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.

Fernando Andrade
Paralegal, Immigrant, Protection

Allison Apolo
Coordinating 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.

Josephine Blount
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Marina Brodsky
Senior Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Rachel Brown
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

Deborah Chen
Coordinating Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Deborah is a Coordinating 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.

Michelle Cheng
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

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.

Daniela Czemerinski
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

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.

Michael Eatroff
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Sara Feldman
AVODAH Fellow, Immigrant Protection

Melissa Fich
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Elizabeth Gibson
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Elizabeth is an Immigrant Justice Corps fellow in the Immigrant Protection Unit (IPU). She represents clients in a variety of immigration matters, including asylum applications, VAWA self-petitions, U-visas, removal defense litigation, and adjustment of status. Prior to NYLAG, Elizabeth clerked at the New York Immigration Court through the Department of Justice Honors Program. During law school she interned at the Open Society Justice Initiative, the American Civil Liberties Union, the International Federation of the Red Cross, and the U.S. Departments of Justice, the Treasury, and State. She also worked as a research assistant for the U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees. She received her J.D. and Certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Global Law Scholar and Human Rights Associate. During law school, she participated in the International Migrants Bill of Rights Initiative and the Center for Applied Legal Studies asylum clinic. Elizabeth was awarded the 2014 Bettina Pruckmayr Award for Human Rights and her team’s research on statelessness in the Dominican Republic received a special commendation from the United Nation. Before law school, Elizabeth worked as a newspaper reporter, and she has a B.S. and M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.  She is admitted to practice in New York.

Shelley R Goldfarb
Staff Attorney, Immigrant protection

Polliann Hardeo
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Jillian Hernandez
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Stephanie Horta
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Alexander Hu
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Hannah M Hussamy
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Sara A Joshi
Staff Attorney, 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

Ilia Velazquez Llanes
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Kyle K. Mann
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Kyle is a Staff Attorney with the Immigrant Protection Unit.  She represents clients in various immigration matters, including Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, U-visas, battered spouse waivers, applications for adjustment of status, naturalization, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  She earned her B.A. from New York University and her J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Jessica Marroquin
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Crystal D. Moncada
Coordinating Attorney, Immigration Protection

Crystal Moncada is a Coordinating Attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit where she leads the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Unaccompanied Children’s Project. She supervises and mentors attorneys representing immigrant children in Immigration Court and Family Courts throughout New York City. She also represents clients in a variety of immigration matters, including asylum applications, removal defense litigation, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status applications, adjustment of status, U-visas, and VAWA self-petitions. Crystal previously served as a Staff Attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit and joined NYLAG as a justice AmeriCorps Fellow representing unaccompanied minors in removal defense. As a law student, she interned at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Crystal earned her law degree from Capital University Law School, where she was a member of the Moot Court Program and Capital University Legal Clinic. She received her undergraduate degree from George Mason University. Crystal is admitted to the bar 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

Jennifer Pacheco
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection

Jennifer works on-site at the Manhattan Family Justice Center (FJC), providing legal services to immigrant victims of domestic violence. She provides advice and counsel and representation in immigration matters, including VAWA self-petitions, U nonimmigrant status/U-visa applications, battered spouse waivers, adjustment of status, removal defense, T-visas, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Prior to joining NYLAG, Jennifer worked at the Hudson Valley Justice Center in Yonkers, NY through being awarded the Westchester County Bar Foundation (WCBF) Fellowship. Jennifer was also an intern at Empire Justice Center and at John Jay Legal Service’s Immigration Justice Clinic at Pace Law School. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Jennifer received her J.D. from Pace Law School and her B.S. cum laude in Biology from Pace University.

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

Abraham Romero
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Sthelyn Romero
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Natalia Rozov
Senior Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Maybeline Saharig
IJC Fellow, Immigrant Protection

Hannah Silver
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Andrea Sosa
Paralegal, Immigrant protection

Nina Strongin
Senior Paralegal, Immigrant Protection

Jorge Eduardo Ramirez Trejo
Staff Attorney, 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.

Grace Zhang
Paralegal, Immigrant Protection