Attorney Teresa Messer practices exclusively in the area of U.S. Immigration and Nationality law and has represented clients before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as before U.S. Consulates and Embassies, and the Immigration Court. Her immigration legal experience, commitment to her clients, and dedication to the legal profession has been recognized and awarded by the State Bar of Texas, The National Advocates, Avvo, and Lead Counsel. She has also been recognized by Texas Super Lawyers for inclusion in its 2017 Rising Stars list.
Attorney Messer’s own experience as the daughter of Vietnamese refugees cultivated her desire to assist other immigrants early on in her life. This desire ultimately led her to her calling – to help immigrants navigate through the complexities of U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law.
While in law school, Teresa worked in Thailand for BPSOS Coalition to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery in Asia where she assisted refugees, survivors of torture, and victims of human trafficking in applying for refugee status, seeking appropriate legal remedies, and preparing for resettlement. In addition, Ms. Messer represented individuals, families, and children in their applications for asylum and refugee protection, special immigrant juvenile status, and deferred action (DACA) when she was a Student Attorney in the South Texas College of Law Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic. Because of her volunteer work assisting immigrants and refugees while she was still a law student, she received the Pro Bono Honors Program Certificate by South Texas College of Law.
As an undergraduate at the University of Houston, Ms. Messer established a student organization that provided services such as English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, GED preparation, college admissions assistance, and clothing donations for refugees living in Houston. Ms. Messer was later recognized by the Darfurian Association of Greater Houston for her volunteer contributions to the refugee community of Houston.
Ms. Messer has written several immigration legal articles which have appeared in publications such as Law360 Expert Analysis, the University of Houston’s Online Law Journal, and Houston Young Lawyers Association Pocket Parts. She has presented on immigration law topics for organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the South Asian Bar Association, the Katy Bar Association, the Houston Northwest Bar Association, the National Business Institute, and Lawline.
Ms. Messer enjoys teaching and mentoring law students. She has guest lectured a family immigration course at Thurgood Marshall School of Law and supervised law students at the South Texas College of Law Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic.
Ms. Messer believes it is important to give back to her community. She has volunteered her immigration legal services at non-profit organizations such as YMCA International Services, United We Dream, Kids in Need of Defense, and Lawyers Against Human Trafficking. Today, she serves as a board member of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, BPSOS (Boat People SOS), and Lawyers Against Human Trafficking. Teresa also serves on the AILA National Committee on VAWAs U’s and T’s, as well as the State Bar of Texas Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality Committee. Attorney Messer received her Juris Doctor Degree from South Texas College of Law and is admitted to the State Bar of Texas.
- State Bar of Texas, Member
- State Bar of Texas, Committee on Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality, Member
- American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Texas Chapter Member
- American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), National Committee on VAWA’s U’s and T’s, Member
- American Bar Association, Member
- Asian American Bar Association of Houston, Member
- Houston Bar Association, Member
- Houston Northwest Bar Association, Board Member
PRO BONO/COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
- BPSOS-Houston (Boat People SOS), Board Member
- Lawyers Against Human Trafficking, Board Member
- Refugee Assistance Program of Houston, Founder
- Kids In Need of Defense, Volunteer Attorney
- YMCA International Services, Volunteer Attorney
- United We Dream, Volunteer Attorney
- Neighborhood Centers, Inc., Volunteer Attorney
- South Texas College of Law Asylum & Human Trafficking Clinic, Volunteer Supervising Attorney
- American Immigration Lawyers Association, The Trump Factor: Tackling Ethical Pitfalls and Stress in Uncharted Immigration Territory
- South Asian Bar Association Houston, Emergency Immigration CLE
- Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Family Based Immigration Course
- Houston Northwest Bar Association, Introduction to the US Refugee Admissions Process
- Katy Bar Association, Refugee and Asylum Law
- National Business Institute, Immigration Law: Handling the Most Common Types of Requests
- Lawline, The Basics of Affirmative Asylum
- United We Dream, DACA Workshop
- BPSOS-Philadelphia, ESL Citizenship Class
- AILA Leadership Blog, Shining a Light on Domestic Violence to Assist Immigrant Victims
- Law360, Examining the Merits of Texas’ Syrian Refugee Injunction
- Off the Record: Houston Law Review, Barred from Justice: The Duress Waiver to the Material Support Bar
- Pocket Parts: Houston Young Lawyers Association, How the Supreme Court Decision on DOMA Impacts Binational Same-Sex Married Couples
- Viet Philadelphia Newspaper, The Impact of DOMA on Immigration in Pennsylvania
- Texas Super Lawyers, 2017 Rising Stars
- State Bar of Texas, Asian Pacific Interest Section, Pro Bono Award
- Lawline.com, Top 20 Women Faculty of 2016
- The National Advocates, Top 40 Under 40 Recognition
- Lead Counsel, Lead Counsel Rating in Immigration Law
- American Institute of Legal Counsel, Client Satisfaction Award
- State Bar of Texas, Membership in College of the State Bar of Texas
- State Bar of Texas, Membership in Pro Bono College
- State Bar of Texas, Care Commitment Badge
- Avvo, Clients’ Choice Award
- South Texas College of Law, Pro Bono Honors Program Certificate
- Darfurian Association of Greater Houston, Certificate for Community Service
- Council of Ethnic Organizations, Woman of the World Award
- Order of Omega, Leadership Recognition
- Asians Against Domestic Abuse, Certificate for Community Service