By Stefanie Bradshaw
Jenna Carl, Deputy Director of Immigration & Legal Services at Catholic Charities of Dallas, is this month’s One to Watch. Although Jenna has been practicing law for less than four years, she has already made impressive contributions to the legal community, immigrants in the Dallas area and the community at large.
After obtaining her law degree, Jenna began her legal career as a Staff Attorney at Catholic Charities of Dallas working with victims of domestic and violent crimes by helping them obtain immigration benefits. Jenna quickly worked her way up, taking on the role of Site Manager and overseeing the opening of a new Immigration and Legal Services office in West Dallas. In her role as Site Manager, Jenna worked closely with potential clients and service providers in West Dallas in order to build relationships and trust. Currently, Jenna is Deputy Director of Catholic Charities advocating for unaccompanied minors and overseeing grant funding and the management of both Catholic Charities offices in Dallas, in addition to day-to-day legal work.
During her time at Catholic Charities, Jenna has participated in numerous news conferences relating to victim-related immigration benefits. She has appeared on Univision, Telemundo, WFAA and the Associated Press, as well as other news outlets. In addition to speaking about immigration benefits for crime victims, Jenna has spoken with the media and educated the public on issues relating to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the unaccompanied minors surge last summer. Jenna has also spoken at numerous CLEs on immigration issues in addition to speaking with students at her alma mater, Austin College, last fall. In October, Jenna will give a presentation at the UT CLE on Immigration.
Jenna has always had a passion for helping the less fortunate and those who cannot speak for themselves. Jenna went to law school hoping to one day work in a non-profit setting helping immigrants with the complicated and overwhelming process of obtaining legal status and dealing with deportation proceedings, among other complex immigration matters. Jenna says she is truly blessed and honored to be doing exactly what she set out to do. Jenna thanks her parents for instilling in her a deep passion and desire to help others.
Jenna’s passion for helping others does not end when she leaves the office. Jenna participated in the 2014 DAYL Leadership Class and played an active role in ensuring their class project, Crawfest: Claws for a Cause, benefitting the North Texas Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Program, was a huge success. Jenna is also Co-Chair of DAYL’s Lawyers Against Domestic Violence Committee and is working closely with the Dallas Bar Association to form an Immigration Section within the DBA.
In her free time, Jenna enjoys hot yoga, running, spending time with family and friends, volunteering as an adult sponsor with the youth group at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas and planning her upcoming wedding. Jenna looks forward to continuing to work to expand access to legal services for those seeking immigration benefits and hopes to become certified with the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality.