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About Us

The UC Immigrant Legal Services Center is comprised of a passionate team of legal professionals who are dedicated to supporting UC students and their families. Our goal is to remove barriers by providing immigration legal services so UC students can achieve their full potential in their educational pursuits. Based at the UC Davis School of Law, the UCIMM serves students through its Northern California and Southern California hubs. Our UCLA, UC Davis, UC Riverside, and UC Irvine attorneys are located on their respective campuses.

Meet Our Team

Photo of María Blanco

María Blanco

Executive Director

Phone: 530-219-5091
E-mail: mablanco@ucdavis.edu

María Blanco is Executive Director of the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, which provides immigration-related legal services for undocumented students at UC Merced, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and UC Riverside. A graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law, Blanco has more than 20 years' experience as a litigator and advocate for immigrant rights, women's rights, and social justice.


Photo of Vivek Mittal

Vivek Mittal

Managing Attorney

Phone: 530-219-7256
E-mail: vivek.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Vivek Mittal is a Managing Attorney at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. A graduate of the UCLA School of Law, Vivek has been an Adjunct Professor at the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the UC Irvine School of Law, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Consuelo B. Marshall, Senior District Court Judge in the Central District of California in Los Angeles, California. Prior to this, he worked as an immigration practitioner at a private immigration firm in Los Angeles. In 2009, Vivek was selected to be an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the National Immigration Law Center, where he litigated high-impact cases regarding anti-immigration laws across the country, most notably against Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56. For this work, he was honored by the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Vivek enjoys creative writing, tennis, running and spending time with his daughter and partner. He is highly proficient in spoken Hindi.


Photo of Rachel Ray

Rachel Ray

Managing Attorney

Phone: (530) 761-8026
E-mail: rachel.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Rachel Ray is a Managing Attorney at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center.  She is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law (J.D., Public Service Law Program Scholar) and Whitman College (B.A., Art History and Visual Culture Studies).  During college, she studied at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina.  Her immigration legal experience includes removal defense, family and humanitarian based immigration, and business immigration work at private firms including Law Offices of Daniel Shanfield - Immigration Defense, PC and Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP and nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining the UC Center in 2015, Rachel served as the as the lead attorney for the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic’s Unaccompanied Minors Project, representing unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings.  After law school, Rachel also worked as a Civil Rights Impact Litigation Attorney Fellow with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, and as a community organizer and documentarian for the ACLU of Northern California on a special immigrants' rights project in Alabama.  Rachel has served on multiple boards, including the AILA Santa Clara Valley Chapter, Somos Mayfair, and the Santa Clara Valley and Yolo County Chapters of the ACLU.  She currently serves as Volunteer Fundraiser for the BlyueRose Dance Project.  In her free time, Rachel enjoys hiking, yoga, dancing, crafting, cooking, and spending time with her life partner, Errol, and their rescue dogs. She is highly proficient in both spoken and written Spanish.


Photo of Jacqueline Dan

Jacqueline Dan

Staff Attorney

Phone: 530-400-2062
E-mail: Jacqueline.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Jacqueline Dan is a Staff Attorney with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UC Irvine. She is a 2010 graduate of UCLA School of Law (J.D., specializing in Critical Race Studies and Public Interest Law & Policy).  Jacqueline previously practiced immigration law for more than six years as a staff attorney at a civil rights organization - Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Orange County, where she focused on deportation defense for long-term residents with criminal convictions, deferred action for immigrant youth, and relief for immigrant survivors of crime, domestic violence and human trafficking. In law school, she interned at the Immigration Court of Los Angeles, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project. Jacqueline currently serves on the boards of several organizations – Al Otro Lado, the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Southern California, and Asian Pacific Islander Reentry of Orange County. She is a certified lead climber and also enjoys outdoor travel, yoga, swimming, textile crafting and gardening. Jacqueline is fluent in Vietnamese and has basic proficiency in Spanish, Italian and French.


Photo of Habiba Simjee

Habiba Simjee

Staff Attorney

Phone: 424-443-9653
E-mail: Habiba.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Habiba Simjee is a Staff Attorney with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UCLA through the Bruin Resource Center. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law (J.D.) and UC San Diego (B.A., International Studies - Economics and History). During college, she studied abroad at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Her experience includes working with refugees, asylum-seekers, unaccompanied children, and youth in the juvenile justice system. Habiba became involved with undocumented student advocacy during law school through Berkeley Law’s International Human Rights Law Clinic DREAMers at Cal project. Most recently, she served as the Undocumented Student Services Coordinator at UC Santa Barbara developing the program, services, and resources for undocumented and mixed-status students and allies at UC Santa Barbara. In her free time, Habiba enjoys cooking, baking, boxing, hiking, and being outdoors. She has language capabilities in Spanish, Gujurati, Urdu, Hindi, and Arabic.


