Meet Our Staff


Suzanne McCormick is the founder and Executive Director of ICWC. Suzanne graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1997. Since law school she has been dedicated to providing legal services to at risk youth and victims of domestic violence. Suzanne worked as a Staff Attorney at Public Counsel Law Center in Los Angeles. While at Public Counsel, she represented clients in probate guardianship, Violence Against Women Act, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases. She was the Project Coordinator for the Guardianship Volunteer Program, a pro per clinic at the Los Angeles central district courthouse, which assists unrepresented litigants. In 2002, Suzanne co-authored Abandon Probate Court for Abandoned Children: Combining Probate Guardianship of the Person and Dependency into one Stronger, Fairer Children’s Court in the Spring 2003 Southern California Review of Law and Women’s Studies. In 2004, Suzanne founded the Immigration Center for Women and Children. Through her work, Suzanne identified a need in the community for a legal service agency that provided services on a sliding scale fee system. Suzanne has established ICWC as one of the leading legal service agencies in California that provide immigration options for victims. Suzanne is active in many immigration and child advocacy groups in California and nationwide. Email Suzanne at


Susan Bowyer is the Deputy Director of ICWC. Susan is a national expert in U Nonimmigrant Status and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). She is the author of a number of publications on immigration remedies for survivors of domestic violence, including those published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) and the Boston University Public Interest Law Journal. She is a frequent trainer on immigration through the VAWA and U Visa and has presented at the American Immigration Lawyers Association National Conference, California and Central Florida Chapters, the Alameda County Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Annual Conference, on regional and national webinars, and before the California State Senate and Assembly Human Service Committees. Susan is a 1992 graduate of Stanford Law School, where she was a Public Service Law Fellow. She was the Managing Attorney of the International Institute of the Bay Area’s Oakland office from 2003 to 2010. She has also worked as a staff attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Acting Director of the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. Email Susan at


Jessica Farb is Directing Attorney of ICWC San Francisco office. Jessica received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law. Jessica began working with immigrant crime victims in 2003 as an AmeriCorps VISTA legal assistant at Casa Cornelia Law Center in San Diego. Then, while pursuing her law degree in Washington DC, she worked for the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and helped represent immigrant clients at Ayuda, Inc. and Holland & Knight’s Community Services Team. She also authored a publication on the U visa with the Human Rights Brief. Jessica returned to California in 2008 to coordinate the immigrant crime victim program at the Oakland office of the International Institute of the Bay Area. Since then, she maintains a diverse caseload of U visa and VAWA clients, provides regional and national trainings on the U visa, and regularly appears on the Spanish language news channel, KDTV Univision 14. Jessica created and administrates national web-based information sharing for U Nonimmigrant Status practitioners. Email Jessica at


Mona Patel-Sikora Mona Patel-Sikora is the Directing Attorney in the ICWC Los Angeles Office. She has worked extensively on behalf of battered women and children and has provided immigration representation to victims of domestic violence, crime and human trafficking. Mona has also been actively involved in advocacy and community outreach and has been a frequent speaker and trainer on immigration law and domestic violence issues. Mona was a founding board member at ICWC.

Mona received her law degree from USC Law School in May 1990. She also has a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Prior to joining ICWC, Mona was a Senior Attorney in the Immigration Unit at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA). She has also worked at Public Counsel Law Center where she ran the VAWA Project and has worked as a litigation associate at the international law firm of Bryan Cave LLP. In 2002, she was named one of California’s top 20 Lawyers under 40 by California Law Business Magazine. She is also the recipient of USC Law School and PILF’s Outstanding Graduate Award, as well as the South Asian Bar Association’s Public Service Award. She has been named as a Super Lawyer” on several occasions and has served on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APABA) and the South Asian Helpline and Referral Agency (SAHARA). Mona also served on the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Email Mona at


