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I am a Southerner, first-generation U.S. citizen, born to parents who immigrated to Jackson, Mississippi from Rome, Italy. I am a dual U.S. and Italian citizen.
I have been practicing immigration law for 10 years, and it has been a true privilege to work in this field and to serve my clients. I am often in awe at their courage, resourcefulness, and resilience, people who love this country so much that they will literally put their lives on the line to get here. I encounter many heroes among my clients.
Two mentors of mine in law school steered me to immigration, knowing that I wanted to put my law degree to use in public service. I began my career with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans (CCANO) in a staff attorney position that was designed to serve the immigrant community, which had expanded significantly post-Katrina. I represented indigent immigrants in deportation proceedings, asylum applicants, immigrant survivors of crime (especially sexual assault and domestic violence), and represented respondents in their appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). While at CCANO, I also assisted in the creation and implementation of the federally funded Legal Orientation Program (LOP) at Louisiana’s largest immigration detention center, the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, LA. The LOP is still in operation at LaSalle.
Since going into private practice, I have continued defending individuals from deportation, assisting asylum applicants, representing immigrant victims of crime and domestic violence, and appellate work. I have also broadened my practice to include family immigration, federal litigation, and representation of immigrant artists and nonprofits.
I am a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and from 2008 to 2010 I served as AILA’s liaison to the New Orleans Field Office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). I’m currently the AILA liaison to the New Orleans Asylum Sub-Office, a position I’ve had for over two years. Given my background with immigrant survivors of crime, I’ve taken a particular interest in issues affecting immigrant survivors of crimes and their ability to safely access law enforcement and social services. I have given numerous presentations on this topic to audiences including immigration practitioners, prosecutors, law enforcement, and victim advocates.
I’m licensed to practice law in Louisiana and California (inactive in California). I earned my B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1999 and my J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2006. I also spent an academic year at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal. I’m fluent in Spanish and Italian, and proficient in French (It takes me a few minutes to warm up in French, though.). If I don’t speak your language, I am accustomed to working with interpreters and to the care needed when working in translation - and maybe I can learn some of the language from you too!