NWIRP Staff Bios
Adela Ruiz, Accredited Representative – Adela is an accredited representative responsible for her own case load and for any other needs that the Granger office might have. To stay up-to-date with immigration law, Adela attends trainings and webinars provided by other agencies and attorneys. She has been an accredited Representative for more than 20 years, and is very proud to serve the immigrant community.
Irma Ramos, Receptionist – Irma has been the glue that holding the Granger office together since 1997. She is a caring liaison between community members and NWIRP legal staff, ensuring all people who come to our office are welcomed warmly and served effectively. She is also in charge of the office infrastructure we depend on, making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Eilish Villa Malone, Staff Attorney
Keally Cieslik, Staff Attorney
Laura Contreras, Directing Attorney – Mirta Laura Contreras became the directing attorney of the Granger Office after nearly two decades of practicing public interest law in Washington State. She was born and raised in Toppenish, Washington, and is the youngest in a family of Texas migrants/Tejanos who settled in Washington in the early 1930s. She has represented farm workers and immigrants in employment and family law cases, and is now directing the Granger office as well as representing clients in removal defense cases. She earned her J.D. from the University of Oregon, and B.A. from the University of Washington.
Mariah Ferraz, Staff Attorney – Mariah is a staff attorney and represents survivors of crime and individuals in removal proceedings. She earned her B.A. in Political Science and Canadian American Studies at Western Washington University and her J.D. at the University of Washington School of Law. In law school Mariah focused on assisting immigrant survivors of crime through the University of Washington Immigrant Families Advocacy Project.
Norma Barajas, Staff Attorney
Norma Gutierrez, Accredited Representative – Norma is an accredited representative who assists immigrant crime victims. She has been employed at NWIRP since 2003 after working as a Legal Advocate and domestic violence counselor for 4 years at Lower Valley Crisis and Support Services in Sunnyside, Washington.
Vanessa Montoya, Staff Attorney – Vanessa Montoya has a long history of public service work in Eastern, Washington. She is a first generation Mexican American from Pasco, Washington who earned a B.A. from Gonzaga University and a J.D. from the University of Idaho College of Law. Vanessa has been involved with DACA since its inception in 2012, and has helped hundreds of DREAMERs apply. As a staff attorney in Granger, Vanessa represents clients in affirmative immigration petitions—Naturalization, U visa, DACA—and in removal proceedings.
Aaron Korthuis, Staff Attorney (Impact Litigation) – Aaron is a staff attorney with the Impact Litigation Unit, where he helps represent individuals pursuing their rights in federal court. He originally came to NWIRP as as a Yale Law Journal Fellow. Prior to working at NWIRP, Aaron served as a law clerk to the Hon. Christopher F. Droney on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He earned a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. from Whitworth University. Aaron grew up in the northwest part of Washington.
A.J. Johnson, Accredited Representative (VAWA) – AJ is an accredited representative in the VAWA Unit. He assists victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes in completing applications for various forms of relief. He also works with community partners at Skagit Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services in receiving referrals and providing support.
Anarose Reardon-Helferd, Staff Attorney (RDU) – Anarose is a staff attorney representing clients in a wide range of immigration matters including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions, removal defense, asylum applications, and protections for survivors of domestic violence and other crimes. She graduated summa cum laude from Seattle University with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish. Anarose earned her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law where she focused on immigration and employment law.
Annie Farber, Legal Advocate (VAWA) – Annie is a legal advocate in the VAWA Unit. She assists clients in petitioning for immigration relief under the Violence Against Women Act. Annie works with community partners at New Beginnings and Domestic Abuse Women’s Network in receiving referrals and providing support.
Ashley Piper, Staff Attorney (VAWA) – Ashley is a Staff Attorney for the VAWA Unit. She represents survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking obtain immigration relief through VAWA Self Petitions, U visas, T visas and asylum. Ashley obtained her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Montana State University and J.D. from the University of Montana. Ashley focused both her undergraduate and legal studies on immigrant advocacy in the states of Montana and Washington.
Audrey Gilliam, Staff Attorney (Asylum) – Audrey is a staff attorney in the Asylum Unit. Prior to joining NWIRP, Audrey represented immigrant survivors of labor and sex trafficking as a Skadden Fellow at the National Immigrant Justice Center. She was also an Attorney Advisor with the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, at the El Paso Immigration Court. Audrey earned her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Villanova University with a B.A. in sociology and Spanish. She is licensed to practice in Illinois.
