Shelby County native, attorney honored for work in immigration law

WILMINGTON, N.C. – Shelby County native and associate attorney Katherine Haddock was recently recognized by Helen Tarokic Law PLLC for her work with immigration and nationalization law. Haddock has been practicing at Helen Tarokic Law since August 2017.

According to a press release from Helen Tarokic Law, Haddock prepares U visas, which is a United States nonimmigrant visa that allows crime victims and their immediate families who have suffered abuse and are willing to help law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the perpetrator to enter or remain in the United States.

Haddock, along with her colleagues at Helen Tarokic Law in North Carolina, are currently pursuing a federal suit against United States Citizenship and Immigration Services over delays in U visas and domestic violence-related immigration cases.

“Getting USCIS to finally act on their clients’ pending U visa cases has a lot of benefits, including the ability to obtain work authorization and unify families,” Haddock said. “USCIS has been sending requests for evidence that are unnecessary, making sloppy decisions, transferring cases for ‘faster processing’ without showing us any faster results and taking weeks to even respond to an email from their ‘hotline for lawyers.'”

Currently, Haddock said individual lawsuits against USCIS are being prepared and filed and the first step of Freedom of Information Act litigation has been completed.

“Many of our clients have been waiting years and years just to receive an initial decision on their U visa cases. They have been waiting years without work authorization or any kind of documentation, making it that much harder to recover and heal after the assaults and violence they have been victims of,” Haddock said. “With this suit, we are attempting to force the government to take some kind of action on their cases, whether it be approval, denial or a request for more evidence.”

Haddock has previously obtained naturalization status for an immigrant who suffered “extreme battery and cruelty” from her U.S. citizen spouse.

She was also able to procure accommodations for a disabled U.S. naturalization client who was unable to attend his naturalization hearing due to his handicap. Through Haddock’s efforts, the press release stated, the client’s caretaker mother will be able to reside with her son, and both will be sworn in at their residence.

“It has been extremely rewarding to assist our hard-working, deserving clients with their immigration cases,” Haddock said. “Our clients are from all parts of the world, and it’s exciting to hear their different stories and backgrounds.”

Haddock is a Birmingham native and Oak Mountain High School alumna who later became the valedictorian of her class at North Carolina State University and graduated cum laude and within the top 15 percent of her class at Wake Forest University School of Law. As a Wake Forest Law student, Haddock served as the Vice President of the Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition and Coordinator of the Immigration Pro Bono Project.

Haddock said she began learning Spanish at OMHS, and continued studying the language throughout her undergraduate school career. She also developed her Spanish skills in Valdivia, Chile.

“As I as approaching graduation from NC State with my undergraduate degrees in Sociology and International Studies, I knew that I wanted to use my Spanish language skills and international experiences to further social justice ideals and to serve my community,” Haddock said. “Once you get to know those in the immigrant community, you fall in love with their hard work and dedication to this country. Immigrants bring so much economic and cultural diversity to our country, so it has truly been a pleasure for me to learn about their lives and to assist them with their immigration cases.”

Haddock credited her background at OMHS, and specific teachers there, for part of her success.

“My teachers and guidance counselors at Oak Mountain High School provided me with an excellent educational foundation and appetite for knowledge – attributes that have carried me through law school and beyond,” Haddock said. “My Oak Mountain High School Spanish teachers, Mrs. Gandy and Mrs. Chapman, particularly inspired me to continue learning Spanish, travel and learn about different cultures and countries.”