Mariel Abeleda is a Staff Attorney in the ICWC Los Angeles Office directing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Clinic. Mariel received her J.D. from Loyola Law School in 2008 and B.A. from UC Berkeley in 2004. While at Berkeley, Mariel interned at the ASUC Student Legal Clinic educating the Berkeley community about available legal resources. Mariel studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary at Eotvos Lorand University where she studied the politics of transition and inclusion of minority groups in newly independent nations. Mariel comes from a family of public servants and members involved in community development who instilled in her a commitment to public service. She has worked and interned for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), the Community Development Department, and the Office of the City Attorney. While at LAFLA, she assisted clients in appealing their unemployment insurance denials and conducted outreach informing low-income workers of their employment rights. Prior to working at ICWC, Mariel was in private practice specializing in employment-based immigration. Mariel is also a volunteer tutor at the Los Angeles Public Library’s Singleton Literacy Center assisting adult learners with acquiring basic literacy skills. Email Mariel at


Brooke Alexander is a Staff Attorney in the ICWC San Diego office. Brooke received her Juris Doctor degree from the University Of Southern California School Of Law and graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Spanish. While at Stanford, Brooke enhanced her Spanish skills during a semester abroad in Argentina. After Stanford, Brooke provided therapy services to children with special needs, primarily Autism. She worked closely with parents and educators to promote the child’s social-emotional development and she advocated on the child’s behalf to ensure that he or she received the services to which he or she is entitled under the law. During her time at USC School of Law, Brooke served as Notes Editor for her honors journal, Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice (RLSJ). She also worked as an intern at Public Counsel Law Center in Los Angeles and participated in USC Children’s Rights Clinic. She gained experience assisting families who were adopting children that had been abused, abandoned, or neglected and assisted attorneys with guardianship and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases. In light of these experiences, Brooke authored a publication for RLSJ, regarding the benefits received by families adopting children from the foster care system who have special needs. Post-graduation, Brooke worked as a Staff Attorney at Casa Cornelia Law Center (CCLC) in San Diego. She devoted her time to providing free legal services to indigent immigrants. During her time with CCLC, Brooke held various positions, including Domestic Violence Program Director. She has represented clients in VAWA, U Visa, Adjustment of Status, guardianship, and SIJS cases. Email Brooke at


Liz Gonzalez is a Staff Attorney in the ICWC Los Angeles Office. Liz received her B.A. in Spanish Literature from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. After Reed, she moved back to Los Angeles and worked at ICWC as a Legal Assistant. She also worked as a Legal Assistant at Schonbrun, DeSimone, Seplow, Harris, Hoffman & Harrison, LLP, a civil rights plaintiff’s litigation firm in Venice, California. While at Southwestern Law School, Liz worked on U Visa and SIJS cases at the Immigration Clinic, clerked at Public Counsel where she worked on U Visa and affirmative asylum cases, and she also worked with detainees at the Santa Ana detention center. Liz also returned to ICWC as a summer clerk and she interned at ICWC her last semester of law school. During law school, Liz was the social chair of Southwestern’s Immigration Law Student’s Association and she was the recipient of the Public Interest Law Grant, the Silbert Public Interest Fellowship, the Equal Justice America Fellowship, and the Public Interest Law Service Award. Liz has also been involved as a volunteer at the Alexandria House, a transitional shelter for women and children in the Los Angeles area. Email Liz at


Terra Judge is a Staff Attorney in the ICWC San Francisco Office. Terra received her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2012, and her B.A. in Sociology from University of California, Los Angeles, in 2006. Terra is committed to advocating for immigrant rights, and helping members of underserved populations make their voices heard. In law school, she was a member of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic and LGBTQ Rights Clinic. She also spent time doing research and direct services at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute; Human Rights Watch, Children’s Rights Division; Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program, and Immigration Equality. Before law school, Terra worked as a travel writer in Los Angeles, and is originally from Sacramento, California. Terra has lived abroad in Argentina and Colombia, and speaks Spanish. Email Terra at


