Emily Bachman Brock, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney,
Emily Brock is a 2012 graduate of The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, DC. She received her undergraduate degree in International Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to law school she worked as a paralegal in the legal department of Morgan Stanley in New York. During law school, Emily joined the Families in Law Clinic as a student attorney where she represented low income victims of domestic violence under the supervision of licensed attorneys. Seeking more experience in immigration, she accepted an Equal Justice America Fellowship to work as a legal intern at Ayuda, a nonprofit organization in the DC area that provides legal and social services to immigrants. After graduating from law school, Emily joined Ayuda as a pro bono attorney before moving to Colorado with her husband in April of 2013. Before joining RMIAN, Emily was an Associate at the private immigration law firm, Green and Gardner, LLC. Emily is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is proficient in Spanish.
Yanan and Dan Schwartz Fellow,
Jessica Burnett is a 2016 graduate of Boston University School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree in International Studies from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. During law school, Jessica worked as a student attorney in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic where she represented children and asylum seekers in immigration proceedings. Her experience with the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic inspired her to pursue a career working with immigrant populations. During her last year of law school, Jessica interned with the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project assisting clients with asylum claims and removal defense at the Boston Immigration Court. Jessica was one of eleven members of her law school class awarded a Public Service Fellowship to provide legal aid to disadvantaged communities. She will spend her fellowship with RMIAN providing direct representation to the vulnerable immigrant population at the Aurora detention facility.
Lauren Duke, Esq.
Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow,
Lauren Duke first worked with RMIAN as a pro bono attorney and became an Equal Justice Works Fellow in 2016. Lauren graduated Order of St. Ives from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 2014. Prior to law school, Lauren advocated for immigrants in Northwest Arkansas where she established the first Spanish adult basic education program in the state. She received the Chancellor’s Scholarship for her academic achievement and demonstrated commitment to public service. During law school, Lauren worked for the Spanish Speaking Lawyers Association to increase access to legal services in the immigrant community. She also worked for the law school’s civil litigation clinic with a focus on immigrant victims of wage theft. Prior to joining RMIAN, Lauren worked in private practice as an employment and civil litigation associate. Lauren graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas with a dual degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She also received a Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) with a focus on non-profit management from the University of Arkansas, where she worked as an instructor for undergraduate Political Science classes.
Alex Gavern, Esq.
Pro Bono Coordinator,
Alex Gavern is a 2014 graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan. Before law school, Alex served as an AmeriCorps member in Tucson, Arizona, working at an alternative high school. His experience working with immigrant populations in Tucson sparked his desire to become an immigration attorney. Throughout law school Alex worked at the Michigan State College of Law Immigration Law Clinic where he represented children in immigration proceedings. During the summer of 2013, Alex interned at the Women's Refugee Commission in Washington, DC, advocating for immigration reform. Alex moved to Colorado shortly after graduation and worked in private practice before joining RMIAN. Alex is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Mekela Goehring, Esq.
Mekela Goehring has served as RMIAN’s Executive Director since 2005. She began working at RMIAN in 2003 as the organization’s first detention staff attorney, representing detained clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Mekela’s passion for providing legal services began during fellowships at Community Legal Services in Yuma, Arizona, and Colorado Legal Services in Denver, Colorado. Prior to joining RMIAN, Mekela clerked for Judge James S. Casebolt at the Colorado Court of Appeals. Mekela graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned her J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law. She was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 2002. Mekela has been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 2003. In 2013, the American Immigration Lawyers Association awarded Mekela the Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award for her outstanding service in advancing the cause of human rights.
Ashley Harrington, Esq.
Ashley Turner Harrington joined RMIAN's Children's Program as a part-time Staff Attorney in February 2014. Prior to joining RMIAN, Ashley worked as an Associate Attorney for over three years at the private immigration law firm, Lichter Immigration. During law school at the University of Colorado, Ashley interned at the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center where she successfully represented asylum seekers and at the Immigrant Legal Center of Boulder County where she represented low-income immigrants. In law school, she earned a full merit scholarship, the Dufford and Brown Legal Writing Award, First Place in Appellate Advocacy Oral Argument Competition, and the Chase Human Rights, Women's Law Caucus, Equal Justice America, and Equal Justice Works Fellowships. Ashley went to law school after working as an advocate for several years with victims of domestic violence at Family Tree Women in Crisis and the YMCA Battered Women's Services. Her commitment to serving victims of abuse endures through her passion for representing immigrants in VAWA, SIJS, U-Visa, and T-Visa cases. Ashley is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is a native of Denver, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is proficient in Spanish.
Kenny Hood first joined RMIAN as an intern beginning in September 2012 and became a staff member in August 2013. He has an MA in International Human Rights from the University of Denver and, as a first-generation college student, a BA from University of Northern Iowa in Mass Communication and Spanish, which he speaks proficiently. After college, Kenny worked with at-risk youth in the rural Midwest; with American students living and studying abroad in the United Kingdom; and at the Voice of America news agency in Washington, DC. He then served three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic where he worked in youth education and community development. While living in the DR, Kenny led two nationwide initiatives aimed at educating young Dominicans about sexual health and life skills and, through living in a majority Haitian community, developed a passion for working with immigrant populations.
Social Service Project Director
Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative (DHS, EOIR, BIA)
Megan Hope joined RMIAN’s staff in October 2011. She has worked with immigrant communities since 1995, including as a staff member of Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas; grant writer and immigration paralegal with Legal Aid of Western Missouri's Migrant Farmworker Project; and board member and activist with numerous immigrant advocacy, workers' rights, and economic justice organizations. For several years she performed program consultations in Latin America and Asia for child sponsorship organizations. Megan has an MSW from the University of Denver, and MA in Latin American Studies and BA in Anthropology and English from the University of Kansas.
