Marielena Hincapié is executive director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the nation’s leading organization dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants in the U.S., and of the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund (IJF). Under her leadership, NILC and the IJF strategically combine litigation, policy, communications, narrative change, and movement-building to effect transformational change. As an immigrant from Colombia, Ms. Hincapié brings her lived experience and bilingual/bicultural perspective to her work.
Hincapié is a nationally respected leader, a legal and political strategist in the immigrant justice movement, and a leading voice in the national conversation on immigration.
Hincapié began her tenure at NILC in 2000 as a staff attorney leading the organization’s labor and employment rights program. During that time, she successfully litigated law reform and impact-litigation cases dealing with the intersection of immigration laws and employment/labor laws. She then served as NILC’s director of programs from 2004 to 2008, after which she became executive director.
Recognized as a seasoned strategist and bridge-builder, Hincapié has led national initiatives, such as the Immigrant Movement Visioning Process, and policy campaigns, such as the creation and successful implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Under Hincapié’s leadership, NILC has been at the legal forefront of the fight to stop President Trump’s attempt to rescind DACA, successfully representing DACA recipients and Make the Road New York in a U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court found that the Trump administration’s rescission was “arbitrary and capricious.”
Before joining NILC, Hincapié worked for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco’s Employment Law Center, where she founded the Center’s Immigrant Workers’ Rights Project. She currently serves as board president of the Indivisible Project and previously served on the boards of Jobs with Justice and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration.
Hincapié has been recognized with numerous awards, including Univision’s Corazón Award, a Stanton Fellowship from the Durfee Foundation, the Latina of Influence award from Hispanic Lifestyle, the National Public Service Award from Stanford Law School, and the Prime Mover Fellowship from the Hunt Alternatives Fund. Hincapié was appointed to serve as cochair of the Biden-Sanders Unity Taskforce on Immigration. She was also the Northeastern University School of Law Daynard Distinguished Visiting Fellow and Practitioner-in-Residence at the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
Ms. Hincapié immigrated as a child from Medellín, Colombia, to Central Falls, Rhode Island, and grew up as the youngest in a family of ten children. She earned her juris doctor degree from Northeastern University School of Law.
Follow Marielena on Twitter: @MarielenaNILC
Executive Coordinator: Claudia Lara
Scheduler: Veronica Ibarra
Marisa Aguayo, Senior Officer, Institutional Giving. Marisa Aguayo has lead responsibility for developing and implementing institutional fundraising strategies, which involves securing support from foundations, law firms, unions, corporations, and other associations. She also plays a leadership role in crafting annual fundraising plans that ensure NILC’s long-term sustainability. Prior to joining NILC in 2004, Marisa worked as a program director for the MultiCultural Collaborative, a social justice organization created after Los Angeles’ 1992 civil unrest. Prior to that, she was a development associate for El Rescate, a legal and social services agency serving immigrants in Los Angeles.
Victoria Ballesteros, Communications Director. Victoria Ballesteros heads NILC’s communications team and is responsible for developing strategic communication initiatives for the organization, to help grow the visibility and reach of NILC’s work on behalf of immigrants. She came to NILC with more than 15 years of experience leading communication efforts in the nonprofit and public sectors. She has worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency, California’s Senate majority leader, and The SCAN Foundation. Ms. Ballesteros earned her master’s degree in communication management from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She is bilingual (Spanish/English).
Adnan Bokhari, Chief Operating Officer. Adnan Bokhari serves on NILC’s Executive Leadership Team and plays a key role in implementing NILC’s strategic priorities, including advancing racial equity through organizational systems and policies. He leads the development, finance, human resources, information technology, and administration teams. Adnan has expertise in leading change and has garnered a reputation for building resilient organizations. He is a Certified Public Accountant and brings 20 years of finance and operations experience in the nonprofit sector to NILC. He most recently served as CFO and COO for a national anti-poverty organization based in Washington, DC, leading the development and implementation of strategies and systems that enhance organizational sustainability and impact. Adnan serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. He is the first Pakistani-American to be elected as chairman of the board of directors of Golden Key International Honour Society, the world’s largest collegiate honor society. He also serves on the board of the Virginia Community Colleges System, appointed by the governor of Virginia, and is chair of the VCCS board’s Personnel Committee.