Bruna Estrada Fortanelli, Staff Attorney (RDU) – Bruna is a staff attorney representing individuals in removal proceedings. She earned her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law and is a 2014 Gates Public Service Law Scholar. Prior to joining NWIRP, Bruna worked as a director of college counseling and as an AmeriCorps member where she helped first generation students, mostly immigrant youth, attend college.
Bruce Yasutake, Grants and Contracts Associate – Bruce Yasutake is a Grants and Contracts Associate for the Development Unit. Before coming to NWIRP, Bruce managed contracts and quality assurance at the YMCA, and prior that, he had a career at the Washington State Department of Commerce managing grants for homeless and low-income energy assistance programs. Bruce has a B.A.from Evergreen State College and an M.S.W. from the University of Washington. He brings expertise in grants and contracts management along with a deep passion for NWIRP’s mission.
Carolina Gomez, Administrative Associate – Before joining NWIRP, Carolina was an AmeriCorps service member at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC). Prior to that, Carolina taught undergraduate Spanish courses in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of New Mexico, where she earned her degrees. Carolina has a Masters in Latin American Studies, with emphasis on human rights and anthropology, a B.S in Signed Language Interpreting, and a B.A in Portuguese.
Chiyo Crawford, Associate Director – Chiyo’s passion for immigrant rights is rooted in her family’s story, her former career as a social justice literature professor, and her antiracism community work. Today, she is honored to be a part of the NWIRP family, working alongside her colleagues and the immigrant community for justice and systemic change. Her work focuses on grants and contracts compliance, internal organizational systems, and program outcomes evaluation. Chiyo was born in Tokyo, grew up in Tacoma and Seattle, and lives in Seattle with her partner, James, and their daughter, Aela.
Christopher Collado, Staff Attorney (FSU) – Chris is a staff attorney in NWIRP’s Family Services Unit, providing direct representation to individuals applying for family-based visa petitions and in removal proceedings. He is a first generation Filipino American and is a native of Seattle, Washington. He earned his J.D. from Seattle University and B.A. from Central Washington University.
Chris Strawn, Staff Attorney (Asylum) – Christopher is a staff attorney and the director of the Asylum Unit since 2006. Previously he was an associate at the law firm of Gibbs Houston Pauw in Seattle, Washington, and a clerk for the Honorable Marsha J. Pechman, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington. He graduated from Harvard Law School and has a certificate in refugee studies from the University of Oxford.
Claudette (Claudia) Antuña, Psy.D Volunteer Forensic Psychological Evaluator – In 2012, Ms. Claudette “Claudia” Antuña obtained her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from the Washington School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in Seattle, her B.A. in Hispanic American Studies from the University of Miami in 1966, a Masters Degree in Social Work from Barry University in 1975 and in Health Services Administration in 1982. In her practicum and clinical internship with the Federal Way Psychology Clinic, she responded to referrals for forensic psychological evaluations requested by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project where she continues to provide pro bono services.
Cristal Ramos, Social Services Coordinator
Daniel Pérez, Accredited Rep., Intake & Outreach Coordinator – Daniel has been on NWIRP’s staff since 1997, and is currently the General Intake & Outreach Coordinator and BIA Accredited Representative in the Seattle office, where he supervises a team of general intake interns. He graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila in 1987 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Public Administration. He worked in different capacities in the Federal Department of Agriculture of Mexico from 1974-1988. He ran a private consulting office from 1988-1991. He is also a former professor at the Universidad Autónoma de la Laguna, in Torreón, Coahuila; México.
Deniz Uysal-Ferré, Accredited Representative (FSU) – Deniz Uysal-Ferré is a legal advocate and accredited representative in the Family Services Unit. She studied Spanish Language and Literature and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Ankara University in Turkey and received her Advanced Paralegal Certificate from Edmonds Community College in Edmonds, WA.
Elizabeth Eisenberg, Staff Attorney (RDU) – Elizabeth is a staff attorney in the Removal Defense unit in Seattle. Prior to joining NWIRP, she was a public defender at the Bronx Defenders in New York for six years. She practiced in criminal court for five years, and then joined the Bronx Defenders’ removal defense team with the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, an initiative to establish public defense in immigration court. Elizabeth earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in psychology and Spanish.
Emiko Smukler, Legal Advocate and Intake Coordinator (RDU) – Emiko is a Legal Advocate and Intake Coordinator in the Removal Defense Unit (LDN). She began at NWIRP as a General Intake volunteer. Prior to working at NWIRP, she served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Beaverton, Oregon. She graduated from Colorado College, where she studied Sociology and Chinese Language.
