Laura Nally, ESQ.
Deputy Program Director
Rebecca leads the talented children’s team at CAIR Coalition and also serves on the organizational leadership team. She became program director in December 2019. Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Rebecca was the director of a program devoted to providing high-quality, free legal representation to children and caregivers in complex child welfare matters at Children’s Law Center in Washington, DC. Rebecca led the organization’s domestic relations practice while also defining organizational culture and priorities. Rebecca has devoted her career to providing legal counsel to those who cannot afford it and expanding access to justice.
Rebecca is an active member of the DC legal community. Rebecca serves as a Complaint Examiner with the DC Office of Police Complaints where she makes decisions on allegations of police misconduct. Until March 2020, Rebecca staffed the DC Bar Pro Bono Center’s monthly Saturday Advice and Referral Clinic which provides free legal advice on any civil legal matter.
Rebecca graduated cum laude from American University, Washington College of Law and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from New York University.
Alba Sanchez Fabelo
Alba joined CAIR Coalition’s Detained Children’s Program as a Staff Attorney in October 2020. Alba graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2016 with degrees in International Business and English, and then worked at DLA Piper as a Case Assistant for one year prior to starting law school at the University of Maryland School of Law. During law school, Alba interned at the Tahirih Justice Center and a private immigration law firm.
Ama Frimpong-Houser, ESQ.
Managing Attorney; Coordinating Legal Liaison
Ama was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, immigrating to the United States at the age of 13. A graduate of Salem College and Wake Forest University School of Law, Ama has always had a passion for serving the underserved in her community. Before joining CAIR Coalition, Ama practiced immigration law and criminal defense in North Carolina for over three years. She focused her immigration practice on humanitarian and family-based relief, and her criminal defense practice on advocating for the indigent. She also served as Executive Director of a non-profit organization, providing a variety of services to the Latino community in Dare County, NC. When she is not working, Ama enjoys spending time with her 18-year old dog, her husband, and her twin.
Angela Jimenez Pinto
Angela graduated from UC Berkeley with honors in May 2021 with a B.A. in Legal Studies and double minors in Global Poverty & Practice and Chicana/o Studies. While in college, Angela interned at the Supreme Court of the United States and Mil Mujeres Legal Services in Washington DC. She also interned with Berkeley Law’s Consumer Justice Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley and CARECEN in Los Angeles. Angela also conducted original research that looks at what sanctuary cities mean to undocumented and DACAmented Latinx living in California as part of her senior Honors Thesis. Angela is passionate about immigration law, police abolition, and gender equality. Specifically, within immigration law, she is interested in direct legal services work, the reunification process of unaccompanied children, asylum/refugee work, and 287g policy.
Angela was born and raised in California and she comes from an immigrant family background with roots in Honduras and Mexico. She is the oldest of four siblings with a thirteen-year age gap between her little sister and herself. Angela wants to attend law school in the next couple of years and hopes to become an immigration lawyer. In her free time, Angela enjoys exercising, hiking, and painting.
Caroline Hodge, Esq.
Caroline joined CAIR Coalition's Detained Children's Program in September 2018, as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by McDermott Will & Emery.
Caroline Raschbaum, Esq.
Caroline joined CAIR Coalition’s Detained Children’s Program as a Staff Attorney in September 2019.
Caroline is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and American University Washington College of Law. During law school, Caroline interned with CAIR Coalition, Ayuda, L&L Immigration, and the Arlington Immigration Court. Prior to law school, Caroline was a corps member for Teach for America in the southern New Mexico borderlands region.
Daniel Gestal, Esq.
Daniel joined CAIR Coalition in 2019. He works in the Detained Children's Program, which provides legal services to children detained in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, direct representation, pro bono mentorship and training, and community outreach.
Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Daniel clerked for the Honorable Chief Judge Robert E. Morin of the District of Columbia Superior Court. Daniel received his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law where he was a student attorney in the International Human Rights Law Clinic representing clients in Asylum and other immigration-related proceedings. Throughout and prior to law school, Daniel worked as an investigator and legal assistant at the Children's Law Center, a legal services nonprofit serving low-income and vulnerable children and families in the Washington, D.C. area. Daniel is licensed to practice in Maryland.
