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Emmie Glynn Ryan - Chief Executive Officer

Emmie Glynn Ryan currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Migration Services and the General Counsel and Chief of Staff of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and Affiliated Agencies, continuing her lifelong goal of improving the lives of the less fortunate among us.

Born in Galway, Ireland, Emmie was admitted to practice law in 1984 before moving to England. There she passed the bar again and was admitted to practice law in London. A few years later, after Nicolae Ceausescu, the brutal dictator in Romania, was overthrown and assassinated, Emmie volunteered to work with children in orphanages and adults suffering from mental health issues who were warehoused, forgotten and abandoned in Romania. In 1991, she arrived in New York on the American Donnelly visa lottery program. Like many immigrants, Emmie initially worked two jobs to make ends meet. She volunteered to assist victims of domestic violence and in 1995; she passed the New York bar, thus eligible to practice law in three countries.

In 1997, Emmie came to Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens where she served as Director of Legal Affairs. Since then, her dedication and hard work took her far beyond that original responsibility where she later became Chief Compliance Officer, a position she held for several years.

From Romania to the streets of New York, Emmie worked tirelessly for the Mission of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and Affiliated Agencies, and the Criminal Justice Committee of the New York State Catholic Conference. She is a member of several not for profit boards and committees.

In June of 2016, she was profiled in Our Town Weekly, a newspaper that serves Manhattan’s East Side, as “The Lawyer for Good Works.” Emmie was honored by The Irish American Building Society in New York City and is a recipient of the Vincenza DeFazio Award for outstanding contributions to the work of New York State Council of Catholic Charities.

Emmie resides in New York City with her husband Jim, retired news anchor of WNYC’s Good Day New York, and daughter Saoirse, who is currently in medical school.

Magdalena Barbosa – Director of Legal Services and Senior Vice President
Magdalena BarbosaPrior to serving as Director of Legal Services, Magdalena was the Managing Attorney for Catholic Migration’s Workers’ Rights Program from 2016 through 2021. Since her graduation from Rutgers-Newark law school in 2007, Magdalena has advocated on behalf of low-wage and immigrant workers. Prior to joining Catholic Migration Services, Magdalena worked as an attorney at Gladstein, Reif & Meginniss, Make the Road New York, MFY Legal Services, and Legal Services of New Jersey. Through her career she has handled and managed a wide array of wage and hour, discrimination, and unemployment matters in state and federal courts and in various administrative venues. She graduated from Davidson College prior to attending law school.Magdalena is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey, the District Courts of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the District Court of New Jersey. She is a member of the board of the New York chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association.
Alice Davis - Deputy Director

Alice Davis is the Deputy Director of Catholic Migration Services, where she assists with operations and oversees grant reporting and funding opportunities. Alice has been with Catholic Migration Services since 2013, when she began her employment as a staff attorney with the Workers’ Rights Program. During her time with the Workers’ Rights Program, she represented low-wage workers in wage and hour, sexual harassment, and other employment related claims, and served as the Managing Attorney for the program from 2022 until 2024.

She received her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized study, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. During law school, she performed clinical work, providing low-income clients with legal assistance in employment, immigration, and housing matters. Prior to joining Catholic Migration Services, she served as a fellow at Legal Services of New Jersey in their Workers’ Legal Rights Project.

Alice is admitted to practice law in state and federal court in New York, New Jersey, and in the Federal District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. She speaks Spanish.

Erin Fitzgerald-Donnelly - Director of Finance and Operations

Bio coming soon.

Catherine Sasha Garcia - Administrative Assistant

Catherine is the Administrative Assistant for Catholic Migration Services. She assists with office administration to ensure efficiency. She has always placed a high value on helping people. Previously, she worked as a legal assistant for an immigration office, assisting clients with their applications and documents. Her motivation to help people around the world grew. Working for a non-profit organization is incredibly rewarding for her since it provides assistance to people in need. As a result of her desire to help others, she earned her criminal justice degree and has decided to pursue further education in immigration. One of her aspirations is to travel the world and be involved in humanitarian causes. She is fluent in Spanish.

