NILC Staff Changes

July 1, 2015

Elizabeth Beresford, [email protected], 917-648-0189
Andrea Alford, [email protected], 703-477-1075
Nery Espinosa (Spanish language), [email protected], 214-263-1294

National Immigration Law Center Announces Exciting Staff Changes

Kamal Essaheb promoted to Director of Policy & Advocacy,
Don Lyster elevated to Chief of Staff

WASHINGTON — The National Immigration Law Center has announced two new leadership positions designed to better streamline policy and advocacy work while integrating organizational priorities. Kamal Essaheb, formerly NILC’s immigration policy attorney, will now oversee federal, state, and local policy and advocacy work. Don Lyster, formerly NILC’s DC office director, will now serve as chief of staff for the entire organization. In this role, Lyster will coordinate specific campaigns and initiatives for the National Immigration Law Center while also overseeing fiscal and administrative issues.

“All our offices will now benefit from Don’s excellent management skills, allowing our inner workings to function more smoothly while also advancing our most important strategic initiatives,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “Kamal has proven to be an excellent advocate both on and off Capitol Hill. His ability to see beyond details served us well throughout the immigration reform debate and our advocacy leading up to President Obama’s executive initiatives on immigration. We will need his keen insight and leadership as Congress continues to take on an anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-family agenda while states and localities advance pro-immigrant measures in the absence of federal action.”

Lyster joined the National Immigration Law Center as the director of the DC office in 2011. Prior to working for NILC, Lyster was a government relations consultant. He had also worked for a decade as a congressional aide, serving in various capacities for Sen. Paul Sarbanes and Rep. Hilda Solis, for whom he was chief of staff. Lyster holds a juris doctor from The Catholic University of America and a bachelor of arts from Loyola University in Maryland. He is the son and grandson of Irish immigrants.

Essaheb joined the National Immigration Law Center in 2012 as an immigration policy attorney, focusing on administrative relief efforts and fighting back against excessive immigration enforcement policies. A former DREAMer, he was one of the DACA recipients named a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014. Prior to working at NILC, Essaheb was a practicing immigration attorney at CUNY Citizenship Now, a nonprofit immigration legal services provider in New York City. He holds a juris doctor from Fordham Law School, where he was a Stein Scholar in Public Interest Law and Ethics. Essaheb is an immigrant from Morocco.

Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center is the only advocacy organization in the United States exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their families. NILC advances its mission through policy analysis and litigation, along with education and advocacy. Over the past three decades, NILC has won landmark legal decisions protecting fundamental rights, thwarted harmful policies, and advanced major initiatives that reinforce our nation’s values of equality, opportunity, and justice for all.

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