Acting Managing Attorney
Gilda began her legal career as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow with KIND in 2015, representing unaccompanied minor children before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the United States Citizenship and Immigration service. She is thrilled and honored to continue KIND’s work to make sure children have legal representation in immigration proceedings as a Staff Attorney in the Newark office. Prior to her work with KIND, Gilda participated in the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law’s Immigration Justice Clinic, where she advocated for her client in his removal proceedings before the Immigration Court. Gilda also interned at the Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project and the New York Immigration Court during law school. Gilda received her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in June 2015 and her B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University in May 2012. She is licensed to practice law in the states of New Jersey and New York and is fluent in Spanish.
Laura is the Program Assistant for KIND'S Newark office. Prior to joining KIND she was a social work intern at First Friends of NJ and NY, where she provided emotional support, advocacy, and resettlement assistance to immigrants and asylum seekers in immigration detention. She also interned at Worldwide Orphans where she provided administrative support and direct services for their local and international programs. Laura graduated Summa Cum Laude from Seton Hall University in 2018, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and a minor in Political Science. She then graduated with a Master's of Social Work degree from Columbia School of Social Work in 2019, concentrating in International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees. She is also a Licensed Social Worker in the state of New Jersey.
Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellow
Amelia is an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Microsoft and Reed Smith LLP, and will provide direct representation to children in immigration proceedings. During her fellowship term, Amelia will also conduct outreach targeting the unique healthcare and social service needs of immigrant children. Prior to joining KIND, Amelia served as a judicial law clerk in the New Jersey Superior Court – Family Part. Amelia graduated from Rutgers Law School in 2018 where she was an Immigrant Justice Fellow, worked in the Immigrant Justice Clinic, and interned at HIAS Pennsylvania, Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. Before law school, Amelia studied social work and served as an AmeriCorps volunteer at a health clinic in Washington, DC. Amelia is admitted to practice law in New Jersey.
Stephen Guzman served as KIND’s Program Assistant for two years before transitioning to Paralegal. As a Program Assistant, Stephen conducted “Know Your Rights” presentations and intake interviews for children referred to KIND in New Jersey, including families that were separated at the border. He also assisted the Pro Bono Coordinating Attorneys in working with KIND’s network of pro bono attorneys. In his current role as a Paralegal, Stephen will work directly with KIND’s attorneys – both in-house and pro bono – in the duration of their cases. Prior to joining KIND, Stephen was a part of the Lives in Translation program, an undergraduate interpreting and translating program in affiliation with Rutgers Law. He has also interned at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and Senator Cory Booker’s office, all located in Newark. Stephen also served as an intern at KIND during his undergraduate studies. Stephen received his B.A. in political science from Rutgers University – Newark in May 2017. He is fluent in Spanish.
Kimberly Krone is an immigration attorney who has been working with children and youth throughout her legal career. Prior to joining KIND, she was the Supervising Attorney for a joint project of the Child Advocacy and Immigrant Justice Clinics at Rutgers Law School, providing immigration representation to children and youth involved in the New Jersey foster care system. There, she also mentored Pro Bono Attorneys representing children and youth in their immigration matters. She also served as Executive Director for First Friends of New Jersey and New York, which serves detained immigrants through volunteer visitation, resettlement assistance, and advocacy. Kimberly began her legal career at the American Friends Service Committee's Immigrant Rights Program in Newark, New Jersey as a KIND Fellow and then as the Youth Justice Attorney. She has interned and volunteered at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and the Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center. Kimberly has written a variety of articles in local and national outlets and presented on human rights and immigration topics. Kimberly graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law, where she was the Center for Social Justice Scholar in the International Human Rights/Rule of Law initiative and worked as a research assistant, intern, and student attorney. Kimberly is admitted to practice law in New Jersey and New York and is fluent in Spanish.
Interim Staff Attorney
Jessica Lazo is the Interim Staff Attorney at KIND's Newark office. Prior to joining KIND, Jessica worked with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York for eight years. Most recently, she was the ONA Region 8 Legal Counsel at Catholic Charities. During this time, Jessica was chosen to receive Orange County, New York's Rising Star Award, which honored her as an outstanding leader under 40 from the non-profit sector. She received her Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law in December of 2011, graduating with a concentration in immigration law and a Pro Bono Award Certificate. She also graduated from Saint John's University with a Bachelor's Degree. She is admitted to practice law in New Jersey and New York. Jessica is fluent in Spanish.
