Director, Special Programs
As an immigration law expert with over ten years in the field, Christie oversees KIND’s family separation work nationwide, in addition to other special initiatives and projects. Christie previously served as Deputy Director of Legal Services, helping manage KIND’s East Coast field offices. Christie also served as the Managing Attorney for KIND’s Washington, DC and Northern Virginia field offices. Prior to joining KIND, Christie was a Supervising Attorney at Catholic Charities’ Hogar Immigrant Services in Virginia, where her work included deportation defense and family-based immigration matters. A 2008 honors graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Christie was a Fellow at the National Women’s Law Center and interned at several immigrant rights organizations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Catholic Charities of Washington, DC, and American Gateways in Austin, Texas. In addition, Christie participated in the University of Texas School of Law Immigration Clinic and Transnational Worker Rights Clinic and served as a Human Rights Scholar with the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. Prior to law school, Christie spent three years supporting consumer protection investigations and litigation at the Federal Trade Commission.
Esther joined KIND in Washington, D.C. as a Skadden Fellow in September 2020. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and has over ten years of experience volunteering with immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees. During her time in law school, Esther completed internships with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She also represented clients in several clinics, including the Immigrant Rights Clinic, International Refugee Assistance Project, and Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project. As an avid linguaphile, Esther speaks Spanish, Russian, and Hungarian and is currently learning Amharic.
Drew supports the Special Programs team at KIND. She joined the KIND team in November 2020. Prior to joining KIND she worked as a Case Manager at Casa Marianella, a shelter that provides housing and supportive services to immigrants and asylum-seekers in Austin, Texas. She also spent time serving as a volunteer at La 72 Migrant and Refugee Shelter in Tabasco, Mexico. Drew graduated from McGill University in 2018 with a B.A. in Anthropology.
Rachel Bennion supports the Family Separation and Special Programs team at KIND. She joined KIND in April 2021. Prior to joining KIND, Rachel helped manage the immigration pro bono program and represented clients seeking immigration relief at Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services in Washington, D.C. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Public Administration, and a J.D. from Brigham Young University. Her prior experiences include serving as a community organizer for a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA, completing clerkships with the National Immigration Law Center and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, and representing unaccompanied minors in Asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile cases at Catholic Charities San Francisco. She is fluent in Spanish and is a member of the California Bar.
Rodolfo Castillo, Jr.
Acting Supervising Attorney
Rodolfo is a passionate about social justice and advancing the rights of the immigrant community, children, and other vulnerable populations. He joined KIND Baltimore in 2017 as a Gallogly Family Foundation Public Interest Fellow and transitioned to the Family Separation Team after completing his fellowship. He is a graduate of American University—Washington College of Law (JD) and Yale University (BA). While in law school, Rodolfo served as a student attorney for the Immigrant Justice Clinic and spent the majority of his time interning and volunteering at public interest organizations, including Whitman-Walker Health Legal Services, ABA Center on Children and the Law, CAIR Coalition, and South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR). Prior to law school, Rodolfo worked for five years an elementary school teacher, primarily teaching at Title I schools in Houston and Miami. Rodolfo grew up in Brownsville, TX and currently resides in Austin, TX with his husband.
Acting Managing Attorney
Based out of New York, Anilu is a Senior Attorney on the Family Separation response team for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). Prior to joining KIND, Anilu served as a Staff Attorney for the ICARE Project at Catholic Charities Community Services (CCCS), where she represented unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings, served as a media liaison, and actively participated in CCCS’ administrative response task force, including site coordination for No Ban JFK, developed and provided community KYRs, and participated in rights telethons through the Office of New Americans. Prior to CCCS, Anilu served as a legal fellow for Catholic Charities Archdioceses of Newark where she represented detained torture survivors through the Access to Justice program. Additionally, Anilu served as a legal fellow for the Safe Passage Project, representing unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings. Anilu received her JD from Howard University School of Law and her BA from the University of New Mexico. As an immigrant from Mexico, Anilu continues to invest her professional career in advancing the rights and dignity of all immigrants and asylum-seekers. Her previous experiences include work at KIND, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and as a Student Attorney for her law school’s criminal justice clinic. Currently, Anilu is also the Co-President of the Board of Trustees for First Friends of New Jersey and New York.
Managing Attorney, Special Programs
Kayleen Hartman is the Managing Attorney for Special Programs at KIND. She comes to the role having previously served as the Director of the Removal Defense Project at the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic at Loyola Law School. Kayleen's previous roles at immigration non-profits include her work as the Pro Bono Coordinator for the Children’s Representation Project at Immigrant Defenders Law Center, and as a staff attorney at Ayuda, a Washington D.C. immigrants’ rights organization. In addition to immigration work, she has served as policy counsel for human trafficking issues at Shared Hope International, and been a fellow at Georgetown's Human Rights Institute, where she worked on school-to-prison pipeline issues. Kayleen earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center with a Certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies. In 2011, she received Georgetown’s Bettina Prukmayer Award for Human Rights. Kayleen received her B.A. from Davidson College.