Eddie Carmona, Campaigns Director. Eddie plays a critical role in growing NILC’s capacity to continue living into its strategic framework and leads NILC’s growing campaign work through building out the Campaigns Department. He is an experienced campaign manager, with more than fourteen years of grassroots community organizing and social policy advocacy experience. He led Faith in Action’s national immigration fight, the Campaign for Citizenship (LA RED program), and was its principal spokesperson. He comes to NILC from PICO California, where he led the legislative fight on SB 54, the California Values Act, as both the political and legislative director. He is a graduate of UC Davis, with a bachelor’s degree in Chicano studies (social policy) and communications (media). Eddie is the son of an immigrant farmworker father who worked the fields in California’s Central Valley. He’s been a leader in the national immigration movement for the past seven years.
Jill Corral, Director, Finance & Administration. Jill Corral is responsible for the fiscal management and administration of NILC’s infrastructure, to ensure long-term sustainability, enhance quality programming, and build capacity. Ms. Corral has over fifteen years’ experience in business and financial planning leadership roles, specializing in business process improvement, financial governance and oversight, and operational efficiency. She holds an MBA from the University of San Diego.
José Delgadillo, Director of Human Resources. José Delgadillo oversees NILC’s Human Resources Department. Immediately prior to taking on this role, José served as NILC’s Manager of Talent Acquisition and Staff Development. His tenure at NILC builds on more than eight years in talent management and staff development roles for nonprofit organizations, including Director of Talent Acquisition at Leadership for Educational Equity and Associate Director of Recruitment at The Broad Center. Prior to his nonprofit professional work, José spent 10 years in the financial services industry, working in the 401(k)/pension and corporate banking sector. José completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California and obtained his MBA at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Kamal Essaheb, Deputy Director. Kamal Essaheb is responsible for overseeing the execution of all of NILC’s programmatic activities, ranging from impact litigation to policy advocacy to strategic communications plans. Essaheb previously served as NILC’s director of policy and advocacy, spearheading the integration of the organization’s federal, state, and local policy work and also taking a key leadership role in the development of NILC’s strategic framework. Essaheb joined NILC in 2012 as a staff attorney after having practiced immigration law in New York City. He is a graduate of Fordham Law School, where he was a Stein Scholar in Public Interest Law and Ethics. An immigrant from Morocco, Essaheb is deeply familiar with the personal and policy implications of major immigration measures.
Lisa Graybill, Legal Director. Lisa Graybill oversees NILC’s litigation and legal advocacy activities. She joined NILC in 2020 after having served, most recently, as a deputy legal director at the Southern Poverty Law Center and, previously, as the legal director of the ACLU of Texas and a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Lisa also taught at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, focusing on civil rights and immigration issues. She is a graduate of Smith College and the University of Texas School of Law. Raised in San Antonio, Lisa speaks English and Spanish.
Tiffanie Luckett, Senior Officer, Individual Giving. Tiffanie Luckett has responsibility for developing and implementing strategies that garner and retain a fierce and growing network of grassroots and major-gift donors. Additionally, she helps lead NILC’s fundraising team in developing annual plans that maximize the ability of every fundraiser to use their time and talents in the fight. Her work focuses on building relationships to cultivate a sustainable donor base that is engaged in the immigration rights fight beyond making gifts — to taking action and joining the movement. Prior to joining NILC, she worked at NPR and various medical and health organizations, always in fundraising, both institutional and individual giving–focused. She has a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and an AM from the University of Chicago.
Jenny Rejeske, Director of Policy and Advocacy. Jenny Rejeske leads the planning and execution of NILC’s policy development, legislative, and advocacy strategies. Jenny has 18 years of experience working in nonprofits, starting at a migrant health center in Colorado. She has served in various positions at NILC, most recently as associate director of policy and advocacy and senior health policy analyst. Before joining NILC in 2011, Jenny was director of health advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition. She holds an M.S. in nonprofit management from the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment.