Guadalupe Ramirez, Human Resources Director
Henry Hwang, Staff Attorney (RDU) – Henry is a staff attorney in the Removal Defense Unit. Before joining NWIRP, he represented applicants seeking asylum or relief from removal. He earned his JD from the University of Michigan and his BA from the University of Pennsylvania. He is licensed to practice in New York, but prefers to play with his children in Seattle.
Janice Murray, Bookkeeper – Janice has been working with non-profit organizations as a volunteer and as a professional for thirty six years. She comes to NWIRP after working at the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association. Janice is in charge of the day-to-day bookkeeping operations for NWIRP.
Jenny Mashek, Directing Attorney (VAWA) – Jenny is the Directing Attorney of NWIRP’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Unit. The VAWA Unit represents immigrant survivors of violence with VAWA Self-Petitions, I-751 Waiver Petitions, U Visas, and T Visas, as well as removal defense. Jenny received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and her J.D. from the University of Iowa. She spent five years practicing law at Farmworker Legal Services of Michigan before joining NWIRP in May 2008.
John Sparks, Finance Director – John has been a financial manager/controller for various educational, social service, and cultural organizations in the Seattle area for the past 20 years. John is a licensed CPA and lives with his wife in Issaquah, WA.
Jordan Wasserman, Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney – Jordan provides direct representation to detained and non-detained individuals who are seeking immigration status and who are trying to avoid deportation. In his capacity as Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, Jordan manages NWIRP’s pro bono program. His role includes, among other things, being the primary contact and support for the hundreds of attorneys who represent NWIRP-referred clients on a volunteer basis. Jordan has been a staff attorney at NWIRP since early 2007. In that time, NWIRP’s pro bono program has doubled in size, and now refers out approximately 230 cases each year.
Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director – Jorge L. Barón has served as the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) since April 2008, having previously worked as a staff attorney with the organization for two years. Jorge’s passion in advocating on behalf of immigrants is firmly rooted in his own immigrant experience: he is originally from Bogotá, Colombia, and came to the United States at the age of thirteen. Jorge is a graduate of Yale Law School and Duke University and lives in Seattle with his wife Tyler and their three children, Isabella, Luna, and Luca. Click here for a longer biography. Click here for a high-resolution photograph.
Kaitlyn Schroeder, Staff Attorney (VAWA)
Kayley Bebber, Staff Attorney (CYAP) – Kayley Bebber is a staff attorney for NWIRP’s Children and Youth Advocacy Program. Prior to coming to NWIRP, Kayley was a staff attorney on Disability Rights Washington’s Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities (AVID) Jail Project. She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Cornell University.
Kevin Haag, Administrative Director – Kevin is an aspiring practical polymath who manages NWIRP’s office systems, infrastructure and human resources. He supervises Seattle’s front desk and the operations staff who ensure NWIRP runs smoothly behind the scenes. Kevin has a B.A. in Sociology, Spanish and International Development from Calvin College. He is honored to support NWIRP’s principle that a person’s dignity and human rights are not contingent on where they were born.
Kevin Hollinz, Staff Attorney (Citizenship) – Kevin is a staff attorney in the Citizenship Unit. Prior to joining NWIRP, Kevin worked on housing and criminal record issues and clerked in a U.S. District Court. He is a graduate of St. Norbert College (B.A.) and the University of Pennsylvania (J.D., M.P.A.).
Kevin Nuñez, Legal Advocate (CYAP) – Kevin is a legal advocate for the Children & Youth Advocacy Program at the NWIRP Seattle office. He assists children who are currently in removal proceedings and typically works to obtain immigration relief through Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or Asylum. Previously he was working as a social worker for unaccompanied immigrant youth who were under the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and received his MSW in 2014.
Leila Kang, Staff Attorney (Impact Litigation) – Leila represents individuals before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Federal Courts. She first joined NWIRP in June 2014 as a staff attorney at our Tacoma office, where she represented immigrant detainees in removal proceedings. Leila is a graduate of NYU School of Law and Brown University.
Lisseth Gaspar, Receptionist
Lizeth Garcia, Legal Advocate (CYAP) – Lizeth is the CYAP Legal Advocate in NWIRP’s Seattle Office. She earned her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington.
Maggie Cheng, Staff Attorney (Asylum) – Maggie is a staff attorney in the Asylum Unit. She is also the dedicated attorney for Northwest Health and Human Rights, a partnership between NWIRP, Harborview Medical Center, and Refugees Northwest to provide legal, medical, and mental health services to survivors of torture in WA. Prior to joining NWIRP, she was an Attorney Advisor with the US Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review. She earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Maha Khalil, Staff Attorney (VAWA) – Maha is a staff attorney with the Violence Against Women Act Unit (VAWA). Prior to joining NWIRP, Maha represented immigrants in a wide range of immigration matters with a focus on working with asylum seekers and clients in removal proceedings. Maha earned her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. She is licensed to practice in Texas.
