Welcome to the Immigration Center for
Women and Children

Board of Directors

Erwin Chemerinsky is the founding dean and distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science.  Previously, he taught at Duke Law School for four years, during which he won the Duke University Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award in 2006. Before that he taught for 21 years at the University of Southern California School of Law, and served for four years as director of the Center for Communications Law and Policy. Chemerinsky has also taught at UCLA School of Law and DePaul University College of Law.  His areas of expertise are constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, and appellate litigation. He is the author of seven books, most recently, The Conservative Assault on the Constitution (October 2010, Simon & Schuster), and nearly 200 articles in top law reviews. He frequently argues cases before the nation’s highest courts, and also serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media.  Chemerinsky holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.

Lorna A. De Bono is an Associate with Haight Law Group, PLC.  A graduate of UCLA School of Law, she is admitted to practice law in the state of California and has been practicing business-related immigration law since 1999.  Ms. De Bono practices solely in the areas of Immigration and Naturalization law, representing employers in administrative petitions and applications to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Departments of Labor and State, state employment agencies and U.S. Embassies and Consulates.  Her key professional accomplishments include successful representation of companies and individuals in varied industries, including information technology, video game, finance, industrial, sports, and entertainment.  In addition to her work with ICWC, she serves on the Boards of the Southern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Women Lawyers of Los Angeles Foundation.

John Leguizamo is a prominent actor, writer and producer. John was born in Columbia, but raised in New York, after immigrating to the United States at age four. John studied acting at New York University. John’s credits include Moulin Rouge, Son of Sam, Romeo and Juliet, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar and Carlito’s Way. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in To Wong Foo and for a Tony award for his one man show, Freak.

Judy London is the Directing Attorney of Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.  From 1996 to 2000, she was the Legal Director of the Central American Resource Center (“CARECEN”) in Los Angeles.  While at CARECEN, Ms. London was instrumental in securing the enactment of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (“NACARA”).  She also focused on advocacy for undocumented children, and in 2000, she succeeded in obtaining legislation granting permanent residency to Tony Lara, a twenty-year old Salvadoran national who had been raised in Los Angeles.  But for inadequate immigration advice, Mr. Lara would have been eligible for special immigrant juvenile status (“SIJS”).  At Public Counsel, Ms. London has expanded the agency’s SIJS work, developed a detention project serving immigrant detainees in Santa Ana, California, and continued to increase pro bono representation for asylum-seekers and crime victims seeking relief under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) and the Victims of Trafficking and Violent Crime Prevention Act (“VTVPA”). She is an Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of law where she teachers a clinical course on immigration law, focusing on the representation of asylum-seekers.  She received her law degree from UCLA in 1990 and her undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1985.

Gail Pendleton is Co-founder of the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women and Co-Director of ASISTA, a national immigration law technical assistance project funded by the federal Office on Violence Against Women.  Formerly Associate Director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, where she worked for twenty years.  She received the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) Human Rights Award in 2001, received her J.D. in 1985 from NYU School of Law and her A.B. from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1981.

Carmen M. Chavez, Esq. is a California licensed attorney and the Executive Director of Casa Cornelia Law Center (CCLC).  CCLC is a non-profit law firm, which provides pro bono representation to San Diego County’s indigent immigrant community in the area of Immigration Law, specifically working with victims of domestic violence, abuse, persecution and torture. She has both coordinated and supervised CCLC’s Asylum, Domestic Violence, Detained Unaccompanied Children and Integrated Social Services programs. Carmen was born and raised in San Diego and local schools. She graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. degree in Political Science. While in college she became very involved in community service, especially in the area of law. Her community involvement includes participating in electoral campaigns, organizing high school conferences for Latino/as entering higher education, organizing a community law school together with members of La Raza Lawyers Association, and participating in the Chicano/a Youth Leadership Camp. Additionally, through her work, Carmen has given numerous presentations and trainings to colleagues, social workers, community groups, youth, parents and clients in San Diego County.   Following her desire to help her community and those in need of legal assistance, she continued her education and went to law school.  After passing the California Bar Exam, she began working at Casa Cornelia Law Center in 2000.  She was the recipient of the Equal Justice Works Fellowship, which allowed her to continue her public interest work at Casa Cornelia.  As part of her work, has represented children in immigration court who have been abused, abandoned and neglected by either a parent or legal guardian, immigrant victims of domestic violence and other serious crimes and asylum seekers. Carmen is certified to represent clients in Federal District Court for the Southern and Central District of California and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and graduated from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, CA (2000). Other affiliations include the American Bar Association, American Immigration Lawyers Association, La Raza Lawyers of San Diego, and San Diego County Bar Association.  She is also a board member of the Chicano Federation of San Diego County.

Rachel Samuels has directed three feature films (most recently “Dark Streets,” a film noir musical released by Samuel Goldwyn Films), directed and produced television documentaries for MTV Networks, and edited social justice documentaries for nonprofits including the Clinton Global Initiative, ONE, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. She writes a blog for KCET about fracking in California, called ‘The Well Next Door.’

Catherine Seitz focuses on immigration relief for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  Bay Area Legal Aid provides free legal services to low income clients in 7 San Francisco Bay Area counties.  She is also the current Treasurer for the Northern California chapter of AILA and co-author of the 2nd and 3rd editions of the ILRC’s U Visa Manual.  Catherine has a J.D. from U.C. Hastings and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from U.C. Berkeley.  She has been working in the field of immigration law since 1990 starting out as a legal assistant and then a BIA Accredited Representative before her admission to the California Bar in December of 2001.  Before joining Bay Area Legal Aid in July of 2009, she worked at Canal Alliance, the International Institute of the East Bay, and the private immigration law firm of Simmons & Ungar.  She is bilingual in Spanish and English.

Renee Dake Wilson is an architect and leader creating residential and non-profit buildings and communities throughout Southern California neighborhoods, where she has practiced since 1998. Her organizing efforts focus on equality and the environment. She completed a Bachelor of Architecture in 1992 at Cornell University, Ithaca NY. She currently serves as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of the Immigration Center for Women and Children, on the Board of Directors of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, is chair of the Sequoyah School Sustainable Campus Committee, and is President of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.