Ana Cecilia Garzon - Administrative Supervisor

Ana, fondly known as “Ceci” is the administrative supervisor for Catholic Migration Services. Currently, she provides administrative support to the staff of Catholic Migration Services. Prior to joining Catholic Migration Services, Ceci dedicated 30 years of her career to Catholic Charities Community Services, Immigration Services – Archdiocese of New York. She enjoys working with non-profit organizations and has a passion for helping immigrants, since she emigrated from Ecuador 34 years ago. Outside of work, Ceci enjoys traveling, especially when she has the opportunity to visit her hometown and spend time with her family.

Nanette Morales - Receptionist

Nanette Morales is the Office Assistant at the Queens office of Catholic Migration Services where she maintains the day-to-day operations. She is the crucial point of reference for answering client’s initial questions, scheduling, and assigning client appointments. Nanette joined Catholic Migration in 2012 where alongside her general administrative tasks she occasionally serves as an interpreter for Spanish speaking clients. In her work, Nanette succeeds in creating a positive and welcoming community for both clients and staff to efficiently resolve issues and maintain their workflow. Prior to joining Catholic Migration Services, Nanette was an Office Assistant at Brooklyn Psychiatric Center where for 17 years she provided organizational support to psychiatrists, therapists, and patients alike.

Aida Ocasio - Receptionist

Aida Ocasio is the Office Assistant at the Brooklyn office of Catholic Migration Services where she maintains the day-to-day operations. She is the crucial point of reference for answering client’s initial questions, scheduling, and assigning client appointments. Aida combines her patience and discretion to answer client’s questions, schedule appointments and direct clients to supportive resources and organizations that can enhance their quality of life. Aida joined Catholic Migration in 2001 and has been a crucial point of reference for clients given her ability to communicate effectively and her support of client self-advocacy.  In her time at Catholic Migration Services, Aida has been inspired by the positive attitude of staff and clients, and she has maintained a helpful and familiar dynamic in the Brooklyn office. Aida is fluent in Spanish.


Aya Ouda - Grants Associate

Aya Ouda is the grant associate for Catholic Migration Services, assisting the director of development with grant research, reports, and funding applications. Aya graduated from NYU with a BA in English and completed a thesis on Arab migration. Prior to working at Catholic Migration Services, Aya has volunteered at various advocacy programs with a specific focus on DACA and prison reform. As the daughter of immigrants from Egypt, Aya aligns with the mission of Catholic Migration Services to provide legal access to all immigrants and is passionate about serving underrepresented communities. 

Elena Tate - Senior Development Associate

She worked with Epicenter-NYC to lead the volunteer effort to vaccinate underserved communities. She was on the faculty of Pacific College of Health and Science and supervised interns at the Initiative for Women with Disabilities at NYU Langone Hospital.

Elena has served as president of both her community garden and parent-teacher association. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hunter College and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and awarded a New York City Teaching Fellowship. She has been published in Language Magazine and appeared on The Brian Lehrer Show.

Her passion is bringing people together for a good cause and she has organized neighborhood clean-ups, vaccination clinics, arts festivals, concerts, charity fundraisers, author readings, pie contests, block parties, maker fests, and movie nights.

She speaks English, Spanish, and French. If you are interested in making a gift to Catholic Migration Services, please contact her at!


Jacqueline L. Aguilar - Senior Staff Attorney, Immigration Program

Jacqueline is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Removal Defense Project. Jacqueline has vast experience working with asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, victims of domestic violence, and low-income communities, providing advice and representation in various proceedings such as housing court matters, family court matters, and immigration. Prior to joining Catholic Migration Services, Jacqueline worked as a staff attorney at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY, Catholic Charities Community Services, and Immigration Legal Services of Long Island.

Jacqueline is the daughter of immigrants from El Salvador, an avid reader, and musician. She graduated from New York Law School in 2010 and earned her bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education and English from Manhattanville College in 2006.

