About RAICES

RAICES is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.

Founded in 1986 as the Refugee Aid Project by community activists in South Texas, RAICES has grown to be the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas. With offices in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, RAICES is a frontline organization in the roiling debate about immigration and immigrants in the world. As an organization that combines expertise developed from the daily practice of immigration law with a deep commitment to advocacy, RAICES is unique among immigration organizations. A diverse staff of 130 attorneys, legal assistants, and support staff provide consultations, direct legal services, representation, assistance and advocacy to communities in Texas and to clients after they leave the state. In 2017, RAICES staff closed 51,000 cases at no cost to the client. Our advocacy and commitment to change are driven by the clients and families we serve every day as our attorneys and legal assistants provide legal advocacy and representation in an immigration system that breaks apart families and leaves millions without pathways to legal status.

 

Officers

Jonathan Ryan, CEO / President
San Antonio, TX
Jonathan Ryan has served as the Executive Director of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) since 2008. RAICES provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in Central and South Texas. Previously, he worked as a staff attorney at American Gateways where he helped to establish the Legal Orientation Program for adults in DHS detention. Jonathan received his B.A. from Columbia College in New York and is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.

Michelle Garza, Chief Legal Programs Officer
Dallas, TX
Michelle Garza has worked at RAICES since 2010. As a staff attorney at RAICES, Michelle’s practice was divided between the Children’s Program and direct representation of unaccompanied minors, as well as some affirmative practice before the United States Citizenship and Immigrant Services. She became Director of RAICES Children’s Program in December of 2012 and Associate Executive Director in 2015. Before joining RAICES, Michelle obtained her B.A from the University of Texas at Austin in Mexican American Studies with a focus on Public Policy and received a J.D from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2010.

Sara Fairley, Chief Social Programs Officer
Washington, D.C.

Julia Harvell, Chief Administration Officer
Bastrop, TX

Joan Dixon, Chief Finance Officer
San Antonio, TX

Liz Dunn, Interim Chief Development Officer
San Antonio, TX

William Fitzgerald, Interim Chief Advocacy Officer
San Francisco, CA

Directors

Angelica Coronado and Andrea Meza, Directors of Family Detention

Angelica Coronado
San Antonio, TX
Angelica Coronado joined RAICES in 2013 as a Staff Attorney in the Children’s Program providing direct representation to unaccompanied children. In late 2014 became a Supervising Attorney in the program until June 2015 when she became the Director of Grants. In 2018 she became a Director of Family Detention along with Andrea Meza. She is a J.D. graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, TX and received her B.B.A at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. While in law school Angelica participated in a program of studies abroad on Global Legal Issues at the University of Innsbruck in Austria where she took a course taught by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Her passion for working at RAICES stems from her desire to use her skills to aid individuals in critical need that began when she was a student attorney in the Civil Justice clinical program of St. Mary’s. Before joining RAICES, Angelica’s work as an immigration attorney in private practice focused largely on employment-based visa petitions, some removal work and family-based petitions.

Mayra Jimenez, Director of Children’s Program
San Antonio, TX
Mayra Jimenez is the Children’s Program Director at RAICES. She has been dedicated to the Children’s Program and the work of unaccompanied minors for over 4 years. She attended Baylor University for her undergraduate studies where she received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Economics and International Business and went on to graduate from St. Mary’s University Law School. Prior to joining RAICES, Mayra clerked at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid specializing in family and property law. She also worked at the Bexar County Courthouse District Court Division clerking for Civil County Judges.

Brian Schaeffer, Pro Bono Legal Director
Houston, TX

Alexandra Minnaar, Director of Community Immigration Services
Austin
Alexandra Minnaar is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. Alexandra began working at RAICES in September 2008 with detained asylum seekers and unaccompanied children. In November 2013, Alexandra initiated the expansion of RAICES general immigration services at the Austin office. Prior to working at RAICES, Alexandra was a federal law clerk for the Honorable Judge Diana Saldana at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Laredo, Texas.

Whitney Hampton, Families Together Director
Dallas, TX

Manoj Govindaiah,Director of Legal Strategy and Training
San Antonio, TX
Prior to becoming the Director of Legal Strategy and Training at RAICES, Manoj was the Director of Family Detention Services where he oversaw RAICES’ work at Texas family detention centers. He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2006. He has spent his career working at non-profit legal services agencies in immigration, civil rights, juvenile justice, and education. He is fluent in Spanish, and is admitted to the bars in Texas, Illinois, and Florida

Barbara Peña, Education and Outreach Director
San Antonio, TX

Brendan Colthurst, Interim Director of Digital
Los Angeles, CA
Brendan is a graduate of Columbia in New York City and has worked for a number of digital agencies including Organic Inc. and VSA Partners. Brendan was the CTO and technical co-founder of Wine Direct, a SaaS e-commerce and logistics business, and the managing partner of Disposable Television, a digital video production company.

Bryan Carmel, Interim Director of Video
Los Angeles, CA

Managing Attorneys

Jennifer de Haro, Managing Attorney
Fort Worth, TX
Jennifer graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 2012, where she was a student attorney in the Immigration Clinic. As a student attorney, Jennifer worked with detained immigrants and victims of crime, which solidified her career choice to work with vulnerable immigrant populations. Before starting with RAICES in December of 2015, Jennifer practiced as an immigration attorney with Catholic Charities, focusing on relief for victims of crime, removal defense, and family-based petitions. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys attending live music events, traveling with her husband, and spending time with her dog, Murphy. She also volunteers her time with NEED YPO, where she coordinates various service and educational events regarding poverty in Fort Worth.

Felix Villalobos, Managing Attorney
Dallas, TX
Felix Villalobos is the managing attorney at the RAICES Dallas office. Felix is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law in Houston. Prior to that Felix graduated from Brigham Young University in International Relations. Before joining RAICES, Felix was a staff attorney with Mary Elizabeth Cedillo-Pereira at her Immigration Boutique law firm in Dallas that specializes in Immigration and was heavily involved in removal defense. Felix was also an intern with Catholic Charities Dallas. Felix serves on the boards with the City of Dallas Judicial Commission, Alumni association, and local clergy leadership of an international church. He also has three children that serve as his inspiration.

Hannah Zimmermann, Managing Attorney
San Antonio, TX
Hannah is the managing attorney of the North Flores RAICES San Antonio office. Hannah is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, where she was a student attorney in the Immigration Clinic. She has been committed to working with immigrant communities since volunteering on an asylum case in college in Lancaster, PA. Prior to joining the San Antonio office, Hannah was supervising attorney of the unaccompanied children’s program in RAICES’ Corpus Christi office. She was a post-graduate fellow at American Gateways in Austin, Texas, working with refugees and immigrant victims of crime, and has interned with the Equal Justice Center and the ACLU of Texas in Austin, Texas.

Additional contact info

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