David Menninger is a Staff Attorney in the ICWC Los Angeles office. David received a B.A. in American Studies from UC Berkeley in 2005 and a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2011. During law school, David interned with Make the Road New York, Legal Services for Children San Francisco, the Immigrant Defense Project and the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. After graduation, David served as a law clerk to the Honorable Carlos Lucero of the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver, Colorado and for the Honorable A. Howard Matz of the US District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. Between college and law school, David traveled extensively and lived in San José, Costa Rica and Madrid, Spain. Email David at


Nickole Miller is a Staff Attorney in the ICWC Los Angeles Office. Nickole graduated from Columbia University in 2008 with a B.A. in Political Science and Human Rights. In May 2012, Nickole graduated cum laude from DePaul University College of Law and received her J.D. with a special certificate in Public Interest Law. While in law school, Nickole served on DePaul University’s Center for Public Interest Law Committee and clerked with Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Bay Area Legal Aid and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. Upon graduation from law school, Nickole was awarded the Student Bar Association Distinguished Senior Service Award. Prior to joining ICWC, Nickole was a Legal Fellow at the Public Law Center in Santa Ana, California where she provided direct legal assistance to low-income clients with petitions for immigration relief including U Visas, T Visas, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Email Nickole at


Mayra Pop is a Staff Attorney in the ICWC Los Angeles Office. Mayra graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Business. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2012. While in law school, Mayra worked at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office in which she represented the People of the State of California in numerous cases. She was a fellow with the American Board of Trial Advocated (ABOTA) and was the recipient of the 2012 ABOTA Excellence in Preparation for Trial Practice Award. Mayra also helped provide direct immigration services through the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). Email Mayra at


David Szeles is a staff attorney in the ICWC San Diego Office. David received his J.D. from Loyola Law School in 2011. He received his B.A. in Spanish and Political Science from the University of San Diego in 2007. After law school, David received a Loyola Public Interest Fellowship and worked as a staff attorney at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) for 2 years. His fellowship included presenting the Legal Orientation Program at Musick Detention Center in Orange County, and preparing U Visa, Adjustment of Status, and DACA cases. During law school David interned at the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, and the LA County Bar Immigration Project. David served a two year volunteer mission in Florida, which is where he fell in love with the Hispanic community and became passionate about immigration law. He has 2 children, ages 5 and 3. Email David at


Siobhan Waldron is a Staff Attorney in the ICWC Los Angeles office. Siobhan received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2012, where she specialized in the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies Program. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006 in Legal Studies and Spanish, with a concentration in Hispanic Languages and Bilingual Issues. During and after college, Siobhan volunteered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking individuals seeking asylum. Also at that time, she began visiting and working in solidarity with isolated rural villages in El Salvador with the Oakland-based non-profit organization the Central American Refugee Committee (CRECE), and continues to visit El Salvador annually. Prior to law school, Siobhan worked on the statewide legal services website at OneJustice in San Francisco. During law school, she focused her coursework and extracurricular activities on becoming a direct services immigration attorney at a legal services non-profit agency in California. Siobhan has done direct services immigration work with Centro Legal de la Raza (Oakland), the East Bay Community Law Center (Berkeley), Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). Email Siobhan at


Support Staff

Doris Alvarez is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC Los Angeles office. Doris graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012 with a double major in Political Economy and Legal Studies. While at Berkeley, she volunteered at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant where she worked on asylum cases. She also interned at the East Bay Community Law Center, Neighborhood Justice Clinic, assisting low-income clients with a variety of legal issues, including those related to debt collection and small claims cases. Doris also devoted much of her time working for an Early Childhood Education Center and tutoring third-grade students in one of Oakland’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Prior to joining ICWC, Doris interned at the White House for the Domestic Policy Council where she worked on issues related to economic mobility and urban development. Email Doris at


Javier Donez is an Intake Coordinator in the ICWC Los Angeles office. Javier graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and a minor in Public Affairs. While at UCLA, he was very active in various student organizations where he tutored and mentored inner-city and low-income youth, promoting cultural awareness, higher education, and youth advocacy through policy change. Javier participated in a travel-study abroad program where he examined the different systems of government in Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. For his senior research project, Javier conducted extensive research on immigration reform policy focusing on immigrant youth, analyzing its economic and political impact on several levels. Prior to joining ICWC, Javier worked at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) as a legal assistant providing DACA direct services. Email Javier at


