Vice President, International Programs
Lisa serves as KIND’s Vice President, International Programs. Lisa was a co-editor and contributing author of Childhood, Migration, and Human Rights in Central and North America: Causes, Policies, Practices, and Challenges, a study on children affected by migration in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States, written in collaboration with organizations from each country and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. Previously, she was Managing Attorney at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). Throughout her eight years at CGRS, Lisa worked to advance law and policy for immigrant women, children, and asylum seekers through impact litigation, national policy advocacy, and extensive training and mentoring of attorneys. Prior to CGRS, Lisa practiced child immigration and child welfare law at Legal Services for Children. She began her legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center representing immigrant children before the Immigration Court and Board of Immigration Appeals. Lisa has trained and mentored attorneys across the country and has presented to federal judges, immigration judges, and asylum officers. She is a 2002 graduate of Berkeley Law, Order of the Coif, and a 1996 graduate of the University of Maryland, magna cum laude.
Senior Director, Latin America
Rachel has worked for over ten years in direct service, program management, research, and advocacy roles to support and promote the rights of children and youth, immigrants and refugees, and survivors of gender-based violence. She served for five years as Director of Gender and Migration Initiatives at KIND, where she led research and advocacy on gender-based violence (GBV) and child migration and led the development and expansion of KIND’s GBV prevention programming in Guatemala and Honduras. Rachel has conducted research in Central America and Mexico on topics related to gender, community organizing, and state violence prevention policy. She has Master’s degrees in Latin American Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and Public Affairs/Policy Analysis, and a Bachelor’s degree in History with a Latin America concentration.
Bio coming soon
I was born and raised in El Salvador. Graduated as a lawyer in my country, specializing in criminal justice. Since I began my studies, I became involved in working with communities, which became my motivation and passion, focusing mainly on defending the human rights of the most vulnerable populations in my country. For the past nine years, I have worked with the immigrant community in this country helping them improve their parenting skills and helping them adapt to this country. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading and handcrafts.
Director, Legal Protection, International Programs
Laura serves as KIND’s Director, Legal Protection, International Programs, focusing on family reunification and international protection of children and separated families in Central America and Mexico. Laura has had the opportunity to assist thousands of refugees and migrants from Africa, Latin American and the Middle East through her work with international and U.S. NGOs and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and has spent significant time providing direct services to individuals and families in the field. During her time at UNHCR, Laura managed the Protection Transfer Arrangement in El Salvador, a pilot program facilitating the emergency resettlement of high-risk cases that has since expanded to Guatemala and Honduras, and led the Mediterranean inter-agency emergency response efforts in Egypt during the Syrian refugee crisis. Prior to joining UNHCR, Laura worked in strategic litigation with Asylum Access Ecuador, assisting cases with protection claims before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. After returning to the United States in 2017, Laura was one of the first attorneys to join the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, providing legal representation to refugees and migrants detained at the Stewart and Irwin County Detention Centers in South Georgia. Laura joined KIND in 2018 and worked as a Staff Attorney in the Baltimore and Atlanta field offices before joining the Regional Policy & Initiatives team. Laura is a graduate of Georgetown Law and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and lives with her husband and their very good dog.
Director, Reintegration Programs
Emily comes to KIND with 10 years of experience in child welfare and community engagement. Prior to joining KIND, Emily managed Foster Care Case Management at the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations and Community Organizing & Development at the Norris Square Civic Assoc., two Latino community-based organizations in Philadelphia. Emily has worked on community outreach and engagement campaigns around neighborhood development, gun violence, voter turn-out, and economic development. To her work at KIND she brings skills in program management, continuous Spanish-English interpretation, and trauma-informed child and family practice. Emily holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Temple University, concentrating in Community and Social Policy. In graduate school, she interned with the American Friends Service Committee, advocating for Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people. She has studied, worked, and traveled throughout Central and South America. On the weekends, Emily loves to bike and cook.
