Kathryn M. Doan, Esq.
Kathryn M. Doan, Esq., has served as CAIR Coalition’s executive director since 2008. During her tenure, the organization has expanded from a staff of six to a staff of 65 and added two new programs – The Detained Children’s Program and the Immigration Impact Lab. Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, she was the Deputy Director of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in Washington, DC, where she also managed the agency’s Immigration Legal Services and Community Support Services programs.
At the 2015 D.C. Judicial and Bar Conference, Ms. Doan was named the recipient of the D.C. Bar Foundation’s Jerrold Scoutt Prize. The Prize is awarded annually to an attorney “who has worked for a significant portion of his or her career at a non-profit organization providing direct hands-on legal services to the needy in the District of Columbia; has demonstrated compassionate concern for his or her clients; and has exhibited a high degree of skill on their behalf.”
A native of New York, Ms. Doan graduated from Cornell University and Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.
Adina Appelbaum, Esq.
Program Director, Immigration Impact Lab
Adina created and leads the Immigration Impact Lab, CAIR Coalition's first-ever federal courts and appellate impact litigation project. She has litigated several individual and class action impact cases on behalf of immigrant adults and children who are detained and facing deportation involving asylum law, due process and detention, and the intersection of criminal and immigration law, including Bah v. Barr, et al. No. 1:19-CV-641, 2019 WL 4247823 (E.D. Va. Sept. 6, 2019), Obando-Segura v. Whitaker, No. GLR-17-3190, 2019 WL 423412 (D. Md. Feb. 1, 2019), Martinez v. Sessions, 892 F.3d 655 (4th Cir. 2018), Mauricio-Vasquez v. Whitaker, 910 F.3d 134 (4th Cir. 2018), and Mauricio-Vasquez v. Crawford, No. 1:16-cv-01422 (AJT), 2017 WL 1476349 (E.D. Va. Apr. 24, 2017). As an adjunct professor, Adina co-taught a seminar on the intersection of criminal and immigration law at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.
From 2015-2017, Adina was an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Arnold & Porter Foundation at CAIR Coalition, where she created and led the Crim-Imm Pro Bono Project to expand access to counsel trained in the intersection of criminal and immigration law and impact litigation to defend detained immigrants facing deportation due to convictions. For this Project, Forbes highlighted her in its 30 under 30 Law and Policy list.
Adina graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with joint Juris Doctor and Master of Public Policy degrees, a Certificate in Refugee & Humanitarian Emergencies, and as a Public Interest Law Scholar and Global Law Scholar. She represented clients at Georgetown Law's Center for Applied Legal Studies Asylum Clinic and Juvenile Justice Clinic and completed legal internships at the Arlington Immigration Court, CAIR Coalition, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender Immigration Program, the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Asylum Access Ecuador.
Prior to law school, Adina was a Fulbright Scholar in Cairo, Egypt, where she provided legal aid to refugees fleeing persecution from across Africa and the Middle East. She holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in Urban Studies and International Area Studies and is admitted to practice law in Virginia, the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
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.
Ana Dionne-Lanier, ESQ.
Senior Attorney; Coordinating Legal Liaison
Ana is a graduate of American University Washington College of Law. Ana focused on public international and human rights. Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Ana served as a Senior Research Associate with the Public International Law and Policy Group, working on human rights issues for international clients. Before that she interned with the World Organization Against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland and advocated for torture victims rights before UN bodies. She also interned with the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Along with a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, Ana also earned an M.A. in International Affairs from the School of International Service through the dual-degree program.
Claudia Cubas, Esq.
Claudia joined CAIR Coalition in 2011. She manages and coordinates litigation across all three programs at the organization involving issues related to access to justice, detention, and eligibility for relief for children and adults who are detained by ICE within the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit. She believes that representation is the key to helping detained immigrants avail themselves of their rights in detention and succeed in gaining relief from removal. She spearheaded the organizations’ development of pilot representation projects in Maryland.
Claudia has led nationwide efforts to protect the rights of immigrants when those rights were attacked and undermined by the Trump administration, cementing her role as a coalition leader among NGOs across the country.
