Christina Iturralde Thomas
Managing Director, Atlanta
Christina is the Managing Director, Atlanta at the recently launched Atlanta Field Office of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). KIND’s staff and its pro bono attorney partners at law firms, corporations, and law schools nationwide represent unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings. KIND’s mission is to ensure that no child stands in court alone. Prior to joining KIND, Christina worked at the Latin American Association as a Staff Attorney representing unaccompanied minors. She also worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project and LatinoJustice PRLDEF (formerly the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund), defending the rights of immigrants in the United States through impact litigation. Christina is a graduate of University of California, Hastings College of Law and has a Master’s in Political Science from the University of Florida. She is admitted to practice law in Georgia and New York.
Managing Attorney, Atlanta - Detained
Maria supports the Atlanta KIND Detained Program as a Managing Attorney, Atlanta - Detained. She joined the KIND team in November of 2020. She began her legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow. In law school Maria was active in the Immigration Legal Clinic. Maria is a passionate advocate for children and immigrant rights. She is fluent in Spanish.
Managing Attorney, Atlanta - Released
Sarah Katz join the KIND Atlanta office as a Managing Attorney, Atlanta - Released. Sarah has worked for many years as an immigrant advocate, beginning as a paralegal with Ayuda Legal Aid in 1999, when she assisted hundreds of Central American clients gain permanent residency through the NACARA program. Most recently, Sarah served as an interim staff attorney with the KIND DC-VA office where she mentored pro bono attorneys to prepare asylum applications and custody petitions for unaccompanied immigrant children. Sarah lives in Decatur, GA with her husband and their three sons. She enjoys yoga, biking, and walks with friends.
Hadar Swerdlow is a Senior Attorney at Kids in Need of Defense (KIDS) and provides legal advocacy to children who have been detained. She joined KIND’s Atlanta office in August 2023 and manages a team of passionate attorneys and paralegals. Her life’s work has been dedicated to the public interest and social justice. Prior to joining KIND, she worked for various nonprofits and the majority of her career was spent at Community Legal Aid SoCal where she litigated primarily for immigrant survivors of domestic violence in Compton, California. Her experience has been focused on providing trauma-informed care to monolingual Spanish speakers. She also pioneered and procured significant funding for a program to serve those in her own community experiencing abuse. Hadar graduated magna cum laude from UCLA in 2009 with a B.A. in Linguistics and Anthropology and a minor in Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Hadar received a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 2012, where she demonstrated her commitment to empowering clients to gain access to the justice system. Hadar enjoys traveling, swimming, dancing and spending time with her family and friends. She is a mother to two young children and is committed to kindly helping children find their voice.
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Cruz supports the KIND Detained Program as a Staff Attorney at the Atlanta Field Office. He joined the KIND team in January of 2022. Prior to joining KIND, he graduated from the College of Law at Georgia State University where he was a Student Attorney at the Immigration Clinic. During his time in the Immigration Clinic, Cruz helped represent immigrant clients and advance their cases for relief. As a child of Mexican immigrants, he has long been personally invested in the immigrant experience and pursued a career as an immigration attorney to help the immigrant community thrive in this country. He is fluent in Spanish.
Bio coming soon!
Kevin Jackson is a Staff Attorney in Legal Services, supporting immigrant children in Georgia’s foster care system. Kevin graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2020. During school, he volunteered or completed internships with Ayuda, Church World Services, and the Legal Aid Justice Center, assisting refugees, asylum seekers, trafficked individuals, and applicants for Special Immigrant Juvenile status. Before law school, he spent two years as a teacher at an international school in China. Kevin holds a B.A. in history from Ouachita Baptist University.
Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow
Kennedy Weathers joined KIND as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow in August 2022. Kennedy graduated from the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law in May 2022. During law school, she completed internships with the Southern Poverty Law Center in the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, and Maxwell Street Legal Clinic. In these positions she assisted refugees, those seeking asylum, victims of trafficking, and those applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Kennedy holds a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from Spelman College.
Kiria Abreu Sanchez
Kiria Abreu Jimenez supports the KIND’s Atlanta Field Office as a Temporary Staff Attorney. She joined KIND in February 2022. Kiria is a native of the Dominican Republic and fluent in Spanish. She recently graduated from the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law. While in law school, she immersed herself in the school's immigration clinic, where as a student attorney she was awarded the Ward Kershaw Clinical Advocacy Prize for her success in obtaining a grant of asylum before the Baltimore Immigration Court. Kiria strongly believes that every noncitizen deserves the opportunity to go through the system represented by legal counsel, so that they may exhaust all avenues available when pleading their cases. She hopes that through her position at KIND, she will be able to serve to amplify the voices of her clients.
