Katie Annand is the Managing Attorney for the San Francisco Field Office, and she also runs KIND’s satellite Fresno office. She joined KIND in February 2016 to open both the San Francisco and Fresno offices. Prior to joining KIND, Katie ran a successful solo practice specializing in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a form of legal relief for undocumented children abused, abandoned or neglected by one or both parents. Katie served over one hundred children in her solo practice. Katie also worked as a volunteer and staff attorney with the Immigration Center for Women and Children, where she represented clients seeking SIJS and U Nonimmigrant Status, and as an associate with Reed Smith, LLP in the commercial litigation and financial services groups. Katie is a graduate of University of California, Hastings College of Law, and of Wesleyan University, where she majored in anthropology and received a certificate in international relations. Katie is licensed to practice in the state of California.
Alvaro is a former California ChangeLawyers Legal Fellow and a Staff Attorney in KIND’s Fresno office. As a Staff Attorney, Alvaro provides pro bono legal representation to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children, many of whom have been victims of persecution and violence in their home country. Alvaro first discovered his passion for social justice work while pursuing his Bachelor of the Arts at the University of North Florida. There, he worked with the University’s LGBT Resource Center to ensure the equal treatment of LGBT persons on campus and within the Jacksonville community. That passion then led Alvaro, during his law school career, to intern with various non-profit organizations such as ACCESS, Inc., the California Innocence Project, and the Casa Cornelia Law Center, providing legal services to victims of domestic violence, wrongfully convicted individuals, and victims of human and civil rights violations. After law school, Alvaro worked in the private sector as an immigration attorney, representing individuals in family-based immigration, removal defense, and post-conviction relief matters. He has been inducted into the National Society for Collegiate Scholars, the Political Science Honors Society, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and the Pro Bono Honors Society, and is a two-time recipient of the Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono Legal Services. Alvaro is admitted in the State of California and is fluent in Spanish.
Ana Moraga Archila
Acting Supervising Attorney
Ana Moraga Archila brings direct services, teaching and entrepreneurial experience to her position at KIND. Prior to KIND, Ana was at Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project where she provided legal representation to unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings and detained adults found mentally incompetent to stand trial. In addition, Ana led group and individual trainings for detainees at Adelanto Detention Center for the Legal Orientation Program. Ana’s interest in the law was awakened through her experience as co-founder of the organization MuJER- Mujeres por la Justicia, Educación y el Reconocimiento (Women for Justice Education and Awareness). Ana served as MuJER’s Executive Director for five years. She developed spaces of personal and political empowerment with Central American women sex workers and advocated for policies to end violence against women in Guatemala. Ana’s work with MuJER was recognized by the White House in 2012; she was honored as a Champion of Change for her contributions in the development of the Americas. Ana has led workshops and spoken worldwide on non-violence against women, sex work, sexual health and reproductive rights, and women’s rights. Ana joins KIND as a member of the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative. Ana’s work is driven by her experience as an immigrant in the US and sustained by the love of her partner and family, in addition to her practice in the Afro-Brazilian martial art of Capoeira. Ana received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar.
Reena Arya is a Staff Attorney in KIND's San Francisco office where she provides direct representation to children. Previously, Reena was a Training and Legal Support Senior Attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, where she provided technical assistance and trainings to CLINIC affiliate agencies around the country. Reena was also an Asylum Officer and Trainer at the San Francisco Asylum Office, where she trained new asylum officers and interviewed and adjudicated asylum cases. She has also advocated for immigrants and asylum seekers, whom she represented in removal proceedings and before USCIS, as a Staff Attorney at HIAS, Human Rights First, the ACLU of New Jersey, and in private practice. She was a Staff Attorney in the immigration and asylum section at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for four years . Reena has worked in various UNHCR field offices in Africa and the Middle East as a protection and resettlement consultant. She is a graduate of Penn State Law School and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin. She speaks French and Spanish.
Carol Bisharat is KIND’s Senior Attorney for unaccompanied minors in San Francisco. She brings a breadth of experience to her job, having worked as a deputy public defender and later as a solo practitioner focused on juvenile defense, immigration and appellate work. What began as the focus of a master’s thesis at the University of Alcala de Henares, Spain, — the plight of unaccompanied migrant children– led her to serve on a delegation to Guatemala in 2014 investigating the condition of children, and subsequently to work at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and now KIND as part of a San Francisco grant to provide access to counsel for unaccompanied children and their families. Carol practices in a variety of venues, primarily pursuing asylum and SIJS for her clients. She also provides pro bono mentorship for KIND’s San Francisco cases. Carol is fluent in Spanish and loves to travel.