After graduating from the Fletcher School at Tufts University with two masters in international law and development, I had a long first career at the World Bank, working in many parts of the world including as Director for Central America. When I retired, I decided to embark on a second career focussing on legal aspects of immigration. During 2020 - Spring 2021, I interned at CAIR with the Detained Children's Program and CAIR's Litigation Director and completed a Masters in Paralegal Studies at GWU in May 2021. I also did some distance graduate coursework on legal aspects of immigration at CUNY. I'm now very excited to be joining CAIR staff as a Paralegal with the DUCS team!
In my spare time I am a VITA volunteer certified by the IRS to help elderly and low-income residents of the DMV, often non-English speakers, prepare their tax returns. I also love to read, travel, and spend time with my multi-cultural family who are now spread across the U.S., Switzerland, and South America.
Elizabeth Nehrling Sotiriou, Esq.
Elizabeth Nehrling Sotiriou is a Managing Attorney in the Detained Children's Program. In this role, Beth oversees and participates in the provision of Know Your Rights presentations, legal intake interviews, and direct legal representation to immigrant minors in federal government detention facilities. Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Beth was a Staff Attorney and Sumner M. Redstone Fellow in Public Service at Ayuda, where she represented low-income immigrant clients in a diverse range of humanitarian and family-based immigration cases. She has previously worked with immigrant communities in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Mexico, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso. Beth holds a B.A. from American University, an M.Sc. from the University of London, SOAS, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Emily joined CAIR Coalition in June 2021. She is passionate about national identity, migration, citizenship, and belonging, and looks forward to a career helping to make US immigration and foreign policy more people-centered, humane, and just.
Emily graduated from Miami University of Ohio in May 2021 with majors in international studies and political science and a minor in Spanish. While in college, she studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain, and interned for one semester each at Latin America Working Group and Ayuda in DC. She also volunteered to teach and tutor refugees and asylum seekers in English. In her free time, Emily enjoys cooking and baking, reading, taking walks, and dancing.
Francisco joined CAIR Coalition’s Detained Children’s Program as a Staff Attorney in September 2021. Francisco graduated from University of Maryland University College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Law for Business. Francisco has worked in Immigration law since 2013 when he worked in a private immigration law firm. In April 2019, Francisco began working as a Senior Paralegal at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law Clinical Program while attending evening law classes. During his last year of law school, Francisco represented clients as a student attorney at the Chacon Center for Immigrant Justice. In May 2021, Francisco graduated from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and received the Public Service Award.
Senior Program Assistant
Giovanna joined CAIR in June 2019 as a program assistant.
Prior to working with CAIR Coalition, Giovanna predominately focused on public interest specifically with immigration and housing in the District of Columbia. During undergrad, she interned at the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration where she answered calls on a hotline and assisted individuals in detention centers with their immigration issues whether it be helping them navigate the immigration court, updating them on their case status, sending them ‘Know Your Rights” packets. When she was not on the hotline, Giovanna conducted research and gathered country reports for the attorneys to use as well as translated documents.
After interning at the American Bar Association, Giovanna continued perusing her passion for social justice and interned with the DC Office of Attorney General Public Advocacy Division where she assisted the Assistant Attorney Generals with tenant cases that involved advocating for better living conditions for District residents.
Giovanna graduated from American University in May 2019 where she earned her B.A. in Justice, Law and Criminology and certificates in Advanced Leadership Studies as well as Politics, Policy, and Law.
Senior Legal Assistant
Jackie Tuala is a native to the Washington D.C. area. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Hawaii, majoring in Political Science. She was actively involved in the Latin American Association and Prelaw Society during the time of her undergraduate career. Jackie also has worked with latino youth groups in her community to educate and empower them to participate in community service, college preparation and team-building activities. For the period of 18 months, she was a voluntary missionary serving the people of Southern Italy. She is trilingual in English, Spanish and Italian. During her free time, Jackie enjoys dancing, playing volleyball, and spending time with her family. She plans to continue her studies in earning a Masters in Public Administration starting January 2021
Jake joined CAIR Coalition in 2021 as a staff attorney in the Detained Children’s Program. A Chicago native, Jake received his Juris Doctorate from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in 2021, where he represented children and adults in their asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and U Visa cases at Northwestern’s Immigration Clinic. He interned for Al Otro Lado’s Otay Mesa Release Project, Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network’s Detention Program, volunteered with Proyecto Dilley in Texas, and with Al Otro Lado’s Border Rights Project in Tijuana, Mexico. Prior to law school, Jake received his master’s in African American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Jason graduated in May from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Spanish and Psychology. He was born and raised in New York City, but has lived in D.C. since 2017. While in college, Jason interned with the Immigration Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society and Immigrant Justice Corps, both in New York, and he also volunteered with the Georgetown Law Center's immigration clinic, Washington Lawyers' Committee, and Georgetown's D.C. Schools Project. Jason also studied abroad in Ecuador and Chile, where he assistant-taught English classes at a Chilean high school. In his free time, Jason enjoys hiking, photography, and playing basketball.
