Eleni Bakst is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic. Professor Bakst was most recently a senior attorney in the Detained Adult Program at the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition in Baltimore, Maryland. She maintained an active docket of cases before the immigration courts, Board of Immigration Appeals, federal district courts, and USCIS, and in addition, supervised staff attorneys and legal assistants, mentored pro bono attorneys, and advocated before state and local governments for increased legal representation programs and funding for universal representation for immigrants in removal proceedings.
Prior to working at CAIR Coalition, Professor Bakst worked at Human Rights First where she helped lead the organization’s strategic impact litigation efforts aimed at protecting access to asylum in the United States. She was co-counsel in federal lawsuits, including Damus v. McAleenan, a class-action lawsuit challenging ICE’s denial of parole to eligible asylum seekers, and O.A. v. Trump, which struck down the Trump administration’s 2018 asylum ban. She drafted amicus briefs before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Innovation Law Lab v. McAleenan and Rodriguez v. Jennings. She conducted legal, policy, and field research, as well as subsequent advocacy before the United States Congress and state and local legislatures, on issues including overuse of immigration detention, substandard immigration detention conditions, and other barriers to seeking relief from removal.
Professor Bakst holds a B.A. from American University and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law.