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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, UC San Diego 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

UCLA

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 Ignacio Figueroa

Ignacio Figueroa

Paralegal

Phone: 530-219-9087
E-mail: ignacio.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Ignacio Figueroa is a paralegal for the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Sacramento (Sac State). He has worked in the field of public service for over 15 years, where he has assisted families in a wide range of services. Ignacio has volunteered at various government and non-profit agencies involved with family support, unity, and reunification. Ignacio has over 6 years’ experience in the field of immigration law from previously working at a private practice as a paralegal. Ignacio enjoys exploring the coast of California, Oregon and Washington by bike riding and fishing.


Photo of Rachel Ray

Rachel Ray

Managing Attorney

UC San Francisco

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.) and Whitman College (B.A., Art History and Visual Culture Studies).  Her immigration legal experience includes removal defense, family and humanitarian based immigration, and business immigration work at private firms and nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining the UC Center in 2015, Rachel served as the as attorney for the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic’s Unaccompanied Minors Project, representing unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings.  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.  Currently, she is the USCIS Sacramento Co-Liaison for AILA NorCal.  In her free time, Rachel enjoys reading, dancing, hiking, yoga, painting, and spending time with her life partner and their child and rescue dogs. She is highly proficient in both spoken and written Spanish. 

Photo of Habiba Simjee

Habiba Simjee

UCLA Supervising Attorney

UCLA

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

Staff Attorney and Strategic Initiatives Coordinator

UC Santa Barbara

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

Anna Manuel is a Staff Attorney with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UC Santa Barbara. 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 Sarah  Domenick

Sarah  Domenick

Legal Fellow

UC Santa Cruz

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

 

Sarah Domenick (she/her) is a Legal Fellow with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UC Santa Cruz. She is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law, where she graduated with certificates in Public Interest and Social Justice and International Law. During law school, Sarah worked on a variety of immigration cases at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, the East Bay Community Law Center’s Immigration Unit, and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies. She also participated in the International Human Rights Workshop and the Berkeley Journal of International Law. Before law school, Sarah taught English in Madrid, Spain. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading fiction, hiking, climbing, and visiting family in her hometown of Philadelphia, PA. She is highly proficient in Spanish and French.  


Photo of Alfonso Maldonado-Silva

Alfonso Maldonado-Silva

Staff Attorney

UC Riverside

Phone: 530-574-9134
E-mail: alfonso.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Alfonso Maldonado-Silva is a Staff Attorney with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UC Riverside.  At the age of five, Alfonso and his family migrated from Michoacan, Mexico to the United States.  He and his family settled in California's Central Valley, where he grew up undocumented. When it was time to apply for college, Alfonso learned that he did not qualify for financial aid because of his legal status.  Nonetheless, his determination got him to UC Riverside, where he graduated with a major in Philosophy Law and Society.  He then went on to attend Western State College of Law with the sole intention of becoming an immigration attorney.  During law school, Alfonso became a two-time California Bar Foundation Fellow and successfully argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2017.  He now proudly returns to his alma mater and helps represent a body of students he once formed part of.  Alfonso enjoys spending time outdoors, whether it be in the form of gardening or hiking a local trail.


Photo of Lucero Chavez Basilio

Lucero Chavez Basilio

Staff Attorney

UC Irvine

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

Lucero Chávez Basilio is a Staff Attorney with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UC Irvine.  Prior to joining the Center Lucero was a senior staff attorney at Public Counsel in the Immigrant Rights Project. Lucero spent over five years representing unaccompanied children in immigration, asylum, family, delinquency, dependency, and probate proceedings.  Prior to joining Public Counsel, Lucero was an Immigrants Rights attorney at the ACLU of Southern California where she focused on impact litigation around immigration enforcement.  Lucero received her J.D. from UC Berkeley Law School in 2010 and obtained a B.A. in American Literature & Culture and Chicana/o Studies from UCLA in 2007.  She is the former President of the UC Student Association, worked on briefing for the Inter American Court with the Berkeley Law International Human Rights Clinic, and is a longtime volunteer with the YMCA Model Legislature and Court Youth and Government program.  Lucero is also a Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellow with the Fellowship for a New California and participated in the Shriver Racial Justice Institute.  Lucero also teaches administrative law at Western State College of law. She is a proud native of Los Angeles and from a working-class immigrant family.


Photo of Sergio  Alfredo Giro

Sergio Alfredo Giro

Legal Fellow

UC Merced

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

Sergio Giro (pronouns: he/him/his)  is a Staff Legal Fellow with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UC Merced. He is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law (J.D.) and University of Miami (B.A., International Studies and Spanish). During law school, Sergio interned at Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC), California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF), and the U.S. Department of State. Sergio grew up in an Ecuadorian American household in Miami, FL. He enjoys going to the beach, trying new foods, and watching Netflix. Sergio is fluent in Spanish and has basic proficiency in Portuguese.  