Jacqueline is admitted to practice law in New York and is fluent in Spanish.

Sr. Joan Anzalone - Immigration Counselor, DOJ Accredited Representative, Immigration Program

Sr. Joan Anzalone is an Immigration Counselor. She assists clients by preparing applications for Adjustments of Status, Naturalization, Green Card and Visa extensions. She also participates in outreach activities in parishes and community organizations. Prior to working at Catholic Migration Services, Sr. Joan was a social worker for communities in the South Bronx, the Lower East Side of Manhattan and in the Dominican Republic. Her work with these communities motivated her desire to work directly with immigrants because she wanted to help them feel welcomed in their country. Sr. Joan attended Fordham University where she studied Sociology and Education. She received her Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. Sr. Joan is fluent in Spanish.

Xiomara Bustamante - Senior Immigration Counselor, DOJ Accredited Representative, Immigration Program

Xiomara Bustamante is a Senior Immigration Counselor. She assists clients by preparing applications for Adjustment of Status, Citizenship, Petitions for the Freedom of Information Act disclosure and Removal of Conditional Residence. For clients who qualify, Xiomara ensures that they understand their right to access to public social benefits. Prior to becoming an Immigration Counselor Xiomara was an administrative assistant at Catholic Migration for 4 years. Xiomara enjoys the variation in her day that comes from the diversity of cases she manages. She delights in giving clients thorough explanations of their rights during their consultations. She is inspired by her client’s perseverance during times of difficulty and she uses this as motivation to exhaust all of her efforts to help enhance each client’s experience with the organization. Xiomara attended Brooklyn College where she studied Computer Science. Xiomara is fluent in Spanish.

Marlon Campeche - Staff Attorney, Immigration Program

Marlon Campeche is a staff attorney working for the Removal Defense Project at Catholic Migration Services. Marlon graduated from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in May 2019, where he participated in the Immigration Justice Clinic as a student attorney representing indigent immigrant clients. Marlon has worked with asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors through legal internships at My Sisters’ Place and Safe Passage Project. He speaks fluent Spanish. As the son of immigrants from Mexico living in New York, Marlon sees working at Catholic Migration Services as an excellent opportunity to display his skills and contribute to his community.

Marlon is admitted to practice law in New York.

Marisol Canales - Supervising Immigration Counselor, DOJ Accredited Representative, Immigration Program

Marisol Canales is a Supervising Immigration Counselor. She assists clients by preparing applications for Adjustments of Status, Naturalization, Green Card, VAWA, DACA, and RI Visa extensions. She also participates in outreach activities in parishes and community organizations. Prior to working at Catholic Migration Marisol was a receptionist and later an immigration counselor at Emerald Isle Immigration Center. She also worked as an assistant to the Director of Faith Formation at St. Bartholomew Parish in Elmhurst. She enjoys providing direct assistance to immigration because the information and resources gives clients the chance to live a less restrictive life. She is inspired by the personal connections she feels with her clients and by their hard work and perseverance. Her dedication to her clients is fostered by the knowledge that she will be an everlasting part of their life. Marisol attended Universidad del Istmo in Panama where she studied Information Systems. She is a DOJ accredited representative and is fluent in Spanish.

Martyna Cieniewicz - Paralegal, Immigration Program

Martyna Cieniewicz is a Paralegal in the Immigration Program with Catholic Migration Services. Born in Poland and raised in New York City, Martyna graduated from CUNY Brooklyn College with a major in Sociology and minor in Journalism where she studied racial and ethnic relations.

While a student at Brooklyn College, she volunteered in a Peer Mentoring Program and mentored a class of freshman students. Martyna later studied at Long Island University to complete a Paralegal Studies Program.

Coming from an immigrant family, Martyna can relate to the challenges that immigrant communities face in this country. During her time in the hospitality industry, she enjoyed assisting others. This allowed her to meet and interact with diverse individuals who have enriched her as a person.

Martyna is fluent in Polish and conversational Italian.