Malou Chávez, Deputy Director – Malou is NWIRP’s Deputy Director and is also currently serving as a staff attorney in the Family Services Unit in Seattle. Malou directly represents people in family-based visa petitions and defends people in removal proceedings. Her prior work in NWIRP’s Moses Lake and Wenatchee offices focused on representing survivors of violence in rural eastern Washington obtain immigration relief. Malou received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and she is a graduate of Seattle University School of Law
Margaret Gaffney, Staff Attorney (Citizenship) – Margaret is a staff attorney who primarily handles citizenship cases. She joined NWIRP at our Granger office in 2005 and transferred to the Seattle office in 2014. She joined NWIRP after fourteen years as an Administrative Law Judge. Margaret obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Seattle University and her Law Degree from University of Washington.
Maria Kolby-Wolfe, Development and Communications Director – Maria Kolby-Wolfe currently serves as Director of Development and Communications for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and is proud to sit on the executive board of TeamChild. Previously, Maria acted as Director of Development for Path with Art and ACT Theatre, and enjoyed various positions with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Popular Culture and Swedish Medical Center Foundation. She was raised in Bellingham, WA, graduated from the University of Puget Sound, and achieved doctoral candidacy in American History at Northwestern University.
Matt Adams, Legal Director – Matt is the legal director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. His practice focuses on litigation in the federal courts. Matt is a member of the King County Public Defenders Advisory Board.
Meghan Casey, Supervising Attorney, Children & Youth Advocacy Program (CYAP) – Meghan is a supervising attorney with NWIRP’s Children and Youth Advocacy Program (CYAP) in its Seattle office. She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2012 and received her B.A. from Boston College. Meghan is admitted to practice in Washington State, and before the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She previously supervised NWIRP’s Tacoma & South Unit (TSU) out of NWIRP’s Tacoma office for two years, and was a staff attorney with the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), serving individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center. Meghan previously practiced removal defense/immigration law in private practice for two years before joining NWIRP and also volunteered as a NWIRP pro bono attorney.
Melissa Vue, Accredited Representative (Citizenship) – Melissa is an accredited representative and intake coordinator for the Citizenship and Naturalization Unit. NWIRP has inspired her passion for helping other immigrants who are seeking guidance. Melissa obtained her A.A. from Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. Her dream is to pursue a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Washington State University. Outside of work, she enjoys growing flowers at her farm and reading books.
Michele Suarez, Staff Attorney (CYAP) – Michele is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) staff attorney. She provides direct representation to clients and coordinates the DACA clinics. As a child of immigrants, she is passionate about serving the immigrant community. Michele has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Washington, where she graduated cum laude. She also earned her J.D. from the University of Washington. Before working at NWIRP, she worked in the juvenile and dependency units of the King County Department of Public Defense. She is a member of the William L. Dwyer American Inn of Court, and the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington.
Miguel Rivas Perez, IT Associate – Miguel is NWIRP’s IT associate. They work at NWIRP’s Seattle office. They provide technical support to all four of NWIRP’s offices. Before working as the administrative associate, Miguel worked as Receptionist and as Legal Advocate for Children and Youth at NWIRP. Miguel received their high school diploma from Shelton High School and currently studies computer science through Western Governor’s University. When they are not working, Miguel enjoys long, aimless walks (preferably on the beach), snacking, and sharing time with their family and friends.
Miriam Cervantes-Gomez, Accredited Representative (FSU) – Miriam is a legal advocate and accredited representative in our Family Services Unit. A long time employee of NWIRP, Miriam helps ensure immigrant rights are protected by keeping families together.
Mozhdeh Oskouian, Directing Attorney – Mozhdeh is the Directing Attorney of the NWIRP Seattle office. In August of 2006, she became the supervising attorney of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Unit. She became the directing attorney of NWIRP’s Seattle office in April 2015. Mozhdeh represents immigrant survivors of domestic violence affirmatively, before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and defensively, before the immigration court and the board of immigration appeals. She also represents clients’ interest before federal courts. Prior to joining NWIRP, she worked with the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child in Tehran, Iran to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran ratified in 1994.
Natasha El-Sergany, Staff Attorney (Citizenship) – Natasha is a staff attorney in Removal Defense unit and represents survivors of violence in obtaining U Visas, asylum, and other immigration benefits. Natasha earned a B.A. in English and a minor in Arabic from the University of Florida and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Before joining NWIRP Natasha worked as a staff attorney at Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, a volunteer attorney at several organizations across the Southeastern U.S., and as a legal services attorney in Miami, Florida.
