Krsna Avila, Specal Projects Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Krsna joins the ILRC with a wealth of personal and professional immigration experience. Having immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was only four months old, Krsna grew up as an undocumented immigrant. Prior to law school, Krsna worked closely with the ILRC to establish a legal services program at Educators for Fair Consideration. As their Legal Services Manager, Krsna provided legal support to undocumented youth throughout the country.
Directly feeling the effects of our unjust immigration system, Krsna quickly became interested in attending law school in order to understand the legal system from a different lens.
While in law school, Krsna worked at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington D.C. and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California where he supported litigation regarding free speech and racial discrimination issues. He also participated in the Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic, where he helped represent a client before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Krsna also volunteered with the European Council on Refugees and was an editorial member for the Cornell Legal Information Institute U.S. Supreme Court Bulletin.
Krsna earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, and his law degree from Cornell Law School where he received the 2017 Freeman Award for Civil-Human Rights for his commitment to civil rights and public service
Lena Graber, Senior Staff Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Lena Graber is a national expert on the role of local police in immigration enforcement and the use of ICE detainers. She has spent more than a decade supporting organizers and lawyers around the country to fight unfair and often illegal detention of immigrants, and to push for pro-immigrant local policies. Lena spearheads ILRC’s national work combatting immigration enforcement and providing comprehensive advocacy resources and trainings to the immigrant rights movement. In the last several years, Lena has written and consulted on local and state-wide sanctuary policies in dozens of states and trained hundreds of organizers and policymakers to better understand and dismantle the machinery of detention and deportation. Lena joined the ILRC in 2013, and she has co-authored several ILRC publications including Motions to Suppress: Protecting the Constitutional Rights of Immigrants in Removal Proceedings; FOIA Requests and Other Background Checks; DACA: The Essential Legal Guide; and Parole in Immigration Law.
Prior to the ILRC, Lena was a Soros Justice Fellow at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, where she supported campaigns against local law enforcement involvement in deportations and litigated ICE detainer issues in federal courts. She also worked at the National Immigration Forum doing federal advocacy on immigrant rights and border policy.
Lena graduated with honors from the George Washington University Law School, where she served on the journal for International Law in Domestic Courts. She earned her B.A. in history from Wesleyan University. Lena is a member of the California bar and she speaks Spanish.
Jacinta Gonzalez, Field Director, Mijente
Jacinta Gonzalez is the latest addition to the Mijente team. She is coming on board as our Field Director and bringing her experience formerly running the Congreso de Jornaleros in New Orleans and most recently working with PODER in México, organizing the Río Sonora River Basin committees against water contamination by the mining industry to the work of the #Not1More campaign and Mijente.
By way of introduction, she had this to say:
“Billions of dollars are being invested in this country’s police, surveillance, prison and deportation systems. The criminalization of communities and violent attack they are under is real, putting many of our loved ones in a state of crisis. I have been inspired by the groups and individuals around the country that have responded to this moment with innovative and bold organizing strategies and tactics. I believe that #Not1More and Mijente are doing just that, and am very excited and deeply humbled by the opportunity to work with the brave human beings on the frontlines of the fight for racial justice. As part of the team, I hope to help strengthen organizing that builds power to achieve the wins our communities deserve. “
Saira Hussain, Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Saira Hussain is a Staff Attorney on EFF's civil liberties team, focusing on racial justice and surveillance. Previously, Saira was a Staff Attorney in the Criminal Justice Reform Program at Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus (ALC), where she focused on disentangling federal immigration enforcement from local law enforcement through policy advocacy, litigation, and coalition-building. She started at ALC as a Berkeley Law Public Interest Fellow in the Immigrant Rights' Program, representing immigrants in deportation proceedings. In addition, Saira organizes with Survived and Punished CA to end the criminalization of survivors of gender-based and sexual violence. She received her J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law and her B.A. from UC Berkeley. Saira speaks Spanish and Urdu, and is an avid baker and yoga enthusiast.
Julie Mao, Deputy Director, Just Futures Law
Julie Mao has nearly a decade of experience in the immigrant rights, police accountability, and labor rights movement. She was a senior attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and attorney at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. She has represented immigrants in civil rights litigation against law enforcement abuse and labor exploitation, and worked with hundreds of directly impacted community members to stop their deportations.
Recently, she has been engaged in legal strategies challenging migrant prosecutions, technology-based policing, and local police collusion with ICE. Julie is a graduate of NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar and a student of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic. She is a former Equal Justice Works fellow and named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law and Policy.