Sarait Escorza is the Administrative Assistant in the ICWC San Francisco office. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work from CSU, Chico in 2012. While in school, she became actively involved in several organizations such as Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, where she raised political awareness and promoted academic advancement among the Latino community. As an intern at the Chico Peace and Justice Center, Sarait collaborated with ACLU and the Asian Law Caucus to introduce the Trust Act to city officials. She is highly recognized by her work in the community, particularly in East Palo Alto. Through Youth United for Community Action (YUCA), she obtained her leadership and community organizing skills pushing for tenant rights, community benefits, and environmental justice. Four years later, she returned to the organization to help launch an immigration campaign.

In 2012, she volunteered at Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN) for various DACA processing events and Citizenship drives. As a dreamer and activist herself, she has being part of several conversations around immigrants’ rights. She is also involved in organizing among undocumented students. Sarait currently serves a Legal Advocate for Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) where she provides legal information and helps undocumented young people nationwide understand their immigration remedies. Sarait’s passion to help the community along with her experience with Silicon Valley De-Bug’s Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project, raised her interest in attending Law School in the future. Email Sarait at


Deisy Hernandez is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC Los Angeles office. Deisy graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance. While attending the university, she coordinated the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that provided tax counseling to low income communities. In 2012, she coordinated one of the first free legal clinics in the country for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Deisy has worked at other nonprofits that serve the immigrant community such as the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and also interned at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Prior to joining ICWC, Deisy was a grassroots organizer for various undocumented immigrant organizations that fought towards ensuring equality for all immigrant communities. Email Deisy at


Irazema Garcia is the Intake Coordinator in the ICWC San Francisco office. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2006. Shortly after graduating Irazema began working in the legal field for a private law firm in Las Vegas, Nevada handling bankruptcy, litigation and family law matters. She spearheaded the pro bono program for the firm where she assisted low-income individuals receive quality legal representation in their bankruptcy and divorce matters. Irazema volunteered for two years at the Community Multicultural Center in Las Vegas, Nevada as a literacy tutor assisting adults learn and fine-tune their English reading and writing skills, as well as help prepare them for their GED exams. Email Irazema at


Dana Jacinto is an Administrative Assistant in the ICWC Los Angeles Office. In June 2013, Dana graduated from the University of California, Irvine with Bachelor’s Degrees in History and Political Science. During her time at UC Irvine, Dana dedicated her time to community engagement through various student organizations such as Circle K International, Rotaract, Sage Scholars Program, and Alpha Phi Omega. Dana was also selected to participate in a Winter Alternative Break Program where she assisted people suffering from homelessness and poverty. Dana also spent a year abroad studying international relations at Sciences Po in Paris, France. During her undergraduate career, Dana interned with Congressman Xavier Becerra and the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center where she became a certified mediator. After graduating, Dana was awarded the Goldman Sachs Junior Fellowship with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Before joining ICWC, Dana briefly volunteered at Public Counsel where she collaborated with the Consumer Law Project. Email Dana at


Imogene Lily Mankin is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC Los Angeles office. In 2010, she graduated from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon, where she studied English and Spanish. During college, Imogene volunteered at the University of Oregon High School Equivalency Program, tutoring migrant workers in high school subjects. Imogene studied abroad in Queretaro, Mexico and Quito, Ecuador. Prior to joining ICWC, Imogene was a Legal Assistant at the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, where she worked on a variety of family-based immigration cases. She has also served as a volunteer at the Employment Rights Clinic at Bet Tzedek Legal Services. Email Imogene at