Social Services Coordinator
JeanPaul Figueroa oversees CAIR Coalition’s Social Services Program for Unaccompanied Children. This program connects children, who arrive in the United States without their parents or guardians, to vital services and resources in their communities once released from detention. JeanPaul has been working with asylee and immigrant youth for over 6 years. Prior to serving as the Social Services Coordinator, JeanPaul was a senior legal assistant at CAIR Coalition where he visited detained children and conducted individual legal screenings, “Know Your Rights” presentations, and provided direct legal assistance to immigration attorneys in Asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases. Before joining CAIR Coalition, JeanPaul worked as a post-release services caseworker, and home study specialist for a DC-based social services agency, where he led efforts to ensure unaccompanied immigrant children were connected to vital services across 11 states. He also volunteered as a child advocate for the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, where he provided one-on-one mentorship for youth facing prolonged detention.
Though Jean Paul’s passion has always been working with asylee, refugee, and immigrant children and youth, he has significant experience providing services to other populations at-risk including homeless families, adults released from detention, and perpetrators of domestic violence. His professional career has been driven by the belief that serving children and adults can have the greatest impact on the well-being of communities.
Jesenia Demara Sotelo
Social Services Intern
My name is Jesenia Demara Sotelo, I am a senior at the University of California Santa Barbara majoring in sociology and minoring in psychology and social justice. My experience volunteering, growing up in the Central Coast of California, and as a proud daughter of immigrants has influenced me to become passionate about the immigration system. It has always been a dream of mine to contribute to an organization that seeks to work towards the welfare of immigrants. I am really excited to be a part of this team and gain knowledge and experience as an intern in CAIR.
Katarina (Katy) joined CAIR Coalition’s Detained Children’s Program as a Staff Attorney in September 2021. She graduated from Florida State University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Prior to attending law school, Katy worked at two boutique immigration law firms in Miami and was an English Teaching Fellow in Colombia. She graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 2021. As a law student, Katy participated in Miami Law’s Immigration Clinic and interned at RAICES, The Legal Aid Society, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and Americans for Immigrant Justice.
Kwame joined CAIR Coalition in 2020 as a staff attorney in the Detained Children’s Program. Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, he represented children and parents in the District of Columbia Superior Court involved in the abuse and neglect system. The District of Columbia Superior Court appointed Kwame to help an undocumented youth involved in a Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS) case pursue Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) as well. Kwame gained additional experience with SIJS cases through pro-bono opportunities with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and through contract work with Mil Mujeres Legal Services. He received his law degree from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.
I was fortunate enough to continue to grow my passion for advocating and working with children when I interned with CAIR in 2019. I was a social services intern and I learned about the post-release process for unaccompanied minors. I was also able to work with the DUC's program, where I went to many site visits and conducted intakes with members of the team. My experience at CAIR significantly changed my career goals and made me realize I wanted to continue working with the immigrant population.
When I returned to North Carolina, I continued to learn more about immigration by working as a legal assistant and case manager in a law firm in Hickory, North Carolina. As a legal assistant, I learned more about the process for asylum, SIJS, VAWA, and U-visas. I hope to continue to learn more about immigration law and to continue to advocate for children. My future goal is to go to law school in a couple of years.
Marissa recently graduated from Saint Louis University with of Bachelor of Art in Sociology and a minor in Political Science. Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Marissa was an intern with the Dilley Pro Bono project in South Texas serving immigrant mothers and children in detention with their credible fear interviews. In addition, Marissa interned with the Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA), working to coordinate DACA and Pro Se Asylum Clinics for immigrants in the St. Louis community. Finally, Marissa interned with the Safe Passage Project in New York, assisting in translating legal documents for immigration court.
Senior Legal Assistant
Melany joined CAIR Coalition as a legal assistant in January 2020. Prior to working at CAIR Coalition, she worked for Microsoft as an IT support specialist and has over eight years of experience in the information technology industry. She also served as the Information Technology Industry Council’s Latin America Global Policy Graduate Fellow where she drafted recommendations for stakeholders that advanced market access and innovative capacities for ICT companies in Latin America.