Gamael Chalvire - Paralegal, Immigration Program

Gamael Chalvire is an Immigration Paralegal for the affirmative team at Catholic Migration Services. She graduated from Salem State University with a B.S. in Political Science and a French minor. Gamael came to the United States from Haiti in 2015. Gamael’s experience and that of her family with the immigration system made her want to pursue a career in immigration. While in college, Gamael interned at the Association of Haitian Women in Boston and the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, where her interest in the legal field grew. Gamael believes that immigrants deserve quality representation, no matter their country of origin. Gamael is fluent in both Haitian Creole and French.

Ghada Ghannam - Staff Attorney, Immigration Program

Headshot_Ghada GhannamGhada is a Staff Attorney and Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow with the Removal Defense Project at Catholic Migration Services. Ghada is a Texas native and graduated in May 2021 with dual degrees in Law and Global Policy Studies from the University of Texas School of Law and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She is passionate about serving marginalized communities. She aims to leverage her skillsets in legislative lawyering, immigration, civil rights, and social justice lawyering to uplift those she serves. Ghada has interned for the Texas Supreme Court and clerked for the Texas Civil Rights Project, Open Society Justice Initiative, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and RAICES. She also served as staff editor at the Journal of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights and staff editor at the Journal of Law and Technology at Texas. She is a 2017 Rotary Education Scholar, having studied Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo.  She is a native Arabic speaker, an artist, and avid reader. Ghada is admitted to practice law in Texas and is seeking bar admission in New York.

Mizraim Belman Guerrero - Paralegal, Pro Se Plus Program, Immigration Program

Mizraim is a paralegal for the Pro Se Plus Program, and he is a native Spanish speaker. He was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and immigrated to the United States at four years old. He grew up in Austin, Texas, and experienced the realities of growing up undocumented and navigating DACA. Mizraim knew that he wanted to support the immigrant community, and when he was fifteen, he became part of the immigrant rights movement for the first time. Ever since then, he has been heavily involved in immigrant rights advocacy in various ways. For example, at Georgetown University (Class of 2021), he studied international relations and worked with the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor as an Immigration and Labor Project Organizer. Additionally, he was part of Mexico’s Permanent Mission to the UN, where he collaborated with global leaders on the Global Compact on Migration. Mizraim is passionate about recognizing everyone’s innate humanity and individual life experiences, and helping migrants work towards the futures that they deserve.

Polibia Hernandez - Administrative Assistant, Immigration Program

Polibia Hernandez serves as a part-time Administrative Assistant for the Removal Defense Program and Pro Se Plus Project teams. She brings a legal background as an attorney in the Dominican Republic. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Polibia finds fulfillment in aiding individuals and is driven by a passion for equity and social justice. As an immigrant in the United States, Polibia deeply connects with the mission of Catholic Migration Services, contributing her skills and dedication to support fellow migrants and fostering a more inclusive community.

Christopher Holtz - Supervising Attorney, Immigration Program

Christopher Holtz is a supervising attorney in the Removal Defense Project, where he defends asylees and noncitizens in removal proceedings in U.S. Immigration Court and before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He also represents clients who are affirmatively filing for immigration benefits in our Immigration Legal Services Program. In his work, Chris strives to help clients who otherwise cannot afford legal representation to navigate the complex immigration laws of the U.S.

Prior to joining our staff in 2012, Chris served as a legal intern in the organizations Immigrant Tenant Advocacy Program from 2009-2010. He graduated from St. John’s University School of Law in 2011, and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University at Buffalo in 2008. During law school Chris worked with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, where he provided legal services to low-income artists.

Chris is admitted to practice law in New York.