Alexandra De La Rosa
Alexandra is originally from North Carolina but spent her formative years in Dominican Republic. She attended Georgia State University in Atlanta where she holds a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Political Science. After graduating, she worked with several nonprofit organizations primarily serving children and families. As the daughter of immigrants, Alexandra has first-hand knowledge of the hardships and challenges faced by individuals that come to this country to build better lives for themselves and their children. It is because of her family’s history and years of professional experience working with marginalized communities, that she is inspired to work with the immigrant and refugee communities and be an advocate for social justice and inequality.
Guadalupe Soberanis supports the detained team at the Legal Services Department in Atlanta, Georgia. Guadalupe's professional career has included serving as a Paralegal with the Immigration Legal Services Departments at Catholic Charities of Atlanta and Bensman Law Office. Under Jennifer Bensman's guidance and training, Guadalupe has developed an extensive amount of work experience pertaining to immigration cases such as, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), Asylum, Family Petitions, T-Visas, U-Visas, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Citizenship, DACA, and Removal Defense. Guadalupe developed an interest in working with unaccompanied minor children and hopes to continue helping those in need. In the future, Guadalupe Soberanis hopes to continue her education and obtain a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice focusing on legal and correctional systems, multicultural issues, and victim services.
Cindy Garcia was born in Texas and is a first-generation American. She obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and has dedicated her career to serving others previously working for the State of Georgia and State of Texas in the Department of Health and Human Services, and an immigration paralegal for the last four years. She is a certified English/Spanish translator. As a previous military family, she’s met people from all over the world and all walks of life. Her passion is to make a positive difference for someone, with empathy and compassion. Cindy’s goal as a paralegal is to assist in keeping families united. In her free time, she likes to read books and travel.
Idalia Garcia is a paralegal at KIND’s Atlanta field office. She graduated from Georgia State University with a BA in Political Science. Prior to joining KIND, Idalia held the position of Case Support Specialist for the Safe Passages program in the Refugee Resettlement department at Catholic Charities Atlanta. Idalia performed Post-Release Services with unaccompanied children. Responsibilities included providing referrals, assistance with TVAP cases, interpretation, client communication, documentation, client support, and assisting clients in obtaining appropriate legal representation for immigration proceedings by providing referrals and following up with Immigration Legal Services staff members.
Jaqueline Michelle Cuevas
Jaqueline Michelle Cuevas, who also goes by Jackie, is a Paralegal for the Detained Program in Atlanta, GA since March 2023. Jackie is originally from San Diego, CA. Jackie began working in the immigration field after volunteering at Access Inc. Later, Jackie began working as a legal assistant for the Legal Program, SAVE, led by Attorney Anne S. Bautista. Anne became Jackie’s mentor and biggest inspiration. While at SAVE, Jackie worked with victims of crime, assisted clients with their immigration case, and gained extensive immigration work experience while working on U-Visa’s, VAWA’s, Removal of Conditions, Adjustments, Employment Authorizations, and DACA applications. Jackie also hosted Indigenous Women Empowerment meetings in the community of Linda Vista, CA. After Jackie’s time at SAVE, she continued her work at Access Inc. as a peer mentor for at risk youth. Jackie was later hired by Casa Cornelia Law Center, as a General Clerk for the Detained Unaccompanied Children Program. Without realizing it, Jackie has made her childhood dreams come true, by honoring her parents, indigenous roots, and helping at risk youth. Once Jackie finishes her undergrad, she will continue to Law school and become an Immigration Attorney.
Miriam Penafort joined KIND in April 2023 as a Paralegal in the Atlanta office. Miriam is a dedicated advocate for social justice, based in Atlanta. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's degree in Applied Linguistics and a minor in Anthropology. During her time at Georgia State, Miriam interned at Freedom University, an underground school for undocumented youth banned from Georgia's top colleges and universities. Miriam's passion for advocacy continued after graduation as she worked as a Senior Outreach Paralegal at Georgia Legal Services, Farmworker Rights Division. Her work involved traveling to South Georgia to educate farmworkers on their labor rights. Miriam played a key role in helping dozens of farmworkers who were freed during Operation Blooming Onion obtain Continued Presence and supported their efforts in obtaining T-Visas. With a deep commitment to social justice and advocacy, Miriam works closely with attorneys to support children in navigating the complex immigration system and ensuring that their rights are protected.
Victoria Isabel Torres-Leal is a Paralegal with the Atlanta office, starting May 2023. She‘s from Maracaibo, Venezuela and moved to the U.S in 2019. Victoria holds a B.A in Political Science from the Rafael Urdaneta University in Venezuela. Prior to working with KIND, Victoria worked as a Volunteer for the Caritas Internationalis where she worked on the ground in affected low-income areas in Venezuela providing support for those affected by Venezuela’s ongoing economic crisis in 2018. She also worked at Taylor Lee & Associates where she worked as the Junior Paralegal for the Special Immigrant Juveniles Department where she conducted interviews with minors, prepared their cases, drafted pleadings, researched the legal proceedings for Private Dependencies as well as preparing both the sponsor and child for their court hearings. She also provided the Staff Attorney with all the preparations for the case. Victoria has always wanted to work with at risk youth as Venezuelas current political situation has made her a first-hand witness of the trauma and violence that minors go through due to forced immigration.