Karina Castro serves as a Paralegal in KIND’s San Francisco office. She provides a range of case support for children referred to KIND in Bay Area counties. Karina was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. As the child of Central American immigrants, she was inspired at an early age by her parents’ struggles and triumphs. She has been fortunate to study in San Salvador, El Salvador and Córdoba, Argentina. During her master’s program she studied in Mexico City, Mexico where she volunteered at a migrant shelter. She also participated in a course on refugee management service in Rome, Italy. Her master’s program research was based in Tijuana, Mexico and focused on how service providers responded to the Haitian refugee crisis. Karina holds degrees in Latin American and International Studies and a Masters in Migration Studies from the University of San Francisco, as well as a paralegal certificate from West Los Angeles College. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and exploring new hiking trails throughout the city.
Alma Lemus Diaz
Alma Lemus was born in Michoacan, Mexico and raised in the small farm-worker community of Farmersville, California. Alma attended the community college, College of the Sequoias located in Visalia, California and transferred to the University of Southern California (USC) which is based in Los Angeles. Alma is the recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from USC. Her passion for immigrant rights started while attending USC and being involved in various groups supporting undocumented students. Prior to joining Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Alma worked at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) based in Los Angeles. While at CARECEN Alma worked for two different departments, the Survivors of Violence Unit and the Deportation Defense Team as a legal assistant and U-VIsa/VAWA Intake Coordinator. At CARECEN, Alma worked under the supervision of staff attorneys and prepared/filed various applications for immigration relief. At KIND, Alma will be working as a paralegal in the Fresno office.
Florencia Reyes Donohue
Florencia was born and raised in El Salvador. Prior to joining KIND, Florencia worked in a private immigration law firm in San Francisco providing assistance in cases that focused on asylum, U Visa, VAWA, DACA, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, provisional waiver applications, naturalization and family-based visas. Florencia received a law degree in El Salvador from Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas. Florencia moved to the United States and obtained a Master of Comparative Law at California Western School of Law. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Florencia worked at the International Rescue Committee in San Diego and was a BIA accredited representative.
Miriam is a Bay Area native, who graduated from San Francisco State University and received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with an interest in law. Prior to joining KIND, Miriam worked at private immigration law firms as a paralegal that specialized in family-based petitions, waivers, and consular processing. Miriam is very excited to be joining KIND as a program assistant and contribute to the organization. She is extremely passionate about advocating for social justice and immigrant rights. She has volunteered at legal centers throughout the Bay Area and was part of a small insurance firm that helped insure those who were undocumented pre-AB60 era. Miriam is fluent in Spanish.
Acting Social Services Supervisor
America Hernandez is an immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico who has spent the majority of her life in the Central Valley of California. She is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. As an undocumented student with limited opportunities, she worked hard to pursue her dreams of going to college. She graduated early from high school at the age of 16 and attended Fresno State from 2000 to 2003. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Chicano and Latin American Studies and has a Minor in English and another in Spanish. America has always been passionate about immigrant rights and social justice issues that affect minorities. She actively worked on the A.B. 540 campaign in 2001 in California that allowed for undocumented students to be able to pay in-state tuition in California, and has also been a public advocate for the Dream Act since 2004. America frequently shares her story with the media, and also with locally and nationally elected officials such as Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris in hopes of elevating support for the Dream Act and general Immigration Reform. She has also been presented with certificates of recognition by the offices of Council Members Esmeralda Soria and Oliver Baines, Congressman Jim Costa, California Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula and Senator Kamala Harris for her work in the community and her advocacy around DACA and Dreamer issues. Presently, America works with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) as a Social Services Coordinator to ensure that unaccompanied immigrant children in the Central Valley are able to access essential services and resources, and advocating for them when needed. America is also a giving member of the Central Valley Latino Giving Circle Network, which is a philanthropist group that invests in Latino-led organizations that serve the Central Valley. She has also collaborated with other Dreamer Leaders of the Central Valley on creating opportunities for undocumented youth to be involved in the civic process, despite not being able to vote, by helping to educate and empower eligible voters.
Katherine Krassilnikoff is a Supervising Attorney at the San Francisco office of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). Katherine joined KIND in April 2016. Prior to joining KIND, Katherine worked as an immigration attorney providing direct representation at a Bay Area non-profit organization. Katherine’s caseload included asylum, U Visa, VAWA, DACA, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, humanitarian parole, provisional waivers, naturalization, consular processing and family-based visas. Katherine received her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law where she earned a Social Justice and Public Interest Certificate. Katherine is licensed to practice in the state of California.