Omar Haggag, Accredited Representative (Citizenship) – Omar is a legal advocate and accredited representative in the Citizenship Unit. He performs Citizenship intakes for potential clients and represents those who have submitted naturalization applications.
Pragya KC, Legal Advocate and Intake Coordinator (RDU) – Pragya is a legal advocate and intake coordinator in the Removal Defense Unit. She primarily works with individuals that are in removal proceedings. At NWIRP, she maintains her strong passion to work at an organization committed to equality and justice for all people, irrespective of their immigration status.
Rachael Scheibert, Legal Advocate (VAWA) – Rachael coordinates the residency applications for survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes in NWIRP’s VAWA unit. She earned her BA from Bard College in New York. Prior to joining NWIRP, Rachael worked as an immigration paralegal and volunteered as a labor rights advocate working to recover stolen wages for King County residents. She is passionate about immigration law and helping others access their rights.
Rachel Rubinstein, Staff Attorney (VAWA) – Rachel is a staff attorney in the VAWA unit. She first worked at NWIRP as an Americorps volunteer in 2006, and spent five years in the VAWA and Naturalization units before attending law school at Georgia State University.
Raul Alvarez, Development and Communications Coordinator – Raul is a communications professional in the development department. He is responsible for managing NWIRP’s website and social media content, crafting and coordinating media releases and press conferences, and ensuring that all NWIRP’s messaging is consistent with our mission, vision, and values. Raul earned an M.F.A from Columbia College Chicago and a B.A. from California State University Fullerton.
Rebecca Neff Brown, Donor Relations and Events Coordinator – Rebecca works within the development and communications department coordinating fundraising events. Prior to joining NWIRP in 2017, she partnered with arts nonprofits in Seattle to produce high-quality fundraising events, as well as fill in on other development-related needs. Rebecca earned her B.A. from the University of Georgia and grew up in Georgia, but after living on the West Coast for 10 years definitely thinks it is the “best coast.”
Rocio Martinez, Accredited Representative (VAWA) – Rocio is a legal advocate with the VAWA Unit. Shefirst joined NWIRP in May 2016 as a volunteer with the VAWA Unit. Rocio has several years of experience working as an immigration paralegal and feels privileged to be able to help people of so many ethnicities and cultural backgrounds with their immigration matters. She received her AA in Paralegal Studies and Political Science from Highline Community College in 2007.
Roxana Rahmani, Staff Attorney (VAWA) – Roxana is a staff attorney in the VAWA Unit, where she provides direct representation to immigrant survivors of violence. Prior to joining NWIRP as a legal fellow in the Children and Youth Unit, she was a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Catharine F. Easterly of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Reyna Carmona, Legal Advocate (VAWA)
Rus Batten, Philanthropy Officer – With nearly two decades of experience in the field of fundraising and communications, Rus finds great joy in helping donors and organizations achieve their goals. Before working at NWIRP, he served as the Director of Development and Communications at Refugee Women’s Alliance, Tacoma Community House, and the Pierce County AIDS Foundation. He currently serves as the Board Secretary of the Association of Fundraising Professionals South Sound Chapter as well as Chair of its Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Committee. Additionally, he’s also a member of both the South Puget Sound Planned Giving Council and the Washington Planned Giving Council.
Sara Flores, Receptionist – Sara enjoys helping people and hopes to learn more about the immigration system to help others understand the process. Coming from an immigrant family, Sara understands the struggles they face. Sara graduated from the University of Washington with a major in Sociology. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family.
Sefanit Ghezahegn, Accredited Representative (FSU) – Sefanit works as a legal advocate and accredited representative for the Family Services Unit at NWIRP.
Sofia Velling, Staff Attorney (Asylum) – Sofia is a staff attorney in the Asylum Unit. Prior to joining NWIRP, Sofia represented immigrants in various types of cases including asylum, removal defense, U visas, naturalization, and family petitions. She earned her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law School and her B.A. from the Western Washington University.
Stacy Nakagawa, Temp. Development Associate
Stephanie Martinez, Staff Attorney (VAWA) – Stephanie is an Equal Justice Works Crime Victims Justice Corp Fellow. She represents immigrant survivors of labor and sex trafficking. Stephanie obtained her B.A. from Cornell University, and earned her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law. Prior to joining NWIRP, Stephanie worked as a Litigation Associate at Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton, and then as an immigration attorney through her solo practice, where she focused on representing immigrants who were detained and placed in removal proceedings.
