IN RECOGNITION OF CAROLE WOOD, A 2004 RECIPIENT OF THE MARY PHILBROOK PUBLIC INTEREST AWARD -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 22, 2004)
Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and congratulate Carole Wood as a 2004 recipient of the Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award. This award is given annually by the Women's Law Caucus and the Association for Public Interest Law, in cooperation with the Rutgers University Law School and its Alumni Association, to acknowledge gifted, dedicated individuals who contribute outstanding work on behalf of social justice and equality.
Ms. Wood currently serves as the Immigration Coordinator at the Camden Center for Law and Social Justice. She has spent much of her career as a devoted advocate for indigent immigrants, beginning first with her work as a VISTA volunteer following her graduation from Chicago-Kent College of Law. From there, she went on to serve as supervising immigration attorney at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where she not only represented clients, but also trained attorneys and assisted community groups in their efforts. In addition to her current role at the Camden Center, which includes working with clients, training attorneys, and supervising students at the Rutgers Immigration Pro Bono Project, Ms. Wood is the Southern Regional Coordinator for the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network and the regional representative on statewide committees, a Lead Trainer for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, an extremely active member in the National Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and a member of the Diocese of Camden's Racial Justice Committee.
I have also had the honor and privilege of working with Ms. Wood personally. She has proved extremely responsive in the context of emergency constituent cases with which my district office has dealt and has been more than willing to share her vast knowledge of immigration law with my staff in their efforts to aid my constituents. Additionally, over the past several years, she has proved invaluable in her efforts to assist my district office with the process of restructuring our immigration casework system. She has devoted considerable time to reviewing our existing system and meeting with the relevant staff in my office to modify the casework procedures to meet the new standards of the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Her suggestions and expertise were also instrumental in assisting my efforts to dramatically expand the BCIS presence in South Jersey; now, individuals needing the agency's services do not have to travel long distances to other parts of the state to have access to them. It is this dedication and assistance on the part of Ms. Wood that demonstrated to me why she was worthy of my personal nomination for this award.
Mary Philbrook, for whom the award is named, was the first woman admitted to the New Jersey Bar and a founder of the state's first statewide legal aid society, as well as an eminent leader in the efforts for women's suffrage and the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. It is in this tradition that the award is given each year, and it is clear that Ms. Woods' work has made her more than worthy of this recognition. She truly has demonstrated the difference that one person can make in the lives of others, and I offer her my congratulations and best wishes in her future endeavors.