Staff Attorney – Fresno
Elizabeth was born and raised in San Diego, California. She is fluent in Spanish and has been working with unaccompanied children since 2014. Elizabeth studied International Relations and Latin American Studies at Tufts University. During college, she spent a semester studying abroad in Arica, Chile. Upon graduation, Elizabeth moved to Washington, DC where she interned at the Washington Office on Latin America, and then worked as a Program Assistant in KIND’s Washington, DC office. She was very inspired by the attorneys at KIND, which led her to pursue a law degree at UC Hastings. While in law school, Elizabeth worked as a clinical student at Legal Services for Children, where she assisted in representation of unaccompanied minors in detention. She also traveled twice to Texas to volunteer with RAICES at the family detention center in Karnes. At Hastings, she served as an editor on the Constitutional Law Quarterly, and published an article on the Flores Settlement Agreement and unaccompanied children. She graduated from Hastings cum laude in Spring 2018. Elizabeth is thrilled to return to KIND as a Staff Attorney in the Fresno office.
Ivan Salvador Villaseñor Madriz
Social Services Coordinator
Prior to joining KIND, Ivan led work at the intersection of mental health and restorative practices. Most of his work focused on culturally responsive capacity building. He received his undergraduate degree in Peace and Conflict concentrating in Human Security from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, Ivan is an Impact Scholar at the International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School pursuing a Master's degree.
Brenda Lopez is a paralegal at the San Francisco Office of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and is fluent in Spanish. Brenda is a Central Valley native who was born and raised in Lindsay, California. In the past she has worked with migrant communities in her hometown and surrounding cities. She moved to the Bay Area in 2014 and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018 with her B.A. in Legal Studies and Spanish.
Senior Social Service Coordinator
Ana Pano supports the Social Services department at KIND in Fresno, California. Her professional career has included non-profit program development and direct practice with diverse communities. Ana has extensive experience and training working with systems involved and formerly incarcerated youth and families through counseling, advocacy, and case management services in Spanish and English. She has worked directly with immigrant and asylum-seeking children-youth and families in assessing their needs, advocating on their behalf, and referring to services through practices of culturally relevant, gender responsive, and trauma informed. Ana was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States with her family at a young age. The experiences of growing up undocumented sparked Ana’s passion in advocacy for marginalized communities and understanding intergenerational and migration related trauma. As a first-generation college student, Ana attended Fresno City College and then transferred to CSU-Fresno where she served as research assistant and interviewer for a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) study and a bicultural Latinx mental health pilot program. In 2015, Ana received her master’s degree in social work with a graduate certificate in child welfare. Ana looks forward to joining the KIND team to provide supportive services to assist children and families in the Central Valley and beyond.
Andrea Swenson is a Staff Attorney at the San Francisco Office of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). Prior to joining KIND, Andrea worked as an Immigration Attorney for Catholic Charities in Oakland representing unaccompanied children seeking asylum and special immigrant juvenile status. Andrea also worked as a Staff Attorney with the International Institute of the Bay Area where she represented clients in a variety of matters relating to family immigration, citizenship, and humanitarian visas. Andrea is a graduate of Boston College Law School and the University of Washington. She is a member of the California bar and she speaks Spanish.
Alejandra Tovar is the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents. She was raised in Mexico and attended the University of Saint Nicholas of Hidalgo, Faculty of Law). After becoming a lawyer, she worked for the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs in one of the Regional Offices, and, later, for a law firm. Then, Alejandra took a position with the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, California. She led the Department of Civil Registry and Visas, Powers of Attorney, and Acquisition of Mexican Citizenship. She also worked with the Protection Department, where she assisted with cases involving victims of crimes and human trafficking (VAWA and U and T visas), restitution for minors under the Hague Convention, and Mexican nationals benefitting from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In 2013, Alejandra joined the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF) as an Immigrant and ACA Fellow. In 2014 she was promoted to the Assistant Director of the Sustainable Rural Communities Project (SRCP). She was also a fully accredited BIA representative, and she was the coordinator of the monthly free DACA and Naturalization workshops for low income farm working families. In addition, through CRLAF, Alejandra provided assistance to unaccompanied minors in the Central Valley. Prior to leaving CRLAF, Alejandra was named the Co-Director of SRCP. Alejandra received her B.A. in International Law.
Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow
Brandon is a recent graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, and is excited to join KIND as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow in the Fresno satellite office. He was part of the Law School's Queer Caucus, and he participated in the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice and Domestic Violence Clinics. He completed internships with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project and the Immigration Unit at MetroWest Legal Services.