Sydney Maltese, Legal Advocate (Impact Litigation) – Sydney is a legal advocate in the Impact Litigation unit, where she supports the work of NWIRP attorneys fighting for the civil rights of immigrants in the federal courts. She obtained her BA from Marietta College. Prior to NWIRP, Sydney worked as a program coordinator at the Latino/a Educational Achievement Project (LEAP), a part of Sea Mar, advocating for legislation to benefit students in Washington state, and she served as Jesuit Volunteer in NWIRP’s asylum unit in 2014-2015.
Tess Duong, Accountant – Being part of an immigrant family, Tess truly understands the difficulties that immigrants have been facing in order to survive and live happily in this country. She is honored to join NWIRP’s team and ready to contribute to the growth of the organization. Tess obtained her B.A. degree in Finance from University of Washington. She has previously volunteered as a tax preparer for the United Way of King County in 2014. In her personal time, she enjoys cooking, yoga, and hiking.
Vanessa Reyes, Accredited Representative (VAWA) – Vanessa Reyes is an accredited representative with the VAWA Unit. She works with survivors of crime in preparing and completing forms for various types of relief and also works with community partners at Tacoma Community House in receiving referrals and providing support. Before starting as a full-time staff member, Vanessa was a yearlong volunteer at NWIRP through Lutheran Volunteer Corps. Vanessa received their undergraduate degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. Vanessa is a committed advocate for justice. In their spare time, Vanessa enjoys conserving energy (i.e. taking naps).
Yessenia Medrano, Staff Attorney (FSU) – Yessenia is a staff attorney in NWIRP’s Family Services Unit, providing direct representation to individuals applying for family-based visa petitions and in removal proceedings. Before joining NWIRP, she was a staff attorney with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Florence, Arizona, where she provided pro se assistance and direct representation to adults in detention facing removal. Yessenia attended Seattle University for both her undergraduate and law degree.
Alison Hollinz, Staff Attorney (ADI) – Alison provides direct representation and pro se assistance to individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and earned her B.S. in journalism and international studies from Northwestern University.
Andrea Lino, Supervising Attorney (ADI) – Andrea Lino is the supervising attorney for our ADI unit and provides individual representation for detainees. Andrea is an attorney in Guatemala and in the United States. She graduated from the University of Washington School of Law.
Anna Rae Goethe, Staff Attorney (TSU) – Anna Rae is a staff attorney in the Tacoma office. She represents children and families in removal proceedings and works to obtain immigration relief for her clients through Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and asylum, as well as affirmative petitions before USCIS. Prior to law school, Anna Rae was a preschool teacher in Thailand and spent two years as an AmeriCorps member. She obtained her B.A. from the University of Chicago and her J.D. from the University of Washington.
Anne Recinos, Staff Attorney (LOP) – Anne is a staff attorney providing pro se assistance and direct representation to individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center. She received her B.A. from Brown University and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Before joining the staff at NWIRP, she spent two years at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice on an Equal Justice Works Fellowship. She is originally from Miami, Florida.
Bill Schwarz, Probono Coordinator and Accredited Representative – Bill Schwarz is the pro bono coordinator for detained cases at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Bill is also an accredited representative who provides direct legal services to individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center.
Camila Maturana, Supervising Attorney (TSU) – Camila Maturana is the supervising attorney of Tacoma’s TSU Unit which works with migrants in removal proceedings, unaccompanied children, and asylum seekers. She received a J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and a B.A. from University of Chicago.
Chris Stanislowski, Supervising Attorney (DRRU/LDN) – Chris is a staff attorney in the Defender Referral and Representation Unit (DRRU). Along with the rest of the DRRU team, he provides in-depth case assessments for individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center who have clear ties to King County, WA. Following these assessments, Chris provides direct representation to those individuals who are eligible for immigration relief and cannot afford an attorney. DRRU also participates in outreach to public defender offices to ensure that a large number of individuals who are involved in the King County criminal justice system can receive representation in their subsequent immigration cases. Chris earned his J.D. and B.A. from New York University, as well a Masters of Science in Education from the City College of New York.
Elizabeth Benki, Supervising Attorney (LOP) – Elizabeth received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. After completing her undergraduate degree, she spent several years as an accredited representative at Catholic Charities in Houston, Texas, and has also worked with Jesuit Refugee Service in Malta and the Women’s Refugee Commission in Washington, D.C. In 2012, Elizabeth relocated to the Pacific Northwest and now supervises the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) at the Northwest Detention Center, which provides pro se assistance to detained individuals.
