Through community education, advocacy, and litigation, Alisa’s substantive work focuses on challenging programs that entangle local law enforcement and Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and funnel immigrants into an unjust detention and deportation system. Alisa coordinates, develops, and conducts (with partner organization Families for Freedom) Know-Your-Rights workshops for noncitizens at NYC jails. She also launched and coordinates IDP’s Post-Padilla Project, a placement and mentorship program for pro bono attorneys representing immigrants seeking relief from past uninformed pleas through post-conviction motions. Alisa began her work at IDP as an Equal Justice Works Fellow. She received her JD from New York University School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow, Dwight Opperman Scholar, and Florence Allen Scholar. While at NYU, she pursued her commitment to social justice by working for two years as a student practitioner in the Immigrant Rights Clinic and by interning at the Bronx Defenders, Justice Now, and the ACLU. Prior to law school, Alisa spent four years doing organizing and policy work, and building her skills in nonprofit management, as the National Campaign and Advocacy Manager at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in New York City. She received her B.A. from Stanford University.
Benita (formerly co-Director of IDP) now leads IDP’s work with the Defending Immigrants Partnership, a national collaboration which trains public defenders on immigration consequences of criminal convictions and assists defender offices in setting up office-wide immigration advisal programs. Benita also monitors and analyzes legislative proposals affecting immigrants who have interacted with the criminal justice system and has supported IDP’s litigation efforts. She has written several pro se guides for immigrants fighting deportation and is an original co-author of the “Deportation 101″ curriculum. She graduated from NYU School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Scholar, and joined IDP on a Soros Justice Fellowship in 2003. She is a past Board member of Families for Freedom and past Steering Committee member of the Detention Watch Network. Prior to law school, Benita led grassroots organizing efforts on environmental and campaign finance campaigns.
Dawn works with IDP’s litigation team to protect the U.S. Supreme Court’s Padilla v. Kentucky decision by monitoring and supporting post-conviction relief litigation to remedy uninformed pleas. She consults with practitioners on trial strategy in post-conviction relief cases, provides model post-conviction relief materials and sample briefs, and intervenes as amicus in impact cases regarding the scope and retroactivity of Padilla. Dawn’s work focuses, too, on judicial education – specifically, addressing court advisals to defendants and the role of the judiciary in ensuring that defendants receive the accurate immigration advice mandated by Padilla. Dawn is also involved in training criminal defense attorneys on the provision of accurate immigration advice to non-citizen defendants. Dawn is a graduate of Cornell University and Vermont Law School. Prior to joining IDP, she worked in the Vermont Office of the Defender General, where she represented indigent defendants at trial and appellate levels in post-conviction relief and “conditions of confinement” cases. Prior to law school, Dawn worked as a special education teacher, specializing in students with autism and other communication disabilities.
Isaac engages in litigation and technical support of litigation at the Board of Immigration Appeals and in the federal courts on issues involving the intersection of criminal and immigration law. Before joining IDP, Isaac was an immigration staff attorney at The Bronx Defenders, where he advised immigrant defendants and their criminal defense counsel on the immigration consequences of criminal dispositions and represented immigrants convicted of criminal offenses in removal proceedings. Isaac is a 2003 graduate magna cum laude of NYU School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar, Sinsheimer Service Scholar, Florence Allen Scholar, and Editor-in-Chief of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change. Prior to joining The Bronx Defenders, he served as a law clerk to Judge Allyne R. Ross of the Eastern District of New York and to then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Before law school, Isaac worked as coordinator of the national Immigrant and Refugee Rights Program of the American Friends Service Committee and as a paralegal at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. Isaac is an adjunct professor of immigration law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and previously taught as an adjunct professor of clinical law at NYU.
Josh joined IDP in January 2010 after volunteering at the organization throughout 2009. Josh supervises and coordinates IDP’s hotline and helps manage IDP’s Know-Your-Rights workshops for noncitizens at Rikers. He received his J.D. from the City University of New York, School of Law in 2007 and then worked in a family and employment based immigration law practice. During law school, Josh received a Revson fellowship to intern at IDP, and was also a peer counselor at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis for five years. Prior to starting law school, Josh worked at the Foreign Fulbright Department of the Institute of International Education assisting foreign masters and doctoral students complete their studies in the United States. He earned a B.A. in Latin American Studies from The George Washington University, where he studied Portuguese and Brazilian political science in Brazil and Spanish in Mexico.
Manny founded IDP in 1997 (in conjunction with our original sponsor, New York State Defenders Association) and is currently IDP Senior Counsel. A nationally known expert on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, he is the author of several legal resource materials for advocacy on behalf of immigrants accused of crimes, including Representing Immigrant Defendants in New York (5th ed, 2011) and the Removal Defense Checklist in Criminal Charge Cases, and provides training and immigration law backup assistance on criminal/immigration issues. Manny has also engaged in and supported litigation defending the legal rights of immigrants placed in removal proceedings based on criminal charges. Prior to his work with IDP, Manny represented and counseled immigrants for eight years as a staff and supervising attorney of the New York City Legal Aid Society Immigration Unit. Manny’s advocacy work on behalf of immigrants has been recognized by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2011 Lifetime Achievement Award), American Immigration Lawyers Association (2007 Jack Wasserman Award for Excellence in Litigation in the Field of Immigration Law), New York State Bar Association Criminal Justice Section (2002 Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Delivery of Defense Services), New York State Attorney General’s Office (2002 Award for Distinguished Public Service in the Legal Profession), and New York State Defenders Association (2000 Service of Justice Award).
Michelle focuses her substantive work on IDP’s community education and policy initiatives, including designing and implementing training programs about criminal-immigration issues, providing accessible analyses of legislative proposals, and challenging overly-aggressive detention and deportation programs. Michelle graduated from NYU Law School in May 2003. She helped launch the Center for Community Problem Solving where, with the support of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, she spearheaded a jail and prison reentry project and an immigrant workers’ rights project. Michelle co-authored “Learning How Regularly to Meet the Challenges of Asian and Pacific Islander Reentry,” published in Amerasia Journal. After five years at The Center, Michelle joined a community-based law firm. There, she represented Spanish-speaking, low-wage Central American clients to help them gain and maintain legal status through applications in immigration court and before the Department of Homeland Security.
Mizue coordinates and supports fundraising initiatives and manages office operations to support the mission of IDP. Her programmatic work focuses on halting injustices at the intersection of the criminal justice and immigration systems. Mizue has over fifteen years experience in organizing around workers’ rights, racial justice, and immigrant rights and has worked on issues of exterior and interior immigration enforcement since 2000. She is also a photographer whose work has appeared in Dying to Live, A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid, published by City Lights Books in 2008. Mizue received her M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA School of Architecture and her BA in Geography from UCLA.