Photo of Anna Manuel

Anna Manuel

Butler Koshland Immigrant Rights Fellow

Phone: 530-219-0832
E-mail: anna.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Anna Manuel is a Butler Koshland Immigrant Rights Fellow with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. She is a graduate of University of San Francisco School of Law (J.D., certificate in International and Comparative Law) and San Francisco State University (B.A., Anthropology). During law school, she participated in the Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Clinic and the USF Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic. After graduating law school, she worked with a private immigration law firm in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, California. Her legal experience has primarily included removal defense and asylum for women and children. Anna is also an organizer and activist, and currently works as volunteer Co-Director of Policy for Dreamer Fund, which assists Dreamers and undocumented students financially to pursue and complete law school. In her free time, Anna enjoys cooking, camping, traveling, and spending time with friends, family, and the weirdo cat.

Photo of Claudia Cuesta

Claudia Cuesta

Administrative Assistant

Phone: 530-752-7996
E-mail: claudia.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Claudia Cuesta is the administrative assistant at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. She graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Spanish. Prior to joining the team as an administrative assistant, Claudia interned with the center as an undergraduate student. As an intern she became interested in immigration law and plans to attend law school in the future. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. Claudia is fluent in both spoken and written Spanish.

Photo of Damian Caravez

Damian Caravez

Legal Fellow

Phone: 530-219-8468
E-mail: damian.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Damian is a recent UC Davis School of Law graduate and also received his Bachelor degree in Political Science and History at UC Davis. During law school, Damian interned at Catholic Charities of the East Bay and the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and assisted the teams in providing immigration services for the community. Damian was born and raised in Solano County and looks forward to serving the students and families of UC Davis. In his spare time, Damian enjoys running, dancing, and spending time with his family.

Photo of Karina A. Gutierrez

Karina A. Gutierrez

Staff Attorney

E-mail: kgutierrez.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Karina Gutierrez is a Staff Attorney with UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UC Riverside. She is a graduate of Golden Gate University, School of Law (J.D.) and California State University, Fullerton (B.A., Psychology and Political Science). Previously Karina was a lead attorney for Public Law Center’s Immigration Unit, a non-profit organization in Orange County, representing unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, and victims of domestic violence. Karina also served as panel speaker for symposiums at UC Irvine, and Chapman University, Fowler School of Law. The Santa Ana City Council honored her, among other, for her involvement with Universal Representation efforts to fund deportation defense in Orange County. Recently, the Orange County Bar Association’s diversity committee awarded her with the Courage Award. During law school, she held internships and volunteer opportunities with Catholic Charities of the East Bay, Asian Pacific Islander Outreach Program, and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Karina currently serves on the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association board, and continues be a guest lecturer, inspirational and panel speaker. On her free time, Karina enjoys hiking, journalism, drawing, swimming, and reading. She is fluent in both spoken and written Spanish.

Photo of Ronald K. Perry

Ronald K. Perry

Staff Attorney

E-mail: ron.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Ronald K. Perry joined UCSB’s AS Legal Resource Center in 2017, having been the Center’s attorney in the early 2000’s, and joined UC Immigrant Legal Services in 2018. A 1981 graduate of UCSB in Communication Studies, Ron has practiced law in Santa Barbara and Ventura County since 1989. His primary areas of expertise include Landlord/Tenant, Immigration and Family Law. His experience includes many years as managing attorney and Executive Director of Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, as a Directing Attorney at California Rural Legal Assistance, and at the Santa Barbara Superior Court Legal Resource Centers.

Photo of Lesley Sedano

Lesley Sedano

Attorney Fellow

Phone: 530-574-9414
E-mail: lesley.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Lesley Sedano is an Attorney Fellow at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center serving UC Santa Cruz. She is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law and UC Riverside. During law school, she participated in the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic where she and a team of students successfully fought for the release of a client in immigration detention while defending the client against deportation. Lesley has also worked with a private immigration firm in Sacramento, conducting research on immigration issues and assisting clients with deportation defense and affirmative relief applications. In her free time she enjoys running, kickboxing, cooking, and baking.


Photo of Karina Rocha

Karina Rocha

Paralegal Office Manager

Phone: 530-304-6043
E-mail: krocha@ucdavis.edu

Karina Rocha is the Paralegal Office Manager for the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. She graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and a minor in Chicana/o studies. She obtained her Paralegal Certificate from UCLA in 2013. Prior to her work with the UC Center, she assisted victims of crime by helping provide immigration services through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA). Karina has experience assisting in the preparation of pleadings, discovery, motions, legal research and trial preparation for civil litigation. Karina spends a lot of her free time singing and playing guitar for her spirited hound pup, Phoebe. Karina is fluent is both spoken and written Spanish.

School of Law Faculty

The excellence of the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center is reinforced by the Law School's outstanding faculty, including these nationally renowned experts on immigration law and policy.

Kevin R. Johnson

Kevin R. Johnson is Dean, Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law, and Professor of Chicana/o Studies at UC Davis School of Law. A nationally renowned expert on immigration law, his areas of specialty also include civil procedure, complex litigation, Latinos and Latinas and the law, and Critical Race Theory. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Leticia Saucedo

Leticia Saucedo is a Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Legal Education at UC Davis School of Law. An expert in employment, labor, and immigration law, she directs the Law School’s clinics, which provide legal services without charge to indigent persons, particularly client groups that have traditionally lacked significant legal representation, such as noncitizens and victims of domestic violence.