Isadora Jaffee - Staff Attorney, Immigration Program

Isadora Jaffee is a staff attorney with the Removal Defense Project at Catholic Migration Services. Isadora graduated from City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law in May 2021, where she was the chair of the International Law Society and held leadership positions in several noncitizen justice groups. There she also represented under supervision an asylum client for CUNY Law’s Immigrant and Noncitizen Rights Clinic (INRC) and worked on three civil rights cases as a part of CUNY Law’s Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) clinic. Before joining Catholic Migration Services, she interned in The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) unit of The Legal Aid Society and the Immigration unit of Prisoners’ Legal Services. Isadora also worked part-time at Queens Defenders and Legal Outreach Inc. As a baby and between her time in college and law school, Isadora lived in Japan. She was an English teacher in various public schools for three years and later a research fellow, producing research on the US Occupation’s attitude and policies towards migrants in Japan and the lasting effects today. She also worked in immigration legal service organizations in Tokyo.

Isadora speaks Japanese and some Spanish and is admitted to practice law in New York.

José M. León - Supervising Attorney, Naturalization, Immigration Program

José M. León supervises the Naturalization practice at Catholic Migration Services, including naturalization applications and requests for certificates of citizenship for those who derived or acquired citizenship through their parents. José also works as a senior staff attorney in the Removal Defense Project, which represents clients in removal proceedings in Immigration Court. He helps clients with defensive asylum claims, defensive Violence Against Women Act petitions, Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Resident applications, U-Visa Petitions, T-Visa Petitions, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Petitions in Family Court and with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

José is a graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and holds a B.A. in Economics and History from Northwestern University. Prior to joining Catholic Migration Services, José interned at Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona, the Immigration Unit at Legal Aid Society in Manhattan, and completed the year-long immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo Law.

José grew up in San José, Costa Rica and Barcelona, Spain. He Speaks Spanish, Catalan, French and German. José is admitted to practice law in New York.

Lynn Neugebauer - Supervising Attorney, Immigration Program

Lynn Neugebauer is the Supervising Attorney for the Removal Defense Project. Before joining Catholic Migration Services, she was the Director of the Safe Horizon Immigration Law Project, a staff attorney representing immigrants at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, staff attorney at two small immigration law firms, and an attorney at the National Labor Relations Board.

She went to Brooklyn Law School and NYU undergrad. Admitted to the New York Bar and the federal courts here, Lynn spent a little over three years as an Administrative Law Judge doing hearings and adjudicating claims for individuals seeking disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.

Lynn is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish and is conversational in French and Russian.  She is admitted to practice law in New York.

Raluca Oncioiu - Managing Attorney, Immigration Program

Headshot_Raluca OncioiuRaluca manages the three immigration programs – removal defense, affirmative, and naturalization – at Catholic Migration services, and also works directly with clients. She hails from Romania, where her parents emigrated from in the early eighties. Prior to joining Catholic Migration Services in late 2021, she directed the immigration legal services and immigration hotline departments at catholic Charities Community Services. Raluca is a graduate of Tufts University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and New York University School of Law. Raluca is admitted to practice law in New York and is fluent in Romanian and conversational in Italian.

Samantha Pascal - Naturalization Coordinator, Immigration Program

Headshot_Samantha PascalSamantha is the Naturalization Coordinator at Catholic Migration Services. She received her B.A. in Human Rights from Columbia University in 2018. As a Haitian Immigrant, Samantha has always been passionate about advocating for immigrant rights. Her passion led her to Immigrant Justice Corps where she was offered a two-year fellowship as a Community Fellow. As a fellow, she became a partial BIA Accredited Representative and placed at the Brooklyn Central Public Library where she provided direct legal service to immigrants seeking affirmative relief. Samantha is Fluent in French and Haitian Creole.

Jeanne Sanon - Senior Immigration Counselor, DOJ Accredited Representative, Immigration Program

Jeanne Sanon is a Senior Immigration Counselor. She assists clients by preparing applications for Adjustment of Status, Naturalization, Green Card, VAWA, DACA and RI Visa extensions. Three years prior to working at Catholic Migration Services Jeanne taught civics and adult literacy at the Empowerment Centre for Caribbean Immigrants. Jeanne was exposed to the immigrant experience from a very young age. This encounter fostered a deep sense of responsibility to empower the immigrant community, especially Haitian immigrants. The passion for her work is sustained by her belief that individual achievement is most satisfactory when a community has access to the same opportunities. Jeanne is motivated to reach her highest potential only if her community can achieve theirs as well. Jeanne is fulfilled in her work because she knows that she is leaving an everlasting life changing impact on the people she meets. Jeanne attended CUNY York where she received a B.A in English Literature. Jeanne is fluent in Haitian Creole.

