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
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.
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.
Phone: (530) 761-8026
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 (deportation) defense, family and humanitarian based immigration, and business immigration work at private firms and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, Rachel served as the as the lead attorney for the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic’s Unaccompanied Minors Project, representing minors in removal proceedings. She has also worked as a volunteer immigration attorney with Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, 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 several boards, including the AILA Santa Clara Valley Chapter, Somos Mayfair, and the Santa Clara Valley and Yolo County Chapters of the ACLU. In her free time, Rachel enjoys hiking, yoga, Zumba, cooking, and spending time with her partner, Errol, and their rescue mutt, Hazel the Batdog. She is highly proficient in both spoken and written Spanish.
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.
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.
Phone: (530) 219-8856
Saya Austin is an Attorney Fellow at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center serving UC Riverside and UC San Diego. She is a 2015 graduate of Brooklyn Law School and holds a B.A. in International Studies -- Sociology and Communications from UC San Diego. Her legal experience includes working on asylum applications through law school clinic and on International Human Rights Fellowship, representing children in the New York City Family Court, and filing various humanitarian immigration petitions at the International Institute of the Bay Area.
Cesar Montoya is an Attorney Fellow at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. He is a graduate of Andrews University and the Pepperdine University School of Law. As an undergrad, Cesar majored in both Political Science and French Studies, which provided him the opportunity to study abroad in south-eastern France. As part of his legal experience, Cesar has served as a judicial extern in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, worked with public-interest organizations representing immigrant minors, and spent a summer as a law clerk for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office in the Juvenile Division. During his last semester of law school, Cesar worked in Washington, D.C. for the office of Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán, researching committee issues and working alongside legislative staff. Cesar enjoys traveling, swimming, learning languages, and finding new podcasts to listen to in traffic. He is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French.
Anel was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She moved to Northern California to attend UC Santa Cruz where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies and Sociology as well as a minor in Latin American and Latino Studies. She recently graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, MA. She has been involved with several non-profit organizations providing legal services to undocumented immigrants in both the Santa Cruz area and Los Angeles area, and also in East Boston where she worked for a law firm. In her capacity as law clerk, she had the opportunity to work on various forms of immigration relief, such as Asylum petitions for both adults and juveniles, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and marriage applications. Through her clinical experience at Northeastern University, she grappled with the intersection of immigration and labor law and successfully represented immigrants in unemployment hearings before administrative officers. She has also worked on business immigration matters at a law firm in downtown Los Angeles prior to starting law school and while in law school, she interned at Northeastern University’s Office of the General Counsel conducting similar work. She is bilingual and speaks Spanish and English.
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.
Paralegal Office Manager
Phone: (530) 752-7996
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 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.