Bill Hing, General Counsel and Board Member, founded the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in 1979 and served as volunteer Executive Director for its first two decades. A Professor at the University of San Francisco, School of Law, he is the author of Deporting Our Souls--Values, Morality, and Immigration Policy; Defining America Through Immigration Policy; Handling Immigration Cases; Making and Remaking Asian America Through Immigration Policy; To Be An American; and co-author of numerous ILRC publications. He has extensive experience in working with immigrants of varied nationalities and is a nationally recognized expert in immigration and naturalization law. Bill volunteers on several Boards, including the Asian Law Caucus, Migration Policy Institute, and the ILRC.
Donald Ungar, Of Counsel to the ILRC, has been practicing immigration law since 1962. He has litigated numerous cases before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the federal district courts, courts of appeal and the United States Supreme Court. He was the recipient of the first Jack Wasserman Award for excellence in litigation by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, as well as the Phillip Burton Immigration and Civil Rights Award.
Eric Cohen, Executive Director, has been with the ILRC since 1988 and has extensive experience training attorneys, paralegals, community advocates, and organizers on a variety of immigration law, immigrants’ rights, and leadership development topics. Eric is a national expert on naturalization and citizenship law and is the primary author of the ILRC’s manual entitled, Naturalization and U.S. Citizenship: The Essential Legal Guide for Legal Practitioners. Eric has served as a liaison between community groups and CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) officials for the San Francisco Bay Area since 1994. Additionally, Eric helped develop ILRC's community model for effectively processing naturalization applications in groups and trained both legal workers and lay advocates in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, and works with community organizers and others on voter education for naturalized citizens. Prior to working at the ILRC, Eric worked with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Labor Immigrant Assistance Project where he worked on legalization and union organizing campaigns. He is conversant in Spanish.
Shari Kurita is ILRC's Assistant Director. Shari first joined ILRC in 1998 as our Education Program Administrator, following her work at the University of Washington in the Office of Minority Affairs. With a background in education, and the daughter of a former public school teacher, she is particularly dedicated to our educational initiatives and focus. Named the Assistant Director in 2000, she has since expanded her focus to encompass budget, finance, human resources, agency and office administration, in addition to technological support, development and production for our manuals, trainings, and other services. While being a home-grown gal from Stockton of the Central Valley, Shari has enjoyed living in some of the world’s most beautiful places – Seattle, Zurich, and the Bay Area!
Sally Kinoshita, Deputy Director, joined the ILRC as a Staff Attorney in 2001. In her capacity as Deputy Director, Sally helps lead a number of ILRC collaborative and capacity-building projects and oversees the organization’s marketing and communications development. Sally also brings to the ILRC her expertise on immigration relief for abused immigrant women and children as the author or co-author of a number of ILRC publications, including The VAWA Manual: Immigration Relief for Abused Immigrants; The U Visa: Obtaining Status for Immigrant Victims of Crime; Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Courts; and Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth, and by serving as a trainer to judges, attorneys, BIA-accredited representatives, social workers, domestic violence service providers and others. Prior to joining the ILRC, Sally worked extensively with the Southeast Asian immigrant community as a Staff Attorney at the Asian Law Caucus and as a founder of the Southeast Asian Task Force. She is conversant in Spanish.
Kathy Brady, Senior Staff Attorney, has served with the ILRC since 1987 and has contributed to numerous ILRC projects. Her expertise includes the immigration consequences of criminal convictions; issues affecting immigrant children and mixed families; immigration consultant and consumer fraud; naturalization; family immigration; legal status for immigrant victims of domestic violence through the Violence Against Women Act provisions (VAWA); and trial skills. She is the primary author of Defending Immigrants in the Ninth Circuit (formerly California Criminal Law and Immigration), and for many years was co-author of the section on defending noncitizens in the CEB manual California Criminal Law: Procedure and Practice. She also is a co-author of the ILRC's Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Courts. She has helped found coalitions and projects to address these issues, including serving as a co-founder of the Defending Immigrants Partnership and the Immigrant Justice Network. She authored briefs in key Ninth Circuit cases on immigration and crimes. In 2007, she received the Carol King award for advocacy from the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. Prior to working at the ILRC, Kathy was in private practice with the immigration firm of Park and Associates. She is currently a Commissioner to the ABA Commission on Immigration. She is conversant in Spanish.