M. Lucero Ortiz, Esq.
Director, Partnerships & Capacity Strengthening
Lucero serves as the Director, Partnerships & Capacity Strengthening. Most recently, she served as the Director of Legal Services at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) and solo practitioner focused on immigration and family law in Washington, DC. She brings valuable experience in strategic planning, coalition building, and delivery of culturally competent, community-based direct legal services based on positions at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Washington, DC and Los Angeles, CA, respectively. She has appeared on local, national, and international print, television, and radio media on topics related to immigration law and policy. For her important contributions, Lucero has received several awards and recognitions including DOL Secretary's Exceptional Achievement Award, HBA-DC's Rising Star Award, the Premio Inspiración and Bou Alumni Award from American University Washington College of Law, among others. Lucero is a graduate of American University Washington College of Law (WCL) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has lived, studied, and traveled throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Central America.
Elba Coria Márquez
Advocacy Director, Mexico
As a Mexican attorney, Elba comes to KIND, Mexico Program with expertise in the promotion and defense of the human rights of migrants and refugees in Mexico and the Americas. She has extensive experience working in academia, clinical legal defense, strategic litigation, and advocacy on public and political policies at a national and regional level. Prior to joining KIND, she directed the first law clinic on refugees in Mexico at the Ibero-American University and served as the Regional Associate of the International Coalition Against Detention, where she developed and advocated for immigration authorities to implement the first model of alternatives to detention for unaccompanied migrant children in Mexico. She was also Deputy Coordinator of the legal defense and strategic litigation area at Sin Fronteras IAP and has collaborated as a consultant, researcher and academic with different institutions, including the Center for Research and Economic Teaching (CIDE), the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR), the Institute for Legal Research (IIJ-UNAM), and the University of Texas (UT), among others. Elba is a graduate of law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where she also studied international relations, and holds a Master’s degree in Conflict and International Security from the University of Dublin, Ireland.
Maria Trinidad Ariztia
Director, Gender & Migration
Bio coming soon
Senior Attorney, Mexico
Nick Stefaniak is a Senior Attorney based in Tijuana with KIND’s Mexico Initiative. Prior to joining KIND, he worked for Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge where he led a team that conducted the Legal Orientation Program in rural Louisiana detention centers and represented detained adults in removal proceedings. Previously, he was the Georgetown Fellow at Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston where he provided services for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors, refugees, dreamers, and asylum-seekers. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center where he received a Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies Certificate after working with a team researching barriers children face seeking asylum in Mexico. Prior to law school, Nick taught high school English in Miami and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica.
Managing Attorney, Mexico
Florence Chamberlin is the Managing Attorney for the Mexico Initiative. Previously, Florence was the Managing Attorney for KIND's Family Separation Response Team where she managed family separation cases originating at the KIND field offices in San Francisco, Seattle and Fresno. Ms. Chamberlin is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Prior to joining KIND, Ms. Chamberlin exclusively practiced immigration law representing corporations and individuals in proceedings before the various administrative offices of the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS, ICE, CBP) and at consular offices around the globe. She has extensive experience with complex family immigration matters as well as removal defense before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Staff Attorney, Mexico
Cielo Fortin-Camacho is proud immigrant with a firm commitment to serving vulnerable populations. Prior to joining KIND, Cielo volunteered and worked with Catholic Charities Fort Worth and the Law Office of Veronica Garza serving vulnerable immigrant populations throughout north and central Texas. Cielo has written for numerous publications, including various chapters for the most frequently cited money laundering and anti-terrorism treatise. Additionally, Cielo’s articles and comprehensive research on diversity within the legal profession has served as training material at state bar conferences. Cielo graduated from Texas A&M School of Law in 2017, where she was chosen to represent the law school as a Scribe inductee with The American Society of Legal Writers, served as the president of the Immigration Law Initiative and International Law Society, and was the recipient of several public interest grants. Cielo is also a graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, and Dalian University of Foreign Languages in Dalian, China. In her spare time, Cielo currently serves as the vice-president of Benny’s Books, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit she co-founded to promote literacy among Latino children and children from low income families generally. Cielo speaks French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and English.
