Silverthorne resident opens immigration law firm after sponsoring Haitian boy on a school visa – Summit Daily

Local Local |

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct where the Ohayons lived during their first stint in Summit County and when they moved back as well as the spelling of a name.
In 2018, Jaci Ohayon and her family, who formerly lived in Silverthorne, helped sponsor a Haitian boy named Jonas Thermitus so he could move to the United States. The Ohayon family met him while on a trip to the Dominican Republic, and with his mother’s blessing, they helped him secure a school visa so he could attend The Peak School in Frisco.
Today, Thermitus is still attending school in the U.S., and Ohayon is opening a brick-and-mortar immigration law office in Frisco.
Ohayon has 15 years of experience as an immigration lawyer, but at the time of meeting Thermitus, she was on a leave of absence. She had just lost a particularly difficult asylum case and was questioning whether the line of work was meant for her.
“You really give them your heart and your soul when you work so intimately with a client, especially when a client can often be hopeless,” Ohayon said. “To try to channel that hope and keep it alive and work so hard — to get to the point where a judge doesn’t believe your client is heartbreaking.”
Ohayon said she’s had a passion for immigration law since she was in school. Her husband is an immigrant, and she said she feels strongly about giving people a voice and the tools they need to be successful in the U.S.
After meeting Thermitus, and during the effort to sponsor him and get him a school visa, she felt reinvigorated and began practicing again in 2018, the same year Thermitus arrived in Summit County.
When he moved in 2018, Thermitus started suffering from severe symptoms of living at a high elevation. The family moved from Summit County to a lower elevation in Vermont, but Ohayon said they had trouble finding a school that would accept Thermitus’ visa.
Eventually, Thermitus attended a boarding school near Spokane, Washington. The Ohayon family moved back to Summit County in October 2021. They now live in Silverthorne, and the couple’s two kids attend The Peak School.
During that time, Ohayon continued to practice immigration law, but in December, she decided to merge her practice with a colleague who lives on the East Coast. Together, she and Meagan Neil formed Ohayon Neil Immigration Law.
Ohayon said merging the practices allows the two lawyers to add more brainpower to their caseloads.
“When you’re a solo practitioner, you only have so much capacity, and so picking and choosing cases is extremely necessary because you only have so much time you can spend on each case,” Ohayon said. “So combining firms with Meagan, now there’s two attorneys, so there’s two legal minds on things. We’ve got big plans to expand.”
Ohayon does a little bit of everything with a small emphasis in business immigration law, while Neil focuses on family immigration law. The firm’s website states that it also helps with humanitarian immigration, investor visas and citizenship, as well as student, cultural exchange and tourist visas.
Though a good portion of her clients are based outside state lines, Ohayon said she envisions working with local clients, too.
Peter Bakken — executive director of Mountain Dreamers, a Summit County-based nonprofit whose mission is to support local immigrants and their families — said there are a few lawyers providing immigration law services in the county, but there’s still a considerable demand for this work.
“There’s a big need for immigration legal services in Summit County and in the region,” Bakken said. We don’t have the resources up here that exist in the bigger cities or along the Front Range, so as you get into rural areas of Colorado, it’s really difficult to find legal help for immigration matters.”
The new office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays by appointment only. The firm can be reached by visiting its website at ONILawfirm.com or calling 970-680-1223. It’s located at 610 Main St. in Frisco.
Jonas Thermitus, middle, stands with the Ohayon famliy — including from left Eleeana, Maxeme, Jaci and Stéphane — in 2018 after arriving in the United States. The Ohayon family took Thermitus in after meeting him in the Dominican Republic in 2017. The family set him up with a student visa so he could attend The Peak School in Frisco.
Lisa Craig/Courtesy photo
Jonas Thermitus, from left, stands with the Ohayon family — including Maxeme, Stéphane, Eleeana and Jaci — in 2017. The Ohayon family took Thermitus in after meeting him in the Dominican Republic that year. The family set him up with a student visa so he could attend The Peak School in Frisco.
Jaci Ohayon/Courtesy photo
Jonas Thermitus is pictured in 2021. Thermitus was sponsored by the Ohayon family, who lives in Silverthorne, to attend school in Summit County after they met in the Dominican Republic in 2017.
Jaci Ohayon/Courtesy photo
Show CaptionsHide Captions

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

Are you readyfor the ski season?Start off on the right foot.Hiring for all frontof house positions.Dont be the lastone in…

$3,500 hiring bonus for CDL Drivers at Copper Mountain! $23/hour pay, Housing available starting at $400/mo, opportunity for OT, free…

Now HiringShuttle Driver$17/hr + tipsFT/SeasonalSki Pass or BonusApply Online:Jobs.eastwest.com

Gravity Haus Vail is Now Hiring Full Time, Year Round Positions$1000 sign up bonus after 90 days$1000 referral program for…

Position Summary: The Outlet Store Sales Associate will be responsible for aspects of store sales, store operations, customer service, and…

Patient Experience Concierge/ Front DeskFrisco, CODescriptionThe Patient Experience Concierge / Front Desk is responsible for providing proactive assistance to patients…

Summit Fire & EMS is now accepting applications for: Firefighter Paramedic EMS Coordinator (non-firefighter) Full-time, year round with excellent benefits…

Responsibilities include communicable disease control, immunization coordination, emergency preparedness, interagency collaboration, health education, lead surveillance, health screenings, and acti…

Cooks Full & Part time / Seasonal, Holiday and Year Round positions Housing, Ski Pass and Benefits Available Apply now…

Owner Support Specialist Your New Mountain Lifestyle Career Starts Today! Work in a fun, team centric environment helping clients maximize…

The Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences, VailNow Hiring Cook II Cook III Housekeepers Room Attendant Houseman Ski Valet A…

Hiring Fulltime Delivery Drivers and Bartenders! Applicants must be able to work in a fast-paced restaurant and bar.>-Delivery Driver applicants…

Full job description posted at www.SummitSheriffCO.com. Open until filled. EOE.

Year-Round /Full-Time Positions:- Community Service Officers- Housing Manager- Human Resources Assistant – Maintenance Operators- Marina GM- Museum Guest Service Attendant…

At more than 80 award-winning properties worldwide, The Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen create experiences so exceptional that long after a…

Escrow Processor Title Company of the Rockies Career growth possible with entry level position. Must be detail oriented, personable, responsible…

– Drivers- DispatchersPERKS! Ski Pass, Rec Pass, Signing Bonus, Health Insurance, 401k & More!

WORK FOR AN OUTSTANDING COMPANY At Alpine Bank we go above and beyond to help our employees, customers and communities…

NOW HIRING$18.00 / Hour*Depending on Availability* SILVERTHORNE & FRISCO Free Meals Free Uniforms Flexible SchedulesTEXT WEN12 TO 25000 TO APPLY

* Experienced Bartender * Day Time Bar Supervisor* AM & PM Dishwasher* Lunch Servers

Place Legal Ad
Search Legal Ads
Real Estate
Service Directory
Farm and Ranch
Contact us
About us
Buy Photos
Submit an Obituary
Summit Daily E-Edition
Summit County Journal
AP News
Cookie List
Do not sell my personal information
Commercial Print Sales
Aspen – Snowmass
Craig – Moffat County
Glenwood Springs – Rifle
Park City – Utah
Steamboat Springs – Routt County
Vail – Eagle County
Winter Park – Granby – Grand County
Printing Press Jobs
©2005 – 2021 Swift Communications, Inc.


What's your reaction?

In Love
Not Sure

You may also like

More in:Diaspora

Comments are closed.