Vice President, Regional Policy and Initiatives
Lisa serves as KIND’s Vice President of Regional Policy and Initiatives. 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 for 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.
Senior Protection Officer
Laura serves as KIND’s Senior Protection Officer, 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.
Deputy Director for México
Lucero serves as the Deputy Director for Mexico. 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.