Monica Martinez is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC San Francisco office. Monica graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While attending Saint Mary’s, Monica was an active participant in the Bonner Leader Program and volunteered at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant in Berkeley, CA. As an immigrant rights advocate at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Monica worked on Asylum cases and collaborated with board members in preparation for the organization’s annual fundraiser. Monica also spent some time at an orphanage in Mexico as an English teacher. She worked at La Raza Community Resource Center, an organization providing vital social and immigration services to families in San Francisco’s Mission District. Email Monica at


Eliana Mata is an administrative assistant in the ICWC Los Angeles Office. Eliana graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and a minor degree in Forensics & Criminality. During her undergraduate career, she worked for the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative, a pre-college academic enrichment program, where she tutored local high school students in mathematics and SAT preparation. Eliana interned for CALPIRG and led the Hunger and Homelessness Campaign, where she coordinated food drives and advocacy events. After graduating, she worked at a private mediation attorney’s office. Before ICWC, Eliana interned at Mil Mujeres Legal Services, a non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic violence, where she did outreach and client pre-intakes at local Latin American Consulates. Email Eliana at

Lourdes Mendoza is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC Los Angeles office. In 2012, she received her Bachelor’s Degree from Wellesley College, and earned a double major in Women and Gender Studies with a focus on Latina/Chicana studies, and Spanish. At Wellesley, she was also a campus organizer with Mezcla de Wellesley that helped advocate for DREAMers, and equal access to higher education. She studied abroad in Cordoba, Spain and Puebla, Mexico. During her time in Mexico, she interned with Comisión Estatal para la Atención al Imigrante Poblano, assisting with immigration cases for immigrants from Puebla living abroad. She also interned at the Community Legal Services and Counseling Center in Cambridge, MA as an assistant and translator to the immigration lawyers where she worked with U Visa, VAWA and asylum cases. Email Lourdes at


Esmeralda V. Meza is a Law Fellow in the ICWC Los Angeles Office. Esmeralda received her J.D. from UCLA with a specialization in Critical Race Studies. She graduated from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Law and Society. She is currently a recipient of an UCLA Law Public Service Fellowship. At UCLA Law, Esmeralda served as Co-Chair of La Raza, Conference Co-Chair of the 16th Annual National Latina/o Law Student Association Conference, Co-Chair of the Immigration Law Society, Co-Coordinator of the student run VAWA Immigration Clinic, and Chief Executive Editor of the Chicana/o-Latina/o Law Review. During her time in law school, Esmeralda provided direct immigration legal services – U Visa, VAWA, SIJS, and asylum – through her work with the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), ICWC, Public Counsel, and Kids In Need of Defense (KIND). Since 2007, Esmeralda has volunteered with Water Station, a human rights organization that provides water along the Imperial Valley desert to help prevent dehydration related deaths. Email Esmeralda at


Victoria Ramirez is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC San Francisco office. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University where she earned a double major in Raza Studies and Psychology in 2010. While attending SFSU she was active in various organizations such as La Raza Student Organization, where she was a coordinator spreading cultural and political awareness of the many cultures of Latino America. Victoria was involved in organizing numerous events that encouraged higher education for youth and immigrant advocacy at SFSU. Victoria was also a dedicated patient advocate for La Clínica Martín-Baró, a SFSU student-run free health clinic serving the underserved/ uninsured immigrant population in San Francisco’s Mission District. After graduating she interned for San Jose’s Center for Employment Training: Immigration and Citizenship Program where she worked on U visa, VAWA, Naturalization and DACA cases. Victoria is currently working with different youth groups presenting on financial literacy and social awareness in the Bay Area to encourage higher education and healthy self-esteem. As an Undocumented Dreamer herself, she is dedicated in continuing advocacy and being an activist for immigrant rights. Email Victoria at


Milena Reyes is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC Los Angeles office. Milena graduated from California State University, Northridge in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. During her undergraduate career, she interned at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Self-Help Legal Access Center, assisting clients with housing and child custody issues. After graduating, she volunteered for EL ARCA, a non-profit organization that provided care and educational programs to the developmentally disabled. She also worked in the private sector teaching children with disabilities and volunteered for a local City Council election campaign. Milena was the Administrative Assistant at ICWC Los Angeles office prior to becoming a Legal Assistant. Email Milena at