She has mentored countless trial and appellate immigration cases over the years before various immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. She has played a pivotal role in the legal strategy behind all of CAIR Coalition’s major pro bono case wins at the Fourth Circuit especially those challenging the removability classification of criminal convictions such as Omargharib v. Holder, 775 F.3d 192 (4th Cir. 2014); Etienne v. Lynch, 813 F.3d 135 (4th Cir. 2015); Sotnikau v. Lynch, 846 F.3d 731 (4th Cir. 2017); and Castendet-Lewis v. Sessions, 855 F.3d 253 (4th Cir. 2017).
Under her leadership the CAIR Coalition has been pushing back against new unlawful policies and regulations banning asylum seekers from refuge including winning the challenge against the first asylum ban in O.A v. Trump, 404 F.Supp.3d 109 (D.D.C. 2019), and also winning the challenge against the second asylum transit ban in the case, CAIR Coalition v. Trump, slip opinion No. 19-2117 (D.D.C. 2020).
In the midst of the pandemic she has represented detained children and adults in filing habeas petitions seeking to be released from congregate institutional settings so they can safely reunite and socially distance with their families.
Claudia has a B.A. from the University of St. Thomas and a J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in Maryland and before the U.S. District Court of Maryland, the Fourth Circuit, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Claudia is a native Spanish speaker.
Kelly White, Esq.
Program Director, Detained Adult Program
Kelly joined CAIR Coalition in 2014. She manages the Detained Adult Program, which provides legal services to adult immigrants detained in local jails across Maryland and Virginia, direct representation, pro bono mentorship and training, and community outreach.
Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Kelly worked on refugee resettlement and determination briefs in Kigoma Region, Tanzania, as a subcontractor for UNHCR. She then served as the immigration legal services coordinator at CWS-Greensboro, piloting the office’s first legal clinic. Kelly graduated from the University of California at Davis School of Law.
Michael Lukens, Esq.
Michael joined CAIR Coalition in 2014. He is responsible for the oversight of the screening, placement, and mentoring of pro bono cases with members of the private bar. Michael serves as the CAIR Coalition liaison to law firms and the broader non-profit community, as well as directly represents children in removal proceedings. Michael also oversees all aspects of CAIR Coalition's operations.
Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Michael was a senior associate at Paul Hastings where he focused on environmental matters and served as the Pro Bono Coordinator for the firm’s DC Office. In addition to his commercial portfolio and pro bono responsibilities, Michael worked on many direct representation matters for pro bono clients, including immigration, non-profit governance, landlord/tenant, and contract matters. Michael received his J.D. from Hofstra School of Law.
Rebecca Goldfrank, ESQ.
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.
Sam Hsieh, Esq.
Senior Attorney; Coordinating Legal Liaison
Sam Hsieh is a Senior Attorney with CAIR Coalition’s Immigration Impact Lab. She has litigated impact litigation actions on behalf of detained immigrant adults and children in immigration proceedings and federal courts, including Arita-Deras v. Wilkinson, No. 19-1978, 2021 WL 821393 (4th Cir. March 4, 2021); Songlin v. Crawford, No. 3:19-cv-895, 2020 WL 5240580 (E.D. Va. Sept. 2, 2020); J.N.C.G. v. Warden, Stewart Detention Ctr., No. 4:20-cv-62, 2020 WL 5046870 (M.D. Ga. Aug. 26, 2020); J.S.G. v. Stirrup, No. 1:20-cv-1026, 2020 WL 1985041 (D. Md. April 26, 2020); and Nunez-Vasquez v. Barr, 965 F.3d 272 (4th Cir. 2020) (as amicus).
Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Sam was a staff attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where she wrote memoranda and proposed opinions for federal appeals in a wide variety of areas, including immigration law. Sam previously worked as an immigration attorney at a private firm in Washington, D.C. with a focus on asylum law. She graduated with honors from The George Washington University Law School, where she received a full-tuition merit scholarship. In law school, she interned at a private immigration firm and the Department of Justice, in addition to representing low-wage workers in the school's Public Justice Advocacy Clinic.
Sam received her Bachelor of Sciences with Honors in political science and economics from the University of Michigan. She is admitted to practice law in Virginia; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits; and the District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. She is proficient in Mandarin Chinese.