Influential Immigration Attorney Goes Silver Screen

Film St. JudyAward-winning filmmakers have turned their attention to a Los Angeles-based immigration attorney responsible for changing asylum laws for women in the United States in the upcoming biopic film Saint Judy. The film centers on Judy Wood and her representation in the landmark case that allowed female refugees to be designated as a protected class.

Wood, whose practice centers on “complex immigration cases,” according to The Law Offices of Judy L. Wood site, argued against established law early in her career. According to a Deadline.com report on the making of the film, Wood represented an Afghani woman who sought refuge in the United States after becoming a target of the Taliban. The woman, who had attempted to open a school for girls in her country, was reported to the group by her own father.

Wood fought a tenacious battle in and out of court against established law and the case culminated in arguing before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” according to the article. “By winning the case, Wood single-handedly changed the law of asylum nationwide, allowing women to be designated a protected class — saving the lives of not only her client, but thousands of other female refugees who would have been sent back to their home countries where they faced certain death.”

At the crux of Wood’s approach is her conviction about the concepts around International Human Rights Law as they apply to the immigration courts.

“I went to court every day, when the halls were flooded with refugees from Central America. The cases were being denied,” Wood states in her site profile. “I was successful in a number of asylum cases using precepts of international law,”

Wood began her practice as a single mother in her mid-30s “after a vision she had of helping others who were suffering and in need,” according to the news report.

In discussing Saintt Judy, Sean Hanish, a producer on the film, told Deadline.com describes the story of Judy Wood as poignant.

“Wood — who has a quiet confidence and an intensity to do the right thing — and this Afgani woman together changed the world for the better,” he told Deadline.com. “This is a very timely story.”