Emma Rekart, Staff Attorney (DRRU/LDN) – Emma is a staff attorney in the Defender Referral and Representation Unit (DRRU). She provides direct representation and pro se assistance to individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center. Prior to law school, she taught high school chemistry and English as a Second Language (ESL) for two years in Nashville, Tennessee. Emma earned her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She is originally from Vancouver, Canada.
Gina (Virginia) Cole, Office Manager – Gina (Virginia) Cole, Office Manager – Gina started as a legal advocate in the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) in 2006. With LOP, she worked to provide pro se legal assistance to individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center. As the Tacoma office expanded, her role shifted to full time office manager. She manages the office infrastructure, ensuring that the office runs smoothly and efficiently. Gina has a B.A. in Spanish and B.S. in Psychology from Arizona State University.
Jenifer Becerril Pacheco, Legal Advocate (LOP)
Jenna Golan-Strieb, Accredited Representative (LOP) – Jenna is a legal advocate working to provide pro se legal orientation assistance to immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center. She graduated in 2015 from University of Puget Sound with a B.A. in Spanish Language, Literature and Culture, Latin American Studies, and Global Development Studies. Prior to coming to NWIRP, Jenna was a legal assistant for another legal orientation program site in Washington D.C. and a member of AVODAH: Jewish Service Corps.
Jessie Rehms, Staff Attorney (ADI) – Jessie provides direct representation to individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center. Formerly a staff attorney at the Wenatchee office, Jessie has advocated for immigrant communities throughout Washington state. She earned her J.D. from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 2016 and is licensed to practice in Colorado. Beyond her work at NWIRP, Jessie is a volunteer ski patroller at Mission Ridge.
Julie Braker, Staff Attorney (ADI) – Julie is a staff attorney in NWIRP’s Advocating for Detained Immigrants (ADI) Unit. She provides direct representation to individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center. Prior to working at NWIRP, Julie worked in Portland, OR as a staff attorney at the non-profit Immigration Counseling Service and a legal fellow at Immigrant Law Group. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Karina Perez-Gonzalez, Accredited Representative (TSU) – Karina Perez-Gonzalez is an accredited representative in the Tacoma Survivors’ Unit (TSU). She assists unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, and immigrant crime survivors with various forms of immigration relief.
Lesly Avila, Staff Attorney (ADI)
Lisa Herrera, Staff Attorney (LOP) – Lisa is a staff attorney who provides pro se assistance and direct representation to individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center. Prior to working in Tacoma, she worked in NWIRP’s Wenatchee office where she focused on removal defense and helping children obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Lisa earned her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law and has a B.A. from the University of Washington.
Maria Cordero-Miranda, Accredited Representative (LOP) – Maria is part of the Legal Orientation Program where she works to provide pro se legal assistance to detainees at the Northwest Detention Center. Maria has a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Texas and a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Washington. Maria is a native of Nicaragua and enjoys helping others navigate the immigration system by providing the tools and information necessary to do so.
Mariajose Cordero, Legal Advocate (ADI) – MaríaJosé Cordero is a legal advocate at the Tacoma Office. She received her B.A. in international studies from Seattle University as well as a Master of Jurisprudence from the University of Washington School of Law.
Olivia Saldaña Schulman, Staff Attorney (LOP) – Olivia Saldaña Schulman provides direct representation to immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center. She primarily works with detained youth, representing them in immigration court, juvenile court, and before USCIS. She received her B.A. from Seattle University and her J.D. from New York University.
Selene Dominguez Peña, Staff Attorney (TSU) – Selene is our Equal Justice Works Crime Victims Justice Corps Fellow. Her focus is specifically on providing direct representation to survivors of human trafficking. She earned her J.D. from UNT Dallas College of Law in 2018 and is licensed to practice in the great state of Texas.
Suresh Sampath, Staff Attorney (TSU) – Suresh is a staff attorney in the Tacoma office assigned to the Tacoma Survivor’s Unit, which represents victims of crime, trafficking, and domestic violence to help them obtain immigration benefits. Prior to joining NWIRP, Suresh worked as a public defender for 7 years in the Four Corners region of New Mexico and on the island of Guam. Suresh also worked with Columbia Legal Services as an attorney in the Farmworker unit in Yakima. Prior to law school Suresh was an English teacher at Guangdong Ocean University, in Zhanjiang, China, an Americorps VISTA in Eugene, Oregon, and worked with Borderlinks in Nogales, Mexico on community development projects. Suresh earned a bachelor’s degree in Planning, Public Policy, and nonprofit management from the University of Oregon as well as a J.D. from the University of Oregon.
