Kinnah named director of Immigration Assistance Center

Evelyn Kinnah

Evelyn Kinnah

ALBANY COUNTY — Evelyn A. Kinnah says she sees herself in almost every case she works on for a noncitizen.

Kinnah, a lawyer who was born in Ghana and raised in Liberia, was appointed this week as the new director of the Albany County Immigration Assistance Center, which serves 14 counties.

She lives in Delmar with her four children.

“I go home every night knowing full well that ‘there but for the grace of God go I,’” said Kinnah. “As deputy director of the Immigration Center, I have been proud to help ensure there is equity for immigrants in both the justice system and society.”

“Our Immigration Center, the first of its kind in the state, provides expert legal advice and resources to noncitizens that could ultimately determine their future in this country,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, in announcing the appointment. “Evelyn and her family escaped the extremely violent Liberian civil war with just the clothes on their backs. Her impressive experience as an attorney, passion to help others and her own pursuit of the American Dream make her the perfect choice for this leadership role to help others do the same.”

Kinnah immigrated to the United States in January of 1994, according to a release from McCoy’s office. She holds a bachelor of arts in political science and journalism and mass communications from St. Bonaventure University. She also earned a juris doctor degree from Cornell Law School and a master’s degree in public administration from the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs at Cornell University.

Kinnah was previously an associate counsel for the New York State Assembly Majority Leader, as well as an assistant corporation counsel for the city of Schenectady. Most recently, as an Albany County official, she has served as the commissioner of the Department of Human Resources, an assistant deputy county attorney, and as deputy director of the Immigration Assistance Center.

The center provides support, training, written resources, and legal advice to court-appointed defense attorneys throughout the Capital District and northern New York on the potential immigration consequences of criminal charges, convictions, and plea agreements and sentencing dispositions, appellate and post-conviction relief options, as well as Family Court matters.

The center also helps noncitizens living in Albany County with other immigration-related issues as well as translation services. In July of last year, the county launched a webpage to help immigrants know their rights and to be prepared for impending raids from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE raids. An Immigration Helpline was also set up at 1-833-373-2677.

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