Vanessa Lucas joined the KIND Newark office in 2016 having previously worked with KIND as a Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney in the New York office. She is a former Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law. Vanessa supervised the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s and Children and Family Justice Center’s Immigration practice focusing on legal representation for women, children and adolescents seeking refuge in the U.S. Prior to her tenure at Northwestern, she worked as a Staff Attorney at the Association of the Bar of the City of NY, coordinating pro bono services for the Cancer Advocacy and Elder Law Programs. She began her legal career as a Litigation Associate at Proskauer in New York. Vanessa also served as Vice President of the Advisory Board of Directors of the Young Center for Immigrant and Refugee Children in Chicago. She received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. She is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is admitted to practice law in New York and Illinois.
Samantha is a Senior Attorney in KIND’s Newark Office. She began her legal career at KIND as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, with a project focused on increasing receptivity to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in New Jersey. Before returning to KIND, Samantha was a Staff Attorney in the Immigrant Rights Clinic at Rutgers Law School in Newark, where she represented children, families, and Rutgers students in immigration cases, organized legal clinics for the local immigrant community, and led the Immigrant Rights Clinic’s response to immigration policies implemented after the November 2016 election. At Rutgers, Samantha also represented low-income immigrants detained at Essex County Correctional Facility as a part of New Jersey's Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative. Samantha is a board member of the Refugee Reunification Project, an organization that provides financial assistance to help refugee families reunite safely in the United States. Samantha received her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law and her B.A., in International Relations and Hispanic Studies from the College of William and Mary. She is fluent in Spanish.
Alejandro Vazquez Rojas
Alejandro “Alex” Vazquez Rojas is a human rights activist and an advocate for refugees, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration reform, and social justice. He began his social and political activism in 2009, inspired by the election of President Obama a year earlier. Throughout most of his adulthood, Alex has stood up against injustices committed to the most marginalized in our society. While in college, he organized food drives, raised awareness about poverty and disenfranchisement, assisted in bringing HIV prevention services to his fellow classmates, and hosted and participated in human rights campaigns as an activist and Student Area Coordinator for Amnesty International. After graduating from college in May 2013 with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, Alex went on to serve as an immigration legal intern for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Elizabeth, NJ. Then, he was hired as an Immigration Caseworker and eventually promoted to the position of Immigration Supervisor. The IRC’s legal department sponsored Alex to become a partial-Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) representative so that he can be authorized by law to represent refugees, asylees, and other immigrants before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). During his time at the IRC Alex assisted thousands of refugees and other immigrants in their applications for a wide range of immigration benefits, including adjustment of status, family reunification, DACA, naturalization, travel documents, employment authorization, and consular processing. He departed the IRC in June 2018 and took a work hiatus until July 2019 when he started volunteering at Make the Road NJ (MRNJ). While at MRNJ, Alex assisted the supervising attorney in Asylum, T Visa, SIJ, Naturalization, and DACA cases. He facilitated attorney-client meetings, drafted declarations, assisted with interpretation for applicants in asylum interviews, conducted country conditions and immigration law research, and provided application assistance. Alex ‘s work has always been guided by his commitment to hope, justice and freedom for all peoples.
Social Services Coordinator
Monica is the Social Service Coordinator with KIND's Newark, NJ office. She graduated with a Masters of Social Work from Rutgers University in 2016 and previously graduated with a Bachelors of Psychology from Montclair State University. Prior to joining KIND, she dedicated four years of work with BCFS Health & Human Services, where she provided emotional support, advocacy, and resettlement placement assessments for unaccompanied minors, in accordance with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Monica also interned with the International Rescue Committee located in Elizabeth, NJ, where she provided refugee families and their children, assistance with integration into U.S. educational system, orientation, school enrollment, ESL curriculum enrollment, and access to community resources. As a first generation child of Latino immigrant parents, Monica understands there are many challenges migrant families face upon entering the United States, including lack of knowledge or awareness regarding their legal rights, communication and difficulties in adaptation to a new environment, culture and community. Monica is eager and passionate to be able to provide assistance to families in need and be a part of the KIND team.