Irina Matiychenko
Director, Immigrant Protection

Irina, a refugee from the Former Soviet Union, immigrated to the United States in 1992. She is a graduate of the Moscow State University Law School and worked as a criminal defense attorney before coming to the U.S. Irina began work with NYLAG as a volunteer paralegal, coming on board as a full-time paralegal in 1993. Following her graduation from Fordham University School of Law in 1995, she worked at NYLAG as a staff attorney. In 1997, Irina became Coordinator of the Immigration Project, and in 1999, was appointed Director of the Immigrant Protection Unit. Irina is an active member of the New York Immigration Coalition, and serves on the board of the Council of Jewish Emigre Community Organizations.

Allison Apolo
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Olga Avrasina
Supervising Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Olga is the Supervising Attorney of the NYLAG naturalization project. She also represents immigrants in all stages of the naturalization process. Olga began her tenure at NYLAG in 1999, specializing in immigrants’ rights and public benefits. Prior to coming to work at NYLAG, Olga worked as a supervisor at CAMBA Eviction Prevention Unit. Before she immigrated to the U.S., Olga worked as an attorney in Moscow, Russia, representing clients in both criminal and civil cases. Olga received her L.L.M degree from Fordham University School of Law.

Jennifer Barker
Supervising Attorney, Immigration Protection

Jennifer is a Supervising Attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit.  She represents clients in a variety of immigration matters including asylum, removal defense, adjustment of status, DACA, VAWA and U visa petitions.  Prior to joining NYLAG, Jennifer worked as an asylum officer at both the Newark and Miami Asylum Offices.  After earning her JD from the University of Miami School of Law in 2004, she practiced immigration law with Catholic Legal Services, Inc. in Miami, Florida where she represented Haitian asylum seekers and other immigrants in removal proceedings.  Prior to law school, Jennifer taught English for several years at Universidad Autónoma “Benito Juárez” de Oaxaca, in Mexico.  Jennifer earned her BA in English from the University of Michigan and is a member of the Florida Bar.

Marina Brodsky
Senior Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Marianne Bruswitz
Data Coordinator, Immigrant Protection

Marianne is a Data Coordinator at NYLAG and is responsible for compiling and analyzing data for city, state, and federal government grants as well as providing the required reports.  Prior to working at NYLAG, she worked in financial services at Music Together LLC.  Marianne graduated from Berkeley College with a degree in Paralegal Studies.

Elvis Candelario
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Lizeth Castillo
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Deborah Chen
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Deborah is a Staff Attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit focusing on NYLAG’s Naturalization and Training Services Project, with specific outreach to Chinese lawful permanent residents in New York City. She also represents low-income clients in a variety of immigration matters including adjustment of status and Temporary Protected Status. Deborah was previously an attorney with a New York City law firm.  She received her B.A. from Rutgers University and her J.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law where she participated in the Health Law Clinic, representing clients before the Social Security Administration. She is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.

Katsiaryna Colka
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Alisia Cordero
Grants Supervisor, Immigrant Protection

Alisia is the Grants Supervisor of NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit. She works closely with the Director and all levels of staff to manage new and existing grant programs, as well as streamline unit operations, including client intake processes. Prior to joining NYLAG, Alisia served as an AmeriCorps member in South Florida and then worked in nonprofit development for three years. She has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Law from CUNY Lehman College.

Jane Dowd
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Jane is a Paralegal in NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit.  She assists a diverse group of clients with immigration filings, including but not limited to applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), naturalization, family petitions, and adjustment of status.  She also provides support to staff attorneys on a case by case basis.  Prior to joining NYLAG, Jane served as an Intake Specialist at 32BJ SEIU Legal Services Fund.  She earned her B.A. from Skidmore College majoring in International Affairs with minors in Spanish Language & Literature and Latin American Studies.

Helen Drook
Senior Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Helen is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Immigrant Protection Unit. She represents clients in a variety of immigration matters, including adjustments of status, naturalizations, applications under Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and U-visa petitions. Helen has been working for non for profit agencies in New York City for over 15 years. Prior to joining NYLAG Helen served as Assistant Director of Immigrant Services at the UJA Federation of New York. She is a graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Laura J. Eichten
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Shelley R Goldfarb
Staff Attorney, Immigrant protection

Margarita Guidos
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Margarita is a staff attorney for the Immigrant Protection Unit (IPU), with a specific focus on deferred action and removal defense. As part of her role in the IPU, she teaches community outreach workshops on immigration law for under-served communities. Before joining NYLAG, she worked in English as a Second Language and adult education with a distance learning company and volunteered with low-income schoolchildren. Margarita earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and her Juris Doctorate from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Alexander Hu
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Hannah M Hussamy
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Sara A Joshi
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Grace Y Kao
Immigrant Justice Corps Legal Fellow, Immigrant Protection

