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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.

UCIMM Staff

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

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 (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.


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 Desiree Fairly

Desiree Fairly

Attorney Fellow

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

Desiree (“Desi”) Fairly is an Attorney Fellow at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and a 2015 graduate of UC Davis School of Law. While doing her undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara, Desi studied abroad in Mexico, China, and Spain. During law school, she participated in the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic where she and a team of students successfully defended a client against deportation. Desi has also interned with the Alameda County Public Defender and worked at a private immigration firm in San Francisco, conducting research on deportation defense and other immigration issues. In her free time, she enjoys running, bikram yoga, and going to movie theaters.

Photo of David Gomez

David Gomez

Attorney Fellow

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

David Gomez is an Attorney Fellow at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. He is a graduate of CSU Sacramento and UC Davis School of Law. His immigration legal experience includes family and humanitarian based immigration as well as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). David’s other legal experience includes criminal defense at the Solano County Alternate Defender and child dependency at the Children’s Law Center of Sacramento. David is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and speaks both Moroccan Arabic and Spanish at a conversational level. In his free time, David can be found chasing a little white ball around at the local golf course or enjoying a live musical performance.

Photo of Amy Barnett

Amy Barnett

Attorney Fellow

Phone: 530-761-8026
E-mail: amy.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Amy Frances Barnett is an Attorney Fellow at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. She is a “double aggie,” having earned her J.D. from UC Davis King Hall School of Law in 2015 and her A.B. from the UC Davis College of Letters and Sciences in 2009. As an undergrad, Amy majored in Religious Studies and studied abroad at the University of Delhi in India. As a law student, Amy worked to help survivors of domestic violence as part of the King Hall Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic and the Family Violence Appellate Project in Berkeley, CA. She also interned with the Juvenile Division of the Sacramento Public Defender’s Office where she defended minors in their detention hearings. Amy served as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of King Hall’s Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy and she graduated with certificates for her public service and pro bono work.  For the last year, Amy has worked as the legal fellow for the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic’s Unaccompanied Minors Project, where she represented kids and teens in state court proceedings as well as asylum interviews and immigration court removal proceedings. Amy spends most of her free time taking photos of her ADORABLE pug-terrier rescue pup, Hugo.

Photo of Saya Austin

Saya Austin

Attorney Fellow

Phone: (530) 219-8856
E-mail: saya.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

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.


Photo of Karina Rocha

Karina Rocha

Paralegal Office Manager

Phone: (530) 752-7996
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.