Archana Sahgal, Senior Advisor, Strategic Engagement and Initiatives. Archana Sahgal is senior advisor at the National Immigration Law Center and director of the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund. She works at the intersection of politics, power, and movement-building to create social change and comes to NILC after serving in the Obama administration. At the White House, Sahgal served as senior associate director for public engagement and as the director of advisory committees and industry outreach at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She served as a senior advisor at the NoVo Foundation, where she developed the Collaborative Fund for Safety and Dignity, a new $20 million philanthropic vehicle focused on expanding #MeToo’s impact in the workplace. She has also served as senior advisor at the Democracy Alliance, where she led the investment strategy to protect democratic norms and principles in the Trump era. In addition, Sahgal has worked with other foundations and donors across the U.S., including the San Francisco Foundation, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and the Open Society Foundations. Her work has been profiled in the New York Times, Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, and WNYC. She served on the board of directors of the Korematsu Institute, Californians for Justice, and South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow. Sahgal received her B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and J.D. from the University of California Davis School of Law.
LEGAL & POLICY
Bianca Alcala-Ruiz, Paralegal. Bianca Alcala provides legal assistance to the NILC litigation team, which focuses on promoting the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation, technical assistance, and administrative advocacy.
Tanya Broder, Senior Staff Attorney. Tanya Broder specializes in the laws and policies affecting access to health care, public benefits, and education for low-income immigrants across the United States. She writes articles and policy analyses, provides technical assistance, co-counsels on litigation, and presents trainings to legal and social service providers, government agencies, legislative staff, and community-based organizations.
Meredith Cabell, Paralegal. Meredith Cabell works to defend and support low-income immigrants through litigation, administrative advocacy, and community engagement.
Shiu-Ming Cheer, Director of Movement Building & Strategic Partnerships. Shiu-Ming Cheer spearheads NILC’s bridge-building efforts to support a healthy, powerful, and purposeful movement. At NILC, she has also focused on challenging immigration enforcement, advancing access to status, and incorporating a field perspective into the work.
Joanna E. Cuevas Ingram, Staff Attorney. Joanna E. Cuevas Ingram works to advance and defend the rights of diverse low-income immigrant youth, workers, and families through community-centered affirmative impact litigation, technical assistance, and administrative advocacy, as well as community-led policy advocacy and education. Admitted to practice in California and New York, Joanna is a litigator who brings significant due process, equal protection, and civil rights impact litigation experience to NILC. She currently addresses safe spaces, equal access to the courts, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and challenges to discriminatory law enforcement policies, practices, and executive orders.
Ben D’Avanzo, Senior Health Policy Analyst. Ben D’Avanzo works on access to health care and healthy lives for low-income immigrant communities. Through advocacy, relationship-building and analysis, he advances policies that enhance the health of immigrant families and works to block those that bring harm, with a focus on federal legislation and executive action.
Nicholas Espíritu, Supervising Attorney. Nicholas Espíritu focuses on promoting the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation and administrative advocacy.
Elaine Garcia, Legal Administrator. Elaine Garcia serves as the primary administrative liaison and project manager for NILC’s Legal Department. She conducts departmental and State Bar compliance training for all legal staff. She also analyzes document management software and conducts testing and implementation of systems for the department infrastructure, and she manages internal expense reports and billable records.
Robin Goldfaden, Supervising Attorney. Robin Goldfaden defends the rights of immigrants through litigation and other advocacy. She is admitted to practice in California and New York.
Jessie Hahn, Labor & Employment Policy Attorney. Jessie Hahn engages in legislative and administrative advocacy focused on protecting and expanding the rights of low-wage immigrant workers. She also provides legal analysis and strategic advice to support immigrant worker advocates around the country on legal and policy matters affecting immigrants in the workplace. Follow Jessie on Twitter at @hahn_jessie.
Kevin Herrera, Staff Attorney. Kevin Herrera works to defend and advance the rights of low-income immigrants, their families, and communities through litigation, policy advocacy, and community education. His work focuses on full access to civic life for immigrant communities, immigration enforcement issues, and supporting immigrant workers.
Alvaro M. Huerta, Senior Staff Attorney. Alvaro M. Huerta works to defend and advance the rights of low-income immigrants and their family members through litigation, administrative advocacy, and community education. His practice includes impact litigation on due process, equal protection and civil rights, and challenging anti-immigrant federal and state legislation and administrative actions. He also helps state and local advocates ensure that immigrants and their families can obtain access to health care and economic supports. Follow Alvaro on Twitter: @AlvaroMHuerta.
Mayra Joachin, Staff Attorney. Mayra Joachin focuses on advancing the rights of low-income immigrants through administrative advocacy, impact litigation, direct work with affected individuals, and technical assistance. Her main areas of work involve immigration enforcement issues, including advocating for policies that protect immigrants’ access to health care facilities, work sites, schools, and courthouses.