Stacy Kowalski, Staff Attorney (TSU) – Stacy is a staff attorney in NWIRP’s Tacoma and South Unit. She represents adults, children, and youth in affirmative and defensive immigration proceedings, primarily through applications for asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and through humanitarian relief for survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes. Prior to joining NWIRP, Stacy was a Judicial Law Clerk at the Tacoma Immigration Court. Before becoming an attorney, Stacy worked as a teacher and in social services. She earned her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and her Master’s degree in Bilingual Education from the Universidad de Alcalá.
Stephanie McAloon, Staff Attorney (DRRU/LDN) – Stephanie is a staff attorney in the Defender Referral and Representation Unit (DRRU) and provides direct representation to individuals detained at the Northwest Detention Center. Prior to joining NWIRP, Stephanie represented victims of crimes in their petitions before USCIS, as well as individuals in removal proceedings in Seattle. As a Rule 9, Stephanie also represented individuals in King County District Court as part of the ACA Division of King County’s Public Defender’s Office. She earned her B.S. from Washington State University and her J.D.from Seattle University. She is from the Tri-Cities.
Tim Warden-Hertz, Directing Attorney – Tim is the Directing Attorney for the Tacoma office of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Tim’s work at NWIRP focuses on representation and pro se orientation for individuals detained by immigration at the Northwest Detention Center. He is inspired each day by his coworkers and by people detained and fighting for their families and for their own safety. Prior to joining NWIRP, Tim was the Legal Director of the Immigration Law Programs at Catholic Social Services in Fall River, Massachusetts, a Staff Attorney with the Farmworker Division at Georgia Legal Services, and a Fellow/Attorney in the Immigration Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Will Lopez, Legal Advocate (ADI) – Will Lopez is a Legal Advocate in NWIRP’s Advocating for Detained Immigrants (ADI) Unit, where he works to provide legal assistance to individuals at the Northwest Detention Center. He received his B.A. from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where he studied English Literature and International Relations. He is originally from Los Angeles, California
April Brees, Staff Attorney – April Brees is a staff attorney in NWIRP’s Wenatchee office. April defends individuals in removal proceedings before the Immigration Court. She also defends children, asylum seekers, and survivors of domestic violence, trafficking and other crimes before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received a J.D. from Vermont Law School and a B.A. from the University of Washington.
Bethany Eichler, Supervising Attorney
Carmela Mendez, Receptionist – Carmela is the front desk coordinator/ legal advocate for the Wenatchee office. Prior to working at NWIRP, she worked at the Chelan County Prosecutor’s Office as a Victim/Witness Assistant. Carmela was born and raised in the Wenatchee area, comes from a family of immigrants, and enjoys assisting those in need navigate the immigration system.
Cecilia Anguiano, Staff Attorney
Christine Trigg, Volunteer Legal Advocate
Chrystal Arceo-Rosales, Accredited Representative – Chrystal is an accredited representative who works on various types of cases, including humanitarian based relief for survivors of crime and family based relief to help families stay together. Prior to working at NWIRP, Chrystal spent 8 years as a victim/witness advocate at the Chelan County Prosecutor’s Office. Chrystal is from the Wenatchee Valley, and she enjoys assisting those in her community who are navigating the immigration system.
Favio Perez, Staff Attorney – Favio is a staff attorney in our Wenatchee office. Prior to joining NWIRP, he most recently served as an Equal Justice Works legal fellow at Immigration Counseling Services in Portland where he focused on assisting survivors of trafficking.
Janet Moran, Accredited Representative – Janet is a legal advocate who helps victims of crime in eastern Washington obtain immigration benefits. Janet grew up in the Yakima Valley before earning her B.A. from the University of Washington. She is passionate about immigrant rights and serving her community.
Jasmine Mogollan Roa, Legal Advocate – Jasmine is a legal advocate and front desk coordinator in the Wenatchee office. Growing up in a small agricultural town called Bridgeport, she realized the great need for advocates in her area and other rural communities. Jasmine earned a B.A. from Central Washington University and hopes to become a lawyer in the future.
Kayla Moore, Staff Attorney
Teresa Smith, Staff Attorney
Vanessa Gutierrez, Directing Attorney – Vanessa Gutierrez is the Directing Attorney in the Wenatchee office. Advocating for access to legal services in rural areas is particularly important to Vanessa, and she has worked in many capacities in under-served areas of Washington. She has been a part of NWIRP since 2010, and has previously worked in the Moses Lake and Seattle offices of NWIRP. Her practice spans a broad range of immigration relief, with a focus on Family, U Visa, VAWA and removal defense.