Program Coordinator, Mexico
Monica is a native of Watertown, South Dakota and a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she studied Government, International Affairs, Spanish, and Anthropology. While at Augie, she was politically and civically active, getting involved in everything from a US Senate campaign to running a varieties show. Additionally, she spent part of her junior year working at the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington D.C. and Knoxville, Tennessee. After graduation, she immediately started working at the major South Dakota law firm Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, where she assisted the attorneys in the Trusts & Estates division. She held this position until she decided to move to Baltimore and begin a new adventure with KIND. When she isn’t working, you can find her walking her mini goldendoodle Atticus or doing YOGA. Most recently, she has started training for a half marathon in the fall.
Mario Narcisco Avila Melgar
Social Services Coordinator
Mario is a Mexican psychologist with a specialty in social justice and social development. Born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, Mario has focused his work on the border context and has collaborated with a variety of non-governmental organizations. Mario has extensive experience working with people in vulnerable conditions such as those living with HIV, substance abuse/addiction recovery, migrant populations along the border and LGBTTTI+ groups. Mario has been part of the team since August 2020, joining first as a Social Services Consultant. Mario assesses the safety and needs of KIND’s clients by providing psycho-emotional support, as well as helping them connect with other services such as education, health, food, housing or clothing.
Georgina Guadalupe Ramos Martinez
Social Services Coordinator
Georgina Ramos supports the Social Services Department at KIND in Tijuana, Mexico, since June, 2021. Has been working with Non Profits for more than 17 years. Right out of High School, she lived one year as a volunteer at a Women’s Shelter near Mexico City. She coordinated the Information and Communication Technologies Department of Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes Mexico for almost 11 years, where she specialized in Networking in the Central and North American Region to provide services to migrants and their families and refer them as required; design and implemmentation of Psycho-educational Programs in Veracruz, Puebla and Mexico City; of Data Bases to register Human Rights Violations and Missing Migrants; accompany students and volunteers from Mexican and US Universities, among others. Holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science and has studies from the Master’s Program in Education from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico City and she is honored of putting her knowledge and experience into service of vulnerable Migrant Children.
Janaina Vargas Costa
Janaina Vargas joined KIND Mexico as a Paralegal in Tijuana in July 2021. Before joining KIND, she worked for the Mexican Consulate in San Antonio, Texas at the Community Affairs Department, overseeing educational and financial programs to serve the Mexican community. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Iberoamerican University in Mexico City, her dissertation researched the violation to the right to seek asylum in the United States due the externalization of borders. Janaina, during her undergraduate career joined the Refugee Law Clinic where she developed a keen interest in working with asylum seekers and refugees in Mexico. When she graduated she moved to Texas to collaborate with the Immigration Law Clinic at UT Austin, focusing on MPP cases. In the future Janaina hopes to earn a Master’s degree in International Public Law focusing in Refugee Law and Human Rights.
Ximena Camargo supports the Special Programs – Tijuana, Mexico at KIND as a Staff Attorney, she joined the KIND team in July 2021. Graduated magna cum laude from Anahuac University in Cancun Mexico, currently studying a master’s degree at Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Human Rights and Democracy. Before joining KIND, she worked in Asylum Access Mexico, as an International Refugee Attorney representing people in need of international protection during the refugee determination process in Mexico, also she worked as a Refugee Attorney in the Jesuit Service for Migrants, giving law consults to people in need of international protection, and victims of human rights violations, al last she word as an constitutional attorney in Alma Migrante, being the managing attorney of the constitutional process concerned about human rights violations, specifically does who affected the migrant population.
Joshua Rodriguez supports the International Program at KIND. As a first generation, queer, Afro-Latino he personally understands the importance of everyone having the opportunity to be heard. His passion for defending the human rights of migrants is rooted in his family's migration experience from Ecuador to the United States. His professional career has included analyzing potential cases for clients and designating critical strategies for each case as well as appearing before various immigration courts throughout the United States for Master Calendar Hearings and Individual Hearings. His case load has included family petitions, deportation defense, asylum, bond hearings, and assistance with consular processing. As an attorney licensed to practice in the state of Alabama, he was able to represent minors for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases. Joshua also co-hosted legal segments on iHeartMedia, discussing the civil rights of individuals. He received his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law where he was awarded the Dean scholarship throughout his attendance. He was the president of the Hispanic Law Student Association, and a member on the Trial Advocacy team. Joshua received his bachelor's degree in Political Science Pre-Law at Saint Peter's University in his hometown Jersey City, NJ.