Sarah Kim Pak, Staff Attorney. Sarah Kim Pak works to advance the rights of low-income immigrants through administrative and policy advocacy, litigation, and community education. Her work focuses on immigration enforcement issues and advocating for safe spaces and full access to schools, courthouses, and civic life for immigrants and immigrant communities.
Michelle Lapointe, Staff Attorney. Michelle Lapointe focuses on immigration enforcement, workers’ rights, and education issues. She is a litigator who has worked for more than a decade to advance and defend the rights of low-income immigrants and their families, primarily in the Deep South.
Gabrielle Lessard, Senior Policy Attorney. Gabrielle Lessard specializes in the laws and policies affecting access to health care for low-income immigrants and their families. She is an active member of the California Health4All Coalition and the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign. Gabrielle’s work includes writing articles and policy analyses, providing technical assistance, and presenting trainings to legal and social service providers, government agencies, legislative staff, and community-based organizations.
Matthew Lopas, Manager, Winning in the States Initiative. Matthew Lopas engages in policy advocacy and coalition-building to protect and improve immigrants’ access to affordable health care through federal programs, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and efforts to expand programs to cover the remaining uninsured. His work focuses on outreach and support to groups working at the state level. He manages a national coalition of advocates and health care assisters, and he leads NILC’s efforts to support state and local campaigns to advance expansion of health care programs.
Katherine “Kat” Lundie, State and Local Policy Analyst. Kat Lundie supports NILC’s work on the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign, where she collaborates with state and local organizations on issues of immigrant access to health care. She works with state and local advocates to help them be better informed and equipped to address federal policy within their communities.
Laura Lynch, Senior Immigration Policy Attorney. Laura Lynch engages in legislative and administrative advocacy focused on defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants.
Araceli Martínez-Olguín, Supervising Attorney. Araceli Martínez-Olguín focuses on protecting immigrants’ civil and workplace rights in the face of immigration enforcement and on defending the employment authorization and immigration relief available through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). She is a seasoned impact litigator who has worked for over a decade to advance and defend immigrants’ rights.
Sheila Miller, Paralegal Manager. As an integral member of NILC’s Legal Management Team, Sheila Miller is responsible for the day-to-day management of a team of legal experts and primarily responsible for directing and supervising the work of the Legal Department’s paralegals, legal administrator, and assistants. She also helps develop and maintain a legal docket that furthers NILC’s priorities and strategies, embracing and advancing the implementation of NILC’s strategic framework.
Isobel Mohyeddin, Administrative Associate. Isobel Mohyeddin provides administrative support to NILC’s Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) and Winning in the States (WITS) campaigns.
Avideh Moussavian, Legislative Director, Advocacy. Avideh Moussavian’s advocacy at NILC focuses on reducing the vulnerability of low-income immigrants to deportation on account of their race, class, or gender.
Diana Pliego, Policy Associate. Diana Pliego works on a range of issues, including protection for DACA recipients and fighting immigration enforcement. She conducts policy research, analyzes and tracks legislation, and develops materials for movement and field partners as well as for congressional advocacy.
Ignacia Rodriguez Kmec, Immigration Policy Advocate. Ignacia Rodriguez conducts legal research as well as legislative and administrative advocacy focusing on immigration executive actions and congressional action on immigration. She also engages in policy analysis, education, and advocacy to support the integration of low-income immigrant youth and children through access to education.
Joshua Stehlik, Deputy Legal Director. Joshua Stehlik is an integral member of the management team that oversees NILC’s Legal Department, including its entire litigation docket of complex federal cases aimed at systemically advancing and defending the rights of low-income immigrants.
Subha Varadarajan, Muslim & Refugee Ban Legal & Outreach Fellow. Subha Varadarajan is the Muslim Ban Outreach and Legal Fellow for Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area, and National Immigration Law Center.
Jackie Vimo, Economic Justice Policy Analyst. Jackie Vimo is a policy analyst who leads NILC’s economic justice program and driver’s license policy work through the Winning in the States (WITS) initiative. In addition to working to block the Department of Homeland Security’s new “public charge” rule, Jackie oversees NILC’s anti-poverty work on issues including hunger and food insecurity, housing, and tax policy.