Mark Silverman is the Director of Immigration Policy at the ILRC, where he has worked as an attorney since 1983. Mark has done over 400 presentations and trainings for immigrant communities throughout California. He has also made numerous presentations on various aspects of the law to attorneys and other legal workers. He is the author and co-author of more than ten ILRC publications on different aspects of immigration law, including Asylum and Related Immigration Protections (formerly Winning Asylum Cases); Winning NACARA Suspension Cases; and publications on family visa, Temporary Protected Status, pro bono asylum programs, and the hardship requirement for waivers and cancellation. Mark's hobbies include increasing his repertoire of (what some people consider) jokes through disciplined study of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and other contributions to the highest traditions of American culture. He is a fluent Spanish speaker.
Angie Junck joined the ILRC in 2005 as a New Voices Fellow and became a staff attorney in 2007. She works on the relationship between immigration and criminal law and is a co-author of ILRC's publication, Defending Immigrants in the Ninth Circuit: The Impact of Crimes under California and Other State Laws. Her efforts to mitigate the difficult immigration consequences for criminal convictions of immigrants is at the core of the ILRC's Defending Immigrants Project to assist public defenders and the Immigrant Justice Network, a project to build a movement to shift public perception of immigrants in the criminal justice system. Angie is a co-chair of the Detention Watch Network's Public Awareness Committee and is on the Advisory Board of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. Prior to joining the ILRC, she worked on post-conviction relief for immigrants at the Law Offices of Norton Tooby and advocated on behalf of incarcerated survivors of domestic violence as the co-coordinator of Free Battered Women and a member of the Habeas Project. She is a proficient Spanish speaker.
Lourdes Martinez, an immigrant herself, spent her childhood in central Mexico before moving with her family to the United States. Before joining ILRC, she worked as an immigration attorney at the Tahirih Justice Center in the DC metropolitan area, where she represented immigrant women and girls survivors of gender-based violence on immigration matters. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts from Rice University and her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, where she was awarded the JB & Maurice Shapiro Public Service Fellowship for her dedication to public interest law. While in law school, she worked on international human rights litigation involving cases from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean both, with the International Human Rights Clinic at GWU and as a law clerk with the Center for Justice and International Law in San Jose, Costa Rica. She also worked with the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, providing legal services and Know Your Rights presentations for immigrant detainees in Virginia. Finally, she spent a year with the Public Defender Service of Washington, DC, directly representing criminal defendants before the U.S. Parole Commission and drafting briefs for criminal court. Lourdes began her career in immigration law as a paralegal at Tindall & Foster, PC in Houston, Texas. She is fluent in Spanish and French.
Erin Quinn brings to ILRC over 8 years of experience as an immigration defense attorney and holds a joint degree in law and public policy (JD/MPP) from the University of Michigan. Prior to opening her own practice in 2007, Ms. Quinn represented immigrants as an associate at the Law Office of Robert B. Jobe. Her experience in immigration law and policy includes working as a fellow for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, EU headquarters in Belgium; clerking for the Immigration Court of San Francisco; and guest lecturer at CSU Eastbay. Originally from Fresno, California, Erin loves language and travel. She lived in Romania for over two years as a Peace Corps volunteer and worked in Hungary as a teacher trainer. In addition she has traveled, studied and taught in Central America, South Africa and Europe. Erin is on the Advisory Council for the Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), in which she serves as Pro Bono Coordinator, and is a member of the California Bar.