Michael Shannon - Associate Supervising Attorney, Removal Defense Project, Immigration Program

Michael is the Associate Supervising Attorney in the Removal Defense Project. Before joining Catholic Migration Services, Michael worked at the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, the Bronx Defenders, and Sanctuary for Families, where he was an Immigrant Justice Corps fellow. Michael received his J.D. from Boston College Law School, where he represented immigrants in removal proceedings in his school’s Immigration and Asylum Clinic and Federal Appeals Clinic. He spent his summers at human rights organizations in Colombia and Bolivia and completed a semester-long externship program at a refugee rights organization in Ecuador. Before law school, Michael was a management consultant in Texas, an English teacher in Ecuador, a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, and an advocate for survivors of human rights abuses in Bolivia and Mexico. Michael is a graduate of Bowdoin College. He speaks Spanish and French.

Michael is admitted to practice law in New York.

Lily Stadler - Paralegal, Pro Se Plus Program, Immigration Program

Lily is a Paralegal with the Pro Se Plus Program for Catholic Migration Services. She grew up in Vermont and moved to Guanajuato, Mexico with her family during elementary school. Lily is fluent in Spanish and has spent time living, working, and studying in Guatemala and Cuba. Lily graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Intergroup Relations. During her time at Skidmore, she co-facilitated Inter- and Intragroup dialogues focusing on race, identity, and social justice. Prior to joining Catholic Migration Services, she served as an Intake Worker at Texas RioGrande Legal Aide, a paralegal and naturalization teacher as the ANSOB Center for Refugees, and an intern with Coalition for Immigrant Freedom. Lily is committed to empowering immigrants to know and exercise their rights as they navigate a complex and deeply flawed immigration system.


Michelle Vázquez - Naturalization Counselor, Immigration Program

Headshot_Michelle VázquezMichelle is a Naturalization Counselor at Catholic Migration Services where she assists clients in the process of applying for Naturalization. Prior to becoming a Naturalization Counselor, Michelle interned with the Workers’ Rights Team and served as the administrative assistant for a little over two years. In 2017, she graduated from St. Francis College with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a minor in English and Forensic Science. Her experience with the criminal justice system while at St. Francis College and exposure as an intern and administrative assistant at Catholic Migration Services, opened her eyes to the injustice that exists, especially within the immigrant community. Michelle’s experiences, especially as the daughter of Mexican immigrants, made her want to be a part of an organization that prides itself in helping and being an ally of the immigrant community. Michelle is fluent in Spanish.


Tenant Advocacy

Jonathan Cohen - Managing Attorney, Tenant Advocacy Program

Jonathan Cohen is the Managing Attorney at Catholic Migration Services. Before joining the team, he was the Lead Housing Supervisor of the Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center from 2017-2021. From 2006-2017, he was a Staff Attorney and a Senior Staff Attorney in the Mental Health Project at UJC, enforcing New York State’s psychiatric discharge planning laws and representing poor and indigent tenants with psychiatric disabilities. He also represented poor and indigent tenants at CAMBA Legal Services from 2000-2006. Mr. Cohen has also worked as Director of Education and Outreach for a non-profit Fair Housing organization, as a Civil Rights Investigator, and as a counselor for recovering drug users. Mr. Cohen has a B.A. in psychology from Haverford College and a J.D. from CUNY Law School.

Jonathan is admitted to practice law in New York.

