Published January 20, 2011
Jennifer Bensman has been named the new program director of Immigration Legal Services of Catholic Charities Atlanta. She assumed the role after last year’s retirement of long-time director Sue Colussy,.
Bensman, who has been a staff attorney in the organization since 2004, said, “I am looking forward to meeting the challenges that we will be facing with the ever-changing climate of immigration issues.”
Joseph Krygiel, chief executive officer for Catholic Charities Atlanta, spoke about the importance of the Immigration Legal Services program and its leadership. “The need for competent immigration legal services is critical to many families and individuals in our community. It was imperative that we continue our level of program excellence to serve an increasing number of clients as efficiently and effective as possible.”
He added that his organization is recognized as a national leader in this area. “It was important for us to find the right person to follow the extraordinary work and leadership of our former director.”
Most recently Bensman has had oversight of the Detention Program and Legal Orientation Program (LOP). Prior to her work with Immigration Legal Services, she worked in law offices in Marietta and in Buffalo, N.Y., and as an immigration inspector for the Department of Justice in the Buffalo district.
She’s received numerous awards for her work, including expert speaker recognitions from key institutions and the Outstanding Legal Services Award from the State Bar of Georgia in 2005 and 2006. She was the inaugural recipient of the Georgia Asylum and Immigrant Network (GAIN)’s Mentor of the Year award in 2007. From 2006 to 2008, she was a board member of GAIN.
She has served as chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement liaison committee in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
Bensman earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and philosophy from Canisius College, Buffalo, and received her juris doctorate from Albany Law School, Union University, Albany, N.Y.
Joseph Galvin, Catholic Charities Atlanta’s chief operating officer, offered his support to the new director. “Jennifer has that well-established reputation throughout Georgia’s legal community, and she is a natural mentor and trainer.”
He said, “Her understanding of the intricacies of immigration law, coupled with her interactions with the staff, made her a great choice to lead.”
For more information about Catholic Charities, visit www.catholic charitiesatlanta.org or call (404) 881-6571.