Sarah Kim, CPA
Sarah Kim has over seventeen years of experience providing businesses and nonprofit organizations with financial services. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Leeds School of Business, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting and a minor in Ethnic Studies. She began her career as an auditor for Ernst and Young, LLP. A few years later, she transitioned to an accounting position at First Data Corporation, where she worked for over three years. Sarah has been a Certified Public Accountant since 2002 and is a member of both the AICPA (American Society of Certified Public Accountants) and the Colorado Society of CPAs. She is also certified in QuickBooks Pro Advisor 2007 through 2013.
Laura Lunn joined the Detention Program at RMIAN in August 2016. Directly before starting at RMIAN she served as the interim Managing Attorney for the CARA Pro Bono Project at the South Texas Family Residential Facility in Dilley, Texas. Previously, Laura was Associate Attorney at Lichter Immigration, PC, in Denver, Colorado, where she provided direct representation to clients obtaining immigration benefits through family-based petitions, DACA, asylum, U-Visas, VAWA, and Cancellation of Removal. Before moving to Colorado, she worked as an Associate Attorney at Immigration Law Group, PC, in Portland, Oregon. Following law school, Laura clerked as an Attorney Advisor for the El Paso Immigration Courts through the U.S. Attorney General's Honors Program, providing legal analysis to six judges on both detained and non-detained dockets. She attended the University of Iowa College of Law, where she was actively engaged in the immigration law clinic and was awarded a summer fellowship with the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights. During her time at Colgate University, Laura majored in Peace & Conflict Studies. Laura is a member of the Oregon and Iowa State Bars as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She serves as a member of the Colorado AILA Chapter's EOIR Liaison Committee and is also a committee member for the Colorado Bar Association's Immigration Law Section. Laura's efforts as a pro bono volunteer attorney for the family detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, were recognized when she and other attorneys involved in the project received the Oregon AILA Pro Bono Award for 2015 and the 2015 AILA Michael Maggio Pro Bono Award. She is proficient in Spanish.
Senior Staff Attorney,
Sarah Plastino is the Senior Staff Attorney of RMIAN's Detention Program, where she oversees the Legal Orientation Program and represents persons through the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP). Prior to joining RMIAN, Sarah was an Immigration Attorney in the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) at the Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) in Brooklyn, New York. At BDS, Sarah provided free appointed legal counsel to primarily detained non-citizens in removal and bond proceedings, as well as ancillary matters. Before BDS, Sarah spent three years in the New Jersey office of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), as the Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, and later, the Supervising Attorney. Sarah directed all aspects of KIND's work in New Jersey, including supervising all legal work, advocating for the protection of unaccompanied children both locally and nationally, and engaging in impact litigation. Before KIND, Sarah was a Staff Attorney in the LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative of the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago. Sarah's career in removal defense and advocacy began prior to law school when she was a legal assistant at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Florence, Arizona. She holds a JD, cum laude, and a Certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown University Law Center, and a BA, cum laude, in International Studies and Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina. Sarah is admitted to practice in New York. She is originally from Philadelphia.
Detention Program Paralegal
Mayra Prieto graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Management, the first in her family to graduate from college. While at MSU, she was a recipient of the CAMP and Reisher Scholarships. Prior to working at RMIAN, Mayra worked at the immigration law firm of Hernandez & Associates, PC, where she discovered her passion for working with the immigrant community. Mayra can relate to the struggles of the families that she works with daily as she herself immigrated to the U.S. as a child.
Alexis Sanchez joined RMIAN as the Detention Program Social Worker in 2017. Alexis previously worked at Family Tree, beginning as an undergraduate social work intern at Women In Crisis and later as a Case Manager in the Homelessness Program. As a case manager, Alexis provided wrap-around supportive services to homeless individuals, families, and survivors of domestic violence under the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and Home At Last (HAL) program grants. Alexis continues to support the homeless population and survivors of domestic violence by working with Family Tree on an as-needed basis. During her graduate internship, Alexis interned at CASA of Adams and Broomfield Counties, where she served as an advocate and supervised volunteer advocates. Through her work experience and educational background, Alexis has discovered her passion for advocating and empowering vulnerable populations. Alexis graduated with a BA in Social Work and Spanish from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She received her MSW from the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver in 2016, becoming the first in her family to receive a graduate degree.
Equal Justice Works Emerson Paralegal
Yazmin Torres graduated from the University of Denver in 2012 with a Bachelor's degree in International Business and minors in Spanish and International Studies. While at DU, she was a prestigious Daniels Scholar and Dell Scholar. Prior to working at RMIAN, Yazmin worked at the immigration law firm of Elkind Alterman Harston, PC. The first in her family to graduate from college, Yazmin's empathy and understanding for immigrants comes from her family's journey. Her excellent written and oral skills in Spanish are an asset for many of RMIAN's clients. Yazmin plans to attend law school in the future to become an immigration attorney so that she can help immigrants obtain lawful status to pursue their dreams, just as her family once was given the opportunity.
Tanika Vigil joined the Detention Program in August 2017 as the Immigrant Justice Legal Fellow. During her fellowship, Tanika will provide direct representation to non-citizens detained in Aurora. Tanika previously clerked for Justice Richard L. Gabriel at the Colorado Supreme Court and completed a two-year fellowship with the Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) in New York City. As an IJC fellow, Tanika represented non-citizens in their removal proceedings and affirmative applications for relief. Tanika graduated, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2014. During law school, Tanika served as both a student attorney and President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and as Co-Director of the Bond Hearing Project. Additionally, she completed internships with the Department of State, Ayuda, and the ACLU of Colorado. Tanika also holds a BA, magna cum laude, from Amherst College. She is a Colorado native and bilingual in English and Spanish.