Ann Block is certified as a Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, has been practicing immigration law for almost 25 years. She has chaired the State Bar Immigration & Nationality Law Advisory Commission, which writes and certifies the specialization examination for California attorneys, has taught immigration law and supervised the Immigration Clinic at McGeorge Law School, served as update editor for Immigration Laws & Crimes (West-NLG) and contributed updates for various ILRC publications. She is currently serving on a contract basis as an ILRC “Attorney of the Day” providing mentoring and technical assistance for immigration and criminal defense attorneys and nonprofits nationally. She also has a solo private practice in Davis, California and spends considerable time cheering and travelling as an itinerant “soccer mom.”
Su Yon Yi joined the ILRC as a Special Project Attorney in 2010 and continued as a Law Fellow/Attorney. Her primary focus is on the intersection of criminal and immigration law. She provides trainings and technical assistance to public defenders on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Su Yon is an update editor of 2011 and 2013 Update to the ILRC’s publication Defending Immigrants in the Ninth Circuit: The Impact of Crimes under California and Other State Laws and of the Quick Reference Chart and Notes for Determining Key Immigration Consequences of Selected California Offenses. Prior to joining the ILRC, she worked with an immigrant-rights organization in New York dedicated improving immigrant access to health care and later for a community-based organization in Los Angeles advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. As clinical student of the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic, she has successfully defended immigrants in immigration proceeding and post-conviction relief cases.
Barbara C. Pinto joined the ILRC in 2012 as the Ralph Santiago Abascal Fellow. The purpose of her project is to provide advocacy, outreach, and assistance to immigrants and immigration practitioners regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s prosecutorial discretion policies, including the recent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as assist immigrants in their requests for exercise of discretion and deferred action. Growing up as an immigrant in San Francisco, she enjoys working with and understands the struggles of the immigrant community. She graduated from UC Hastings, College of the Law and during law school interned at various organizations in the Bay Area, including the Refugee & Human Rights Clinic, S.F. Human Rights Commission, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from San Francisco State University. She is fluent in Spanish.
Grisel Ruiz joined the ILRC in 2012 through a fellowship focused on the intersection between immigration law and criminal law. Prior to joining the ILRC, Grisel was a litigation association at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. Before Pillsbury, Grisel received the Stimson Fellowship to head a project jointly housed at the Immigration Law Clinic at UC Davis School of Law and the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, through which she co-founded “Know Your Rights” programs at two local ICE-contracted facilities. These projects provided individual representation, pro bono referrals, pro se materials, and case consultations to hundreds of detained immigrants in removal proceedings. Grisel also provided community presentations regarding constitutional rights when confronted by law enforcement and supervised law students in removal defense cases before the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Grisel is fluent in Spanish and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School where she received the Tony Patiño Fellowship. Prior to law school she worked as a paralegal and coordinator at the National Immigrant Justice Center. She attended the University of Notre Dame for her B.A.
Jonathan Huang has been the Information and Technology Manager for the ILRC since 2000, after working for Domino Computers. He is responsible for managing all technology and computer networking systems for the organization. In addition, he also brings his expertise in designing and updating the ILRC website. Jonathan holds a MS in Computer Science from San Francisco State University.
Deirdre O’Shea joined the ILRC in 2008 as our Foundations Relations Manager. She returns to the Bay Area after over six years working with social services and human rights organizations in Cambodia. She thoroughly enjoys writing proposals and administering grants, as well as rowing with the Lake Merritt Rowing Club, riding her bike, and cooking. She is conversant in Khmer.
Edith Hong, Director of Development, joined ILRC in October 2012, and offers over 13 years of fundraising experience in higher education, health and legal advocacy. As the Director of Development, she oversees the ILRC’s annual Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards as well all aspects of individual giving. Edith works closely with volunteers and staff to continue to connect donors to the mission of ILRC. In her spare time she volunteers assisting work authorized and skilled immigrants rebuild their professional career in the U.S. Conversant in Cantonese.