Stephani Espinal-Suero - Tenant Organizer, Tenant Advocacy Program

Stephani Espinal-Suero is a community organizer in the Tenant Advocacy Program for Catholic Migration Services. Her work primarily serves the community in Ridgewood, Queens. Stephani was born in the Dominican Republic and earned a Business Administration degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD). In 2015, Stephani began community organizing alongside Yolanda Coca, a fierce community advocate and local leader in Bushwick and Ridgewood. Stephani joined the staff at Catholic Migration Services in 2015, and then in 2016 became a Public Ally under the Public Ally program for developing leaders. In 2018, Stephani graduated from the Center for Neighborhood Leadership (CNL) as a Community Organizer with the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD). In 2019, Stephani became a member of the Right to Counsel New York City Coalition, and today she continues to expand outreach in Ridgewood while focusing her work on tenant organizing in Elmhurst to address growing housing concerns.

Bryan Fotino - Tenant Organizer, Tenant Advocacy Program

Bryan Fotino joined Catholic Migration Services as a Tenant Organizer in November 2022. After graduating from Vassar College at the height of the pandemic, Bryan worked as a Housing Advocate at Breaking Ground, where they connected people experiencing homelessness on the streets of Midtown Manhattan with housing and social services. There, they saw the most violent impacts of a system where housing is a commodity, not a right, and the disproportionate impacts faced by people of color.    

Bryan decided to leave the world of social work and take a job as an organizer. Now, they’re on the ground building the tenant movement, one conversation and one building at a time. In addition to advocating for the Right To Counsel NYC Coalition’s anti-eviction demands on the city and state level, Bryan is organizing Queens tenants to take on their landlords, lower their rents, and get the repairs they need. 

Bryan speaks English and Spanish. 

Kelly Horan - Law Graduate, Tenant Advocacy Program

Kelly Horan is a Law Graduate with the Tenant Advocacy Program at Catholic Migration Services. Kelly is from Brooklyn and received her B.Sc. from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, her M. Phil from Trinity College Dublin, and her J.D./Graduate Certificate from the Georgetown University Law Center. During law school, Kelly served as a student attorney working in immigration court with the Center for Applied Legal Studies and completed human rights related internships with UNHCR, IOM, and Adalah legal center. Kelly graduated Georgetown Law with a J.D., a Graduate Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies, and over 200 hours in pro bono service. Following law school, Kelly participated in the Delaney Post-Graduate Residency Program in D.C. from 2020-2021 as an Advocacy Fellow at Crisis Action. Kelly is excited to be back in her home city and is committed to using what she’s learned to increase access to justice and use the law to protect safe and affordable housing for everyone.

Samantha Lyons - Senior Staff Attorney – Tenant Advocacy Program

Samantha Lyons is a senior staff attorney with the Immigrant Tenant Advocacy Program, where she provides free legal counsel to low and moderate income immigrant tenants in Queens and Brooklyn. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 2009, and her J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2016. Prior to law school, Samantha worked as the Pro Bono Coordinator of a large law firm in Washington, D.C., where she helped manage the firm’s pro bono initiatives and assisted with housing, immigration, wrongful conviction, and other legal matters. During law school, Samantha performed clinical work, providing low-income clients with legal assistance in housing, public defense, and wrongful conviction matters.

Samantha speaks Spanish and is admitted to practice law in New York.

Carlos Ortiz - Tenant Organizer, Tenant Advocacy Program

Carlos Ortiz is a Tenant Organizer. His work which takes place mostly in the Borough of Queens is devoted primarily on the Stabilizing NYC campaign, a city-wide effort led by a coalition of 14 organizations of which Catholic Migration is a member. The main focus of Stabilizing NYC is fighting Predatory Equity, and to this effect Carlos engages in tenant outreach, education, meeting facilitation, leadership development and other forms of organizing for both immediate tenant needs as well as more long-terms goals. He also provides support in other aspects of Catholic Migrations Tenant Advocacy program, providing translation and interpretation during clinics, meetings and court appearances, as well as mobilizing for actions. He is motivated by a deep commitment to social justice and a firm belief in community empowerment, which he strives to help facilitate. Carlos attended Columbia University, where he studied Philosophy and Political Science and organized around diverse issues including economic justice, gentrification and immigrant’s rights. Carlos is fluent in Spanish.