She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs from Cleveland State University. In 2017 she moved to Washington D.C. to combine the experience she has in technology with her passion for Latin America. In May of 2020 she will graduate from the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies master’s program, specializing in security and development, at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.
Natalia graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Spanish minor. While in school she interned with an organization that trains incarcerated individuals to become mediators. After graduation, Natalia served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer at CASA where she helped develop Driver Privilege Card attainment, youth education, and employment programs.
Nick joined CAIR Coalition's Detained Children's Program as a Staff Attorney in September 2021.
Nick is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. During law school, Nick interned with CAIR Coalition, Kids in Need of Defense, and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Prior to law school, Nick worked as a statistical analyst in the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), where he helped develop an online education statistics portal and helped publish a series of policy briefs promoting evidence-based policymaking in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to his time at the IDB, Nick worked as a member of the Government Relations Team at the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, where he represented the organization and its constituents in meetings with members of Congress on immigration policy, with a focus on family detention and unaccompanied children.
Nitin joined CAIR Coalition in June 2021. He has a lengthy tenure of advocating for immigrant and working-class populations. Prior to joining CAIR, he was based in North Carolina for ten years. In NC, he directed the Poultry and Livestock Workers Rights Project at the Legal Aid Farmworker Unit, where he defended migrant food-processing workers against abuses at the workplace. Afterwards Nitin founded a community law practice, focusing on humanitarian immigration law and wage theft law. He also worked extensively with a community-based immigrant rights organization, providing pro-bono direct legal services as well as contributing to community empowerment through Know-Your-Rights workshops.
Nitin graduated from Duke University magna cum laude with a A.B. in History. He received his Juris Doctor from the City University of New York (CUNY) through a Dean’s merit scholarship. In 2020, Nitin became a Board Certified Specialist in Immigration Law by the North Carolina State Bar. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Lawyers Guild. He is fluent in Spanish.
Scott joined CAIR Coalition in 2019 as a staff attorney in the Detained Children’s Program.
A Louisiana native, Scott graduated from Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert School of Law, where he received his a Juris Doctorate (cum laude) as well as a Diploma in Comparative Law. In 2018, Scott worked in his law school’s immigration law clinic, in which he represented both children and adults in asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases. Prior to law school, Scott worked for a year in Socuellamos, Spain, as an elementary school English teacher. He is fluent in Spanish.
Managing Legal Assistant
Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Susie is a 2018 graduate of Centre College where received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Anthropology/Sociology. During her time on campus as a student, Susie was involved with the After School Program, the Office of Admission, and New Student Orientation. Susie spent time studying abroad in Costa Rica, Panama, and Spain during college, and completed internships with Kentucky Refugee Ministries in Lexington and the Spanish Education Development Center in Washington, D.C.
Susie previously worked in higher education as an Admission Counselor at Centre College. She worked closely with students and families going through the college application process, helping with recruiting students, reading applications, and scholarship selections.
Social Services Intern
Virginia Macias is a senior at The University of Texas at El Paso majoring in biological sciences with a biomedical concentration. She established her career in healthcare by working as a patient care specialist at International Cardiovascular. As a student leader, she has served as a Miner Ambassador and a mentor for The Institute of Cardiology at El Paso. Through the MERITUS scholarship, Macias conducted research on cardiac tissue engineering. During the pandemic, she worked for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services as a Covid-19 case investigator. Currently, she is a member of The Bill Archer Fellowship, where she is one of 47 students in Texas selected to intern and study in Washington D.C. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in healthcare administration.
Joined CAIR Coalition as a Program Assistant for the Detained Children’s Program in October 2019. Before working at CAIR Coalition was doing a paid internship at SOAR! Support Our aging religious! Doing administrative work for about 5 months. Yessenia also interned at CAIR Coalition in the spring of 2019 for 5 months in which she did administrative work.
Holds a B.A. in International Affairs and a minor in Language and Cultural Studies from Trinity Washington University. She was very involved at her university: worked as Peer Advisor for 3 years, Reunion student worker for 2 years, and was Vice-President of the commuter student council. She also went to an alternative spring break community service trip to Selma, Alabama. She participated in Washington Model Organization of the American States 2019 and represented Honduras with some Trinity sisters. She is Salvadoran-American and looks forward to advocating for her community and those who are in need of legal service.