Andrew Shaffer joined the ILRC in March 2013 as our Development Coordinator. In this position, Andrew works to ensure the smooth operation of the ILRC’s development programs and the Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards. Originally from Illinois, Andrew came to the bay area in 2010 to complete a master’s degree in International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where his research on LGBTQ rights was named the top thesis of the year. In his free time, Andrew enjoys volunteering with the Trevor Project, participating in a bi-monthly book club, and working on his long term goal of attending every Taco Tuesday in the bay area. He is conversant in Spanish.
Linda Mogannam, Marketing Manager, joined the ILRC in January 2012. Linda's focus is on increasing brand awareness of the ILRC among immigration practitioners and reaching new target audiences. Her work involves promotion of ILRC's wide array of training manuals, live seminars, and webinar offerings. Working with the Deputy Director and other staff members, she utilizes marketing best practices to implement various online and traditional marketing campaigns. Linda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University, and is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program at Notre Dame de Namur University. She brings 15-plus years of experience in the area of marketing communications from a variety of for-profit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to her professional experience, Linda has volunteered for a number of nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area, providing assistance with event planning, media relations, and collateral development. She is a native San Franciscan and conversant in Arabic.
Matrayi Saksena joined ILRC as our new Marketing Coordinator in August 2012. She assists the Marketing Manager in achieving our marketing objectives. Her main responsibilities include coordinating trade shows, seminars and webinars, assisting with database and social media management, and supporting other marketing initiatives. Matrayi has worked with several grassroots organizations and non-profits over the past seven years and assisted them in realizing their unique communication goals. As a long-time Seattle resident, who recently relocated to the bay area, she is enjoying spending time in the sun and taking ‘drizzle-free’ walks with her dog.
Byron Spicer has been with the ILRC as the Finance Assistant since May 2006. He has 12 years of experience in bookkeeping, office administration, and program management. At the ILRC, he manages the day-to-day finances and also plays a key role in re-designing the ILRC website. Byron is a native of San Francisco, graduating from Mission High School and University of California at Berkeley. In addition to working at the ILRC, he also dedicates his time to his professional art career.
Melissa Rodgers is the Project Director of the New Americans Campaign (NAC), a national initiative for which the ILRC serves as the lead agency, which brings together national and local organizations in partnership with a funder collaborative to increase naturalization among eligible legal permanent residents.Melissa, who joined the ILRC in 2013, started her legal career working with mainly immigrant clients at the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. She brings to the NAC more than a decade of non-profit leadership experience. Prior to joining the ILRC, Melissa was the director of Blue Shield of California Foundation’s Health Care and Coverage program. Before that, she served as the Directing Attorney of the Child Care Law Center, the Associate Director of the UC Berkeley School of Law Center on Health, Economic & Family Security, and a Directing Attorney and Director of the Health Consumer Center at the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. Melissa has a Master of Education as well as a law degree. She is a native speaker of French and is conversant in Spanish.
Leah Muse-Orlinoff is the Best Practices Manager for the New Americans Campaign (NAC), a national initiative among dozens of organizations focused on increasing naturalization among eligible legal permanent residents for which the ILRC is the lead agency. A self-described “data geek,” Leah analyzes data about naturalization applications and events provided by national and local NAC partners and disseminates best practices in naturalization assistance to NAC partners, funders, and anyone who will listen. Prior to joining the ILRC, Leah designed and conducted research on Mexican migration to the United States at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego. Her research on immigration has appeared in publications in the United States, Mexico, Spain, and the Netherlands. Leah is working on her dissertation for a PhD in sociology, and has been active in immigrant advocacy and naturalization initiatives in both San Diego and San Francisco.
Timothy Sheehan, Publication & Program Coordinator
Tim began working at the ILRC in 2001 as an administrative assistant. He continued until 2006, taking a hiatus while living abroad for one year. After returning in 2007, he was able to expand his responsibilities within the organization to his current position coordinating the publications program and serving as liaison for several ongoing smaller projects and programs within the ILRC.