Photo of Emily Clarkson

Emily Clarkson

Legal Assistant

Phone: 530-219-0186
E-mail: emily.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Emily Clarkson is a Legal Assistant for the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. She is a recent graduate from UC Davis with bachelor’s degrees in International Relations and Spanish. During her undergraduate studies, she attended the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, where she also interned at an immigration legal services non-profit. Emily enjoys writing, traveling, learning languages, and swimming in her free time. She is proficient in Spanish and has basic speaking abilities in Japanese.


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.


Photo of Ariel Bailey

Ariel Bailey

Legal Fellow

UC Davis

Phone: 530-574-9531
E-mail: ariel.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Ariel Bailey is a Staff Legal Fellow with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UC Davis. She is a recent UC Berkeley School of Law graduate and previously received her Bachelor of Arts degree in rhetoric and technical communication from the University of North Texas in her hometown of Denton, Texas. During law school, Ariel interned at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at UC Hastings and at Beyond Legal Aid, a community lawyering nonprofit in Chicago. She also participated in Berkeley’s International Human Rights Law Clinic, the International Refugee Assistance Project, and the East Bay Community Law Center’s Immigration Unit. In her spare time, Ariel enjoys cooking for friends, cuddling her dog Maple, tending to her houseplant collection, and watching scary movies with her partner Max.


Photo of Jennifer Angeles

Jennifer Angeles

Legal Secretary

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

Jennifer Angeles is the Legal Secretary for the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. She joins us with over 25+ years of Executive and Administrative Assistance experience.  Prior to joining the Center, she worked at the UC Davis, School of Law as a Faculty Support Assistant for 15 years, and previous to that she worked in the Native American Health field assisting the Native American community as an Executive Assistant at the Sacramento Native American Health Center.  She has volunteered at various non-profit immigration agencies in the Bay Area.  Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family and fitness activities.  She is proficient in Spanish.  

Photo of Andres Lemons

Andres Lemons

Staff Attorney

UC San Diego

Phone: 530-219-8856
E-mail: andres.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Andrés Lemons is a Staff Attorney with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UCSD through the Undocumented Student Services Center. Andrés obtained both his B.A. in Philosophy and his law degree, with a focus on immigration law, at the University of Arizona. He worked for nine years in New York City at CUNY Citizenship Now!, where he provided free immigration legal services including naturalization assistance, family-based adjustment of status, and consular processing. More recently, Andrés had a private immigration-law practice focusing on family-based immigration law as well as artist visas. He is admitted to practice law in California, New York, and Arizona, and is fluent in Spanish. Andrés enjoys playing flamenco guitar and travelling.


Photo of Daisy Perez

Daisy Perez

Undocumented Student Program Paralegal

UCLA

Phone: 213-358-8768
E-mail: daisy.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Daisy Perez is a Paralegal with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and serves UCLA. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and minor in Political Science. A proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, Daisy started her career by volunteering with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) as an interpreter and traveled with attorneys to Adelanto Detention Center to assist with removal defense consultations. She then joined CHIRLA full-time as a Legal Fellow and was responsible for managing their satellite office in El Sereno and completing DACA/Naturalization applications.  Prior to joining the Center, Daisy was an Intake Advisor and Designated School Official at UCLA’s Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars.  She was responsible for providing initial advising services for the university’s 7500+ international student body and educating F-1/J-1 students on their responsibilities to maintain valid nonimmigrant status. In her free time, Daisy enjoys spending time with her family and watching soccer. 


Photo of Lorena Rosas

Lorena Rosas

DACA Program Associate

Phone: 530-219-5716
E-mail: lorena.ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu

Lorena Rosas is the DACA Program Associate at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. She graduated from California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) where she received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. During college, she took part of the first group of DACAmented students to study abroad in Mexico, which allowed her to reconnect with her roots. Her personal experience has shaped her into an advocate for immigrant rights and supporting undocumented students pursuing higher education. Prior to joining the team, Lorena worked at a private law firm where she assisted over 200 applicants with their DACA initial and renewal applications. She also took part of the Immigrants Rising Catalyst Fund as the Academic Coordinator for the Undocumented Student Success Center (USSC) at CSUSB. During her role at USSC, Lorena worked closely with undocumented students to increase the retention and graduation rates. Lorena is also a founding and board member of the first undocumented alumni chapter in the CSU system. Her mission is to continue active participation in the immigrant rights movement, encouraging support and communicating available resources to her community. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family. Lorena is fluent in 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 an expert in employment, labor, and immigration law. She has been instrumental in the foundation of our center and is an ongoing advisor for our staff.