Prior to joining KIND, Gabriel volunteered his time as a pro bono attorney for the organization representing clients in immigration court and the Circuit Courts of Maryland, as well as helping other KIND pro bono attorneys communicate with their Spanish speaking clients. Gabriel primarily focused his practice of law, apart from immigration, in the areas of landlord-tenant, contracts, administrative, and personal injury law. Gabriel is a 2012 graduate of the Massachusetts School of Law. Born and raised in Texas, Gabriel graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy then from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational and Corporate Communication. At both universities, he was part of several organizations including Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. As a son of immigrant parents and a native Spanish speaker, Gabriel has empathy and a moral duty to help children who face procedural and language barriers once here in the United States. Gabriel is barred in Massachusetts, Maryland and the U.S. District Court District of Maryland.
Kenia Saba Perez
Kenia is passionate about human rights and social justice. Prior to joining KIND, Kenia graduated from Georgetown University with a Master's degree in Latin American Studies where she specialized in human rights, conflict resolution and gender. As a Bolivian-American, Kenia has always had an interest in advocating for the human rights of vulnerable populations in the Latin American region. She completed internships in Bolivia and Colombia where she focused on the rights of indigenous peoples and rural women. During her last semester at Georgetown University, she completed a capstone project regarding the issue of gender stipulations within the Colombian Peace Accords. Working alongside a Georgetown colleague, the Washington Office on Latin America, the Latin America Working Group, and Colombian civil-society organizations, she co-produced an advocacy report identifying priority issues and recommendations for the purpose of lobbying U.S. policymakers to support gender-inclusive conflict resolution and peace-building in Colombia. As a child of immigrant parents, Kenia is also particularly passionate about advocating for the rights of immigrant families and children, and is excited to support KIND's dedicated Special Programs team.
Interim Senior Attorney
Kyle joined the KIND team in January 2017 as a Justice AmeriCorps Fellow in the Newark office. As a JAC Fellow, he represented unaccompanied children before the Newark Immigration Court and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. When the yearlong fellowship ended, Kyle remained on at KIND Newark as a Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, continuing to directly represent unaccompanied children, as well as mentoring pro bono attorneys. At the beginning of 2020, Kyle left KIND to do political work, then returned mid-year in an interim capacity, first with the New York office, then with the Family Separation team, and now with the Newark office as a Senior Attorney. Prior to KIND, Kyle was a contract attorney on electronic discovery projects for law firms in New York City. Kyle earned his B.A. in English Literature from Louisiana State University and his J.D. from Tulane University Law School. He is licensed to practice law in New York and is fluent in Spanish.
Interim Staff Attorney
Alexandra Okolie currently serves as an Interim Staff Attorney for the Family Separation Program in the Houston Office of KIND. Alexandra is from South Florida and 1st generation American in her family. She was a double major in Sociology and Political Science at Mercer University with minors in Spanish and French; and transferred her senior year to University of South Florida to work as a research assistant. She obtained her Bachelors in Sociology from University of South Florida and her Juris Doctorate from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Alexandra has been licensed to practice in the state of Texas since 2013, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Alexandra has been practicing Civil Litigation and Immigration since she was licensed. During Alexandra’s career, she gained significant experience in immigration removal, humanitarian and family-based relief, and crimmigration defense from private law firms, including her own private practice. Alexandra also has experience in the non-profit sector when she worked for the Cabrini Legal Center of Catholic Charities as a staff attorney and senior/supervising attorney. There, Alexandra was in the Unaccompanied Children department and held responsibilities, including but not limited to: (1) supervising a team of attorneys assigned to her by helping with case strategy, case preparation, reviewing drafts, and co-counseling as needed; (2) providing removal defense for unaccompanied minors (UAC) previously in HHS/Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) care and custody throughout the Greater Houston-Galveston area, including ten counties within the service area of the organization; and (3) tracking statistical data for grant reporting purposes and reporting on case outcomes following preestablished deadlines. Alexandra is also an avid volunteer in the Houston community. Human trafficking became a passion of hers while attending her undergrad of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. She is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau of United Against Human Trafficking, formerly known as, The Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition. She has been a resource to the immigrant community for years working with Univision Citizenship Phone Bank, Houston Volunteer Lawyers Association, Baker Ripley Citizenship Instructor, Tahirih Justice Center and more. Alexandra speaks Spanish and French and also is currently an adjunct professor at Thurgood Marshall School of Law. She teaches Trial Simulation, a required course to 2nd year law students on how to navigate the litigation and trial practice world.
Bio coming soon.