Willian Prado is an Immigration Paralegal at KIND. He graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Sociology. During his undergraduate career, he interned with the refugee department, he developed a keen interest in working with immigrants, and heightened his desire to work with the immigration legal department as an intern and volunteer at Catholic Charities of Atlanta. His career as a paralegal began in 2018 with Catholic Charities of Atlanta immigration department. He assisted the attorneys with family-based cases, permanent residency, consular process, I-601/I601A waivers, U visas and citizenship part of the New American Campaign (NAC) program, and the LOPC individual and group presentation. He was responsible for various administrative duties. He is passionate about helping our clients navigate the complicated immigration system. He is from Brazil, speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.
Xochitl Gomora is currently acting as an Interim Paralegal as a part of the Detained Team in the Atlanta Office, recently joining KIND in June of 2021. She graduated summa cum lade from Georgia State University with her bachelor’s degree in Marketing and found her passion for immigration law during the summer of her Junior year of college. Before coming to KIND, she interned and worked at the Latin American Association here in Atlanta helping the immigrant community file Naturalization and DACA applications. She believes everyone has the right to live in this world safe and sound, while pursuing anything they want in life. She plans to pursue a JD in the future, hoping to advocate and continue to help the growing Atlanta immigrant community.
Social Services Supervisor
Natalie Segovia is a Social Services Supervisor with KIND. Prior to joining KIND, she provided forensic interviews and family advocacy at a child advocacy center. She brings to this position over 8 years of experience working with and serving different populations in a variety of settings. Natalie is eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She brings clinical and advocacy experience and hopes to continue empowering and working alongside clients. She graduated from Mercer University in 2016 with her Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling where she was a member of Chi Sigma Iota – the Counseling Academic & Professional International Honor Society. Natalie currently resides in Atlanta, GA.
Senior Social Services Coordinator
Paola Padron joined the KIND team in August 2021 and she supports the social services department. Paola received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and completed her internship at Johns Hopkins All Childrens Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL in the Intensive Care Unit gaining extensive experience with trauma response. She then served as the Child Abuse Coordinator for All Children’s Hospital and overlooked all the non accidental traumas of the hospital. Helping people in vulnerable situations has always been a passion for Paola, so she could not have chosen a better field. In addition to her social work background, she also has 3 years experience as a paralegal for immigration law. Throughout her life Paola has been a proud advocate for immigrant and equal rights.
Senior Social Services Coordinator
Roy has an extensive experience working with children and families. Roy worked for almost eight years for the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services, where his work positions included; Medicaid and food stamps case manager, Investigations case manager and Foster Care case manager. It was here where he developed his knowledge about case management and how to coordinate services for children as well as their parents. He then worked for the Georgia Migrant Education program for three years, where he traveled throughout most of north Georgia counties to coordinate educational services for migrant children with different school districts and providers. Roy obtained his Bachelors in social work from Dalton State College where he also served as the president of the social work club, then obtained his Master’s degree from Valdosta State University.
Karen Sanchez Tlaxcalteca
Social Services Coordinator
Karen Sanchez Tlaxcalteca joined KIND’s Atlanta office in June 2023 as a Social Services Coordinator supporting the social services department. Karen received her Master’s in Social Work from Boston University in 2022. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker that brings clinical experience to her role in the hopes of better supporting and working alongside clients. Prior to joining KIND, Karen worked as a clinician at Bethany Christian Services. In this position, she was able to provide individual, group, and family therapy to unaccompanied minors waiting to be reunited with their sponsors. As an immigrant herself, Karen understands the importance of having people that will advocate for immigrants and their human rights. She is passionate in the work that she does. Karen will continue serving the immigrant population through her work at KIND.
Social Services Coordinator
Leslie Garcia joins KIND’s Atlanta office in February 2023 as Social Services Coordinator. Leslie was born in Georgia and is a first-generation Mexican-American. She attended Georgia State University where she earned her Bachelor’s in Social Work and completed her internship with Cobb County Schools. Through her internship, she was able to support and advocate for low-income children and their families in obtaining resources. She continued her work by serving as a Homeless Prevention Case Manager and an Aging and Disability Referral Specialist with the Latin American Association (LAA). After taking a gap year, Leslie returned to Georgia State University where she earned a Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in Community Partnership. As a daughter of immigrants, Leslie understands the power of community work and is a proud advocate for immigrant rights. She has worked with local leaders and organizations to organize and develop programs to empower marginalized communities. Leslie is thankful to have found a profession that aligns with her values and passion for helping others.