Claudia Rios is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC San Francisco Office. Claudia is a Gavilan College alumnus, who received an Associate’s Degree in Administration of Justice. She has also participated in various organizations that promote higher education, culture, and history such as Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MECHA), the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), PUENTE and the Folkloric Dance Committee. Her participation in the Latino club allowed her to gain coordinating skills through planning and organizing events and fund raisers. Claudia gradually developed interest in immigration matters upon working for the Gilroy Citizenship and Educational Program (GCEP), which serves the community as an immigration office. As a GCEP Legal Administrative Assistant, she was responsible for delivering instruction citizenship classes in Spanish, setting up appointments with clients, filing immigration forms such as I-130, DS-260, I-864, U-visa, VAWA, N-400, DACA, and adjustment of status. Claudia additionally attended many appointments as a translator with immigration clients. She has also advocated within her community church youth group about DACA and as well volunteered her time to help Dreamers alike her to dream higher. Email Claudia at


Elizabeth Roehm is a Law Fellow in the ICWC San Francisco office. Elizabeth received her Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School in 2012 and graduated from the University of Texas, Austin in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Geography and a minor in Spanish. While at Yale, Elizabeth interned at the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, where she began working with immigrant survivors of domestic violence in U Visa and VAWA cases. Additionally, she was involved in projects promoting the economic well-being of the New Haven community and responding to legal inquiries at a Latino community center. Prior to law school, Elizabeth served as an operations coordinator and case manager at Casa Marianella, an emergency shelter for recently-arrived immigrants and asylum seekers in Austin, Texas. Email Elizabeth at


Héctor Ruiz is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC Los Angeles office. Héctor graduated from San Diego State University in 2012 with bachelor’s degrees in International Security and Conflict Resolution, and French Language and Literature. During his undergraduate career, he was a sustainable agriculture intern at Wild Willow Farm & Education Center, an organization that focused on food justice education and advocacy. In addition, he was treasurer of the SDSU chapter of the International Rescue Committee, which aimed to raise awareness of the growing refugee community in Southern California. While in San Diego, he volunteered as an English and Math tutor to children of immigrant parents at the Southern Sudanese Community Center. Before transferring to SDSU, Hector was treasurer of Unidos por un Mismo Idioma, the Spanish-speaking society at Texas Tech University, where he also helped establish a strong recognition of the Latino/a presence in the small Lubbock, Texas community. Héctor also studied French language and culture during five weeks in Montpellier, France, and later studied Mandarin Chinese language and culture during a semester in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. Before joining ICWC, Héctor was a volunteer caseworker for the VAWA/U-Visa and the Economic Justice programs at the Paso Del Norte Civil Rights Project in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, where he was also part of the Labor Justice Committee, a member-led effort to recover unpaid wages through peaceful methods. Email Héctor at


Brenda Torres is a Legal Assistant in the ICWC San Francisco office. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from UC Berkeley in May 2011, and earned a double major in Chicano Studies and American Studies with a concentration in Social Psychology and the American legal system. While at Berkeley, Brenda completed a senior thesis on Mental Illness among African American and Latino adolescents and the need for school based mental health services. She was involved in numerous organizations such as By Any Means Necessary (BAM), which is a coalition that defends affirmative action, integration, & immigrant rights. Brenda also participated in Alternative breaks project and worked with the United Farm Workers of America. She completed an internship with San Francisco’s District Attorney Kamala Harris. Brenda studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and participated in a semester-long program in Universidad Carlos III. In addition to Brenda’s studies, she is also an immigrant rights activist. In 2006, she assisted U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee with an immigration forum in Oakland. She also volunteered at Central Legal de la Raza, and worked at a Workers Compensation law firm as a Legal Assistant. Brenda is currently a youth group coordinator at St. Anthony’s Church, where she attends weekly meetings with approximately twenty youth, and delivers workshops on higher education. Email Brenda at