Max Wolson, Staff Attorney. Max Wolson works to advance and defend immigrants’ rights through impact litigation. He comes to NILC with significant litigation experience at the trial and appellate levels, having served as both a federal and state public defender. He is admitted to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Muzna Ansari, Special Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer. Muzna leads the execution of a wide range of projects within the Operations Department. She works closely with the COO and senior leadership of the department.
Karina Balderas, Human Resources Coordinator. Karina Balderas is responsible for facilitating and assisting with human resources processes, new-hire onboarding, administering employee health and welfare plans, acting as a liaison between employees and insurance providers, and resolving benefits-related problems.
Armen Bazikian, Controller. Armen Bazikian is responsible for maintaining accounting records at NILC.
Lauren Caputo, Associate Director of Human Resources for Employee Performance and Success. Lauren Caputo is responsible for developing NILC’s performance management system, leading recruitment, and supporting staff training and development.
Maria Cisneros, Senior Staff Accountant. Maria Cisneros is responsible for helping maintain fiscal order at NILC.
Nasiba Clark, Executive Assistant. Nasiba Clark provides executive assistant support to NILC’s deputy directors and senior leadership team.
Shaun Clarke, Project Manager. Shaun Clarke is responsible for the administrative functioning of NILC’s DC office as well as assisting with special projects.
Jamiah Hargins, Talent Strategist. Jamiah is responsible for attracting and recruiting passionate and capable talent for NILC’s Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and remote staffing.
Ruxandra Hernandez, Associate Director of Finance
Veronica Ibarra, Scheduler – Administrative Associate. Veronica Ibarra manages the calendar of NILC’s executive director and provides administrative support to the Executive Office.
Claudia Lara, Executive Coordinator. Claudia Lara provides executive support to NILC’s executive director, Executive Office, and board of directors.
James Le, Associate Director of Information Technology
Rachelle Orozco, Staff Accountant
Cheryl Westbrook, Administrative Assistant. Cheryl Westbrook is responsible for the administrative functioning of NILC’s Los Angeles office and assists with special projects.
Denyce White, Executive Assistant. Denyce White supports NILC’s program directors, legal director, communications director, and director of policy and advocacy. She manages their busy calendars, scheduling meetings, calls, and travel. She helps keep the directors organized in their daily workload and other responsibilities, and administers their monthly expenses via Concur Solutions.
Lucy Brandon, Donor Relations Manager. Lucy Brandon supports NILC’s individual donor fundraising efforts and manages special events for our network of donors and supporters.
Allison Celosia, Grant Specialist. Allison Celosia is responsible for managing grants administration operations to support NILC’s growing portfolio of institutional funders. She works closely with key members of NILC’s fundraising team to ensure timely administration of all grant cycle activities and implements strategic improvements on systems and procedures as necessary.
Acasia Flores, Development Program Manager, Data Research and Analysis. Acasia Flores supports NILC’s fundraising efforts, including overseeing donor database management and producing fundraising performance reports and statistics.
Michael Regan, Donor Research and Prospect Management Analyst. Michael supports the Individual Giving Team’s efforts to build deeper relationships with donors who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to investing in NILC’s work on behalf of immigrants’ rights. His primary responsibilities include donor acquisition and helping to match current donors with giving opportunities that are especially aligned with their philanthropic interests and goals.
Irene Santos, Development Associate. Irene Santos provides administrative support for the Development Team.
Natalia Skinner, Program Manager, Institutional Giving. Natalia supports NILC’s grants management and institutional giving efforts.
Sara Ellingrod, Social Media Manager. Sara Ellingrod coordinates and develops content for NILC’s social media platforms and websites. She analyzes online trends and movements to meet organizational goals, boost NILC’s online engagement, and expand the organization’s reach.
Juan Gastelum, Associate Director of Communications for Media and Messaging. Juan Gastelum works to advance NILC’s programmatic goals through strategic communications and by helping to keep interested parties outside the organization abreast of our work. He serves as the organization’s media contact and facilitates interview requests. Follow Juan on Twitter: @juangastelum.
Richard Irwin, Editor and Publications Manager. Richard Irwin helps write, edits, designs, and produces the written resources NILC publishes, both online and on paper. He is also primarily responsible for maintaining and updating NILC′s website.
Allison Mannos, Associate Director of Communications for Strategy and Campaigns. Allison Mannos focuses on leading communications work to support NILC’s campaign team and help supervise the Communications Team.