Alla Kazakina
Supervising Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Alla is a Staff Attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit. Since joining NYLAG in 2002, she has assisted clients in a wide-range of immigration matters including family-based immigrant petitions, adjustment of status, VAWA self-petitions, U-Visas, humanitarian parole, naturalization applications, disability waivers, and temporary protected status. In 2007, she was appointed a Coordinator of the Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence Program (VAWA/U Visa Project) that focuses on providing legal services to battered women residing in New York. Having moved to the United States from St. Petersburg, Alla served as a Russian Legal Consultant at Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler LLP from 1989 until 2000. She has law degrees from St. Petersburg State University Law School in Russia and New York University Law School.

Min Kim
Staff Attorney, Immigration Protection Unit

Min is a staff attorney with NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit. She represents clients on various immigration matters including family-based petitions and naturalization. Min previously interned at Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund advocating for rights of low-wage workers. Min graduated from CUNY School of Law in 2013 where she participated in the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic. She received her B.A. from Stony Brook University.

Edith Leonardo
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Jonathan R Lissmann
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Crystal D. Moncada
Staff Attorney & Justice AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, Immigration Protection

Crystal is a Staff Attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit. As an AmeriCorps Fellow, she represents clients in a variety of immigration matters, including removal defense litigation, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status applications, and asylum. During law school, Crystal interned at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She received her J.D. from Capital University Law School, where she participated in the Capital University Legal Clinic and was a member of the Moot Court Program. Crystal received her B.S. from George Mason University. She is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.

Safiya N. Morgan
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Safiya is a Staff Attorney in NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit working on-site at the Family Justice Center. She represents clients in a variety of immigration matters including family-based petitions, adjustment of status and naturalization, Deferred Action, U visa and Violence Against Women Act self-petitions. Prior to joining NYLAG, she represented immigrants in private practice and in a pro bono capacity. Safiya earned her J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School, where she served as Article Editor of the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review. She is admitted to practice in California and Tennessee and is a member of the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She earned her B.A., magna cum laude, from Howard University.

David Mullins
Supervising Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Jin Sun Park
Supervising Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Jin Sun is a supervising attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit where she represents low-income clients with adjustment of status, temporary protected status and other humanitarian relief, U-visa, VAWA self-petitions, asylum and removal defense.  Jin Sun co-chaired IPU’s Haitian TPS Project, which included a pro bono legal clinic that assisted hundreds of Haitian nationals to apply for temporary protected status.  In law school, she received an Excellence in Litigation award for her work in her school’s immigration clinic. Jin Sun earned her B.A. from Boston University and her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. She is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.

Elvira Pinkhasova
Supervising Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Elvira is a Supervising Attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit. She formerly served as Associate Director, where she supervised all IPU student interns and paralegals in addition to handling many types of cases. Elvira also provides trainings for law students, social workers and the general public on citizenship and naturalization issues. Prior to immigrating to the U.S., Elvira worked as a Professor at Tashkent State University School of Law, teaching criminal law and criminology. In 1995, she began her work as a paralegal in NYLAG’s General Legal Services Unit, and in 2000, she started to practice immigration law in NYLAG’s IPU. Elvira has an L.L.M degree from Fordham University School of Law.

Lauren M Reiff
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Sthelyn Romero
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Natalia Rozov
Senior Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Michelle Rueda-Roberti
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Hannah Silver
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Nina Strongin
Senior Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Arelis Tapia-Vargas
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Leah Wissow
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Leah is a Staff Attorney with the Immigrant Protection Unit. She works on the NYCitizenship program, rotating between the Queens library locations. Prior to joining NYLAG, Leah worked for the Open Society Foundations as a Strategy Specialist focusing on access to justice, good governance, and public safety programs and as a Litigation Fellow for the Open Society Justice Initiative. She received her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law and her M.A. in International Affairs from American University School of International Service.  Leah earned her B.A. in Political Science and Middle Eastern Affairs from McGill University in Montreal, QC.

Yessica Yi
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Yessica Yi is a Staff Attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit. Her areas of practice include family-based petitions, adjustment of status, naturalization, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Temporary Protected Status, U Nonimmigrant Status, asylum, and removal defense. Yessica also helps coordinate NYLAG’s Community Immigration Clinics, which provide legal services and community education to immigrants in safe, convenient, and family-friendly environments across New York City. Prior  to joining NYLAG, Yessica served as an Associate Attorney with Malik and Popiel, P.C., focusing on immigration matters such as employment-based petitions and Department of Labor compliance and audits concerning foreign workers. Yessica received her B.A. from Cornell University and her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.