS Museum (Facebook Live), Aug. 2020

Public Charge, Presentation at the Children’s Services Council (Fort Lauderdale), Dec. 2019

Immigration Basics for Caregivers, Presentation at Kids in Distress (Fort Lauderdale), Apr. 2019

U Visa Training for Law Enforcement, Presentation to LEOs at PBA (Dania), Mar. 2019

State of Latinos in Sunrise: Immigration, Metropica Panel (Sunrise), Oct. 2018

Future Americans, Presentation for Taxpayer Advocate Service (Plantation), Sep. 2018

Immigration Basics for Child Welfare Professionals, Presentation to ChildNet (Fort Lauderdale), Jun. 2018

The Great Escape: Advanced Detention Issues, CLE: AILA South Florida’s 38th Annual Immigration Law Update (Miami), Mar. 2018

Contributed case summaries to Federal Litigation Update, quarterly publication produced by Georgia, Alabama, and Florida chapters of AILA, Feb. 2018 – May 2019

Petitions for Review Mechanics – Parts I & II, AILA South Florida Litigation Committee CLE (Miami), Dec. 2017 and Jan. 2018

Psychological Evaluations for Immigration Cases, Presentation to Graduate Psychology Department of Nova Southeastern University (Davie), Nov. 2017

Immigration 101, Legal Aid Presentation, Aug. 2017

Advocacy for TPS and DACA Recipients in Detention & Removal Proceedings, AILA South Florida CLE (Davie), Jul. 2017

Family Preparedness Plan, published by Broward Immigrant Families in 03/2017, updated 12/2019

Detention/Detainers and Stays, CLE: AILA South Florida’s 38th Annual Immigration Law Update (Miami), Feb. 2017

Affidavit of Support and Issues with Unconventional Income & Assets, AILA South Florida Brown Bag Interactive Lunch series (Miami), Sep. 2016

Immigration Options for Domestic Violence Survivors: Immigration Law Basics for Mental Health Professionals, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services Training (Davie), Sep. 2016

Asylum, Withholding & CAT, CLE: Catholic Legal Services (Miami), Jul. 2016

I-751 Issues: Joint Petitions, Waivers, Renewals Before the Immigration Court & Dealing with Separation Issues, AILA South Florida Brown Bag Interactive Lunch series (Miami), Jun. 2016

Filing Procedures: Basic Requirements and Considerations, Navigating the Fundamentals of Immigration Law (AILA Publications) (2016-17, 2015-16, 2014-15, 2013-14, 2012-13 eds.)

Overview of Immigration Law and Legislative Update & Court Procedures, CLE: SES Today’s Issues in Immigration Law and Practice (Miami), Mar. 2016

Hot Issues in Asylum, Withholding and CAT Cases, CLE: AILA South Florida’s 37th Annual Immigration Law Update (Miami), Feb. 2016

Naturalization Volunteer Training, AILA Citizenship Day, AILA South Florida (Miami), Sep. 2015

Motions to Vacate in Florida, CLE: CLS Removal Defense & Federal Court Lit. (Miami), Jul. 2015

Affirmative Immigration Benefits for Survivors of Violent Crime, CLE: Representing Women and Children from Central America (Miami), Jun. 2015

Victims of Crime Visas-VAWA, U, and T-Visas, and Considerations when working with Victims of Domestic Violence, CLE: Women with Children from the Border Surge of 2014 (Miami), Mar. 2015

I-130s and Non-LPR Cancellation, Introduction to Removal Proceedings, Presentation to Graduate Psychology Department of Nova Southeastern University (Davie), Jan. 2015

Introduction to Removal Proceedings, and Victims of Crime: U Visas, T Visas and VAWA, CLE: Representing Unaccompanied Children in Immigration Court Proceedings (Miami), Nov. 2014

Asylum, CLE: Representing Unaccompanied Children in Immigration Court (Miami), Oct. 2013

I-9 Employer Compliance, CLE: Fundamentals of Employment Law (Miami), Oct. 2013

Bond Proceedings Before the Broward Transitional Center Immigration Court and Requesting Release from DHS, CLE: Representing Immigrants in Bond Proceedings (Miami), Nov. 2012

Prosecutorial Discretion and Your Client, VOICE, March/April 2012

Prosecutorial Discretion & Stays of Removal, CLE: Basics of Removal Proceedings (Miami), Dec. 2011

Note, C.A.T. Among Pigeons: The Convention Against Torture, A Precarious Intersection Between International Human Rights Law and U.S. Immigration Law, 44 Ariz. L. Rev. 247 (2002)

Education

  • JD, cum laude, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, 2002
  • BA, College Honors, English Literature and Spanish, Washington University in St. Louis, 1997
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