Anthony Salazar Vazquez - Paralegal, Tenant Advocacy Program

Anthony Salazar Vazquez is the Paralegal for the Tenant Advocacy Program. Before joining Catholic Migration Services, Anthony worked in the private law firm sectors in various fields of law working as a legal assistant and a paralegal. He is a born and raised New Yorker by immigrant parents from Mexico. Anthony is passionate in helping immigrant communities fight for their housing rights and receive justice. He will be receiving his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College, CUNY in Puerto Rican & Latino Studies and in Spanish at the end of the Fall 2022 semester. Anthony is a native Spanish speaker.


David Colodny - Senior Counsel

David Colodny provides advice and representation to low-wage workers seeking to vindicate their workplace rights. Immediately prior to his current role, David served as Catholic Migration Services’ Director of Legal Services and Senior Vice President. Before joining Catholic Migration Services in 2016, David worked as a Supervising Attorney at the Urban Justice Center (UJC) (2005-2016), as the Deputy Director and Director of Legal Services at the D.C. Employment Justice Center (2001-2005) and as an associate at the Washington, D.C., based law firm Patton Boggs LLP (1995-2000). David was also an adjunct professor of clinical law at the New York University School of Law (2008-2010).

David received his B.A. from Duke University and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He first became a member of the bar in 1995 in Maryland, and has been a member of the New York bar since 2006.

Anthony Damelio - Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney, Employment Unit

Headshot_ Anthony DamelioAnthony Damelio is a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney in the Employment Unit at Catholic Migration Services, representing low-wage and immigrant workers in their employment matters. In 2022, he earned a J.D. magna cum laude from Fordham University School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and a Stein Scholar for the Public Interest. During law school, Anthony interned with the National Center for Law & Economic Justice (NCLEJ), Fordham’s Federal Litigation Clinic, the Housing and Worker Protection Bureau at the Queens District Attorney, and Kakalec Law PLLC. His scholarship on wage theft has been published in the Fordham Urban Law Journal.

Anthony also holds a B.A. from Fordham University at Rose Hill and an M.Div. from Yale University. Prior to law school, Anthony served as the Deputy Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), an immigrant worker center in New York City. His previous work includes non-profit management and religious leadership. Anthony is admitted to practice law in New York.

Benjamin Locke – Senior Staff Attorney, Employment Unit

Benjamin Locke is a senior staff attorney in the Employment Unit at Catholic Migration Services where he represents workers in wage and hour claims and other employment matters.  Prior to joining Catholic Migration Services, he was Senior Attorney at Earthjustice and Staff Attorney at Make the Road New York.  He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law and his B.A. from University of Chicago.

Benjamin speaks Spanish and is admitted to practice law in New York.

Rebecca Rybaltowski - Paralegal, Employment Unit

Headshot_Rebecca RybaltowskiRebecca is a paralegal with the Employment Unit of Catholic Migration Services. In this role she provides support to Employment Unit, which provides low-wage workers with advice and representation on a wide range of employment matters, including wage theft, discrimination, unemployment insurance, paid leave and workplace injuries. Prior to this, Rebecca was the outreach coordinator where she engaged community members to provide support through outreach resources and legal services. She joined Catholic Migration Services as a Mercy Volunteer with the labor and immigration program, while serving as an interpreter for the organization. As a Mercy Volunteer she assisted in the development and format improvement of the Workers’ Rights Hotline to reach a wider range of individuals. Rebecca’s experience at Catholic Migration Services have enhanced her understanding of the importance of connecting immigrant communities to the different resources the organization offers. She enjoys working with individuals to keep them informed about relevant information impacting their lives. Rebecca attended Gordon College in Massachusetts where she graduated in 2011 with a B.A. in Spanish. She graduated from a certification program for legal interpretation at New York University and is currently in a double certificate program for interpretation and translation at Hunter College. She hopes one day to be a professional interpreter.