Legal Leadership

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.

Email: [email protected]

Unit Directors

Javier Hidalgo joined RAICES’ Family Detention unit (now known as the Pre-Removal Services unit) in August of 2018 as a staff attorney and then as a supervising attorney, before becoming Unit Director in 2022. His focus at RAICES has been to provide pro bono legal services and release efforts under a universal representation model to families and individuals in ICE detention who are in expedited removal proceedings and to leverage that experience to advocate for an end to immigrant detention. Prior to joining RAICES Javier was a litigator in New York where he practiced consumer protection, civil rights, and administrative law. Javier obtained his JD in 2012 from New York Law School and his BA in Sociology & Anthropology from Swarthmore College in 2004. He is admitted to practice in the States of Texas and New York and the U.S. District Courts in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.

Email: [email protected]

Tami Goodlette is the Director of Litigation at the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) in San Antonio, Texas where she oversees a portfolio of federal litigation challenging unconstitutional laws and discriminatory practices of the U.S. government in an effort to ensure fairness and dignity for non-citizens seeking refuge in the U.S. Prior to joining RAICES, Tami served as the Deputy Director of the Dilley Pro Bono Project representing families detained at the largest immigrant detention facility in the U.S. Tami’s background is in civil litigation. She was the Managing Partner of the Colorado offices of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, a law firm of nearly 300 attorneys, where she worked for 14 years. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Robert M. Russel on the Colorado Court of Appeals, and before law school, she was a Spanish teacher and school administrator. She is fluent in Spanish and is admitted to practice in Texas and Colorado and before the Fifth, Tenth and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeal, as well as various U.S. District Courts.

Email: [email protected]

Kathrine (“Kat”) Russell came to RAICES in early 2018 to start a universal representation program for residents of her hometown, San Antonio, in immigration detention. She later became the supervising attorney for removal defense in San Antonio before becoming the Unit Director for the RAICES removal defense practice in 2020. Kathrine has practiced immigration law at various nonprofit organizations in New York and Texas for more than ten years. She has represented detained and released immigrant children, families, and adults in immigration court proceedings, and she also has extensive experience representing clients before USCIS and state courts. Kathrine obtained her JD from the University of Texas School of Law in 2008, and her BA in Latin American Studies from Columbia University in 2005.

Email: [email protected]

Felix Villalobos is currently the Unit Director for Affirmative Services, which focuses on Naturalization, Residency applications, family-based petitions, and survivor-based applications, such as U visas and VAWA, among many others. He has been an attorney since 2014 and joined RAICES in 2015 as a staff attorney. Prior to the current position, Felix was the Managing Attorney for the Dallas offices and helped expand services and outreach. He graduated from South Texas College of Law in Houston in 2013 and graduated from Brigham Young University (“BYU”) in 2010 in International Relations. Felix grew up in Dallas, specifically Oak Cliff. Felix has participated in many community events on immigration topics such as “Know your Rights” and media interviews. When he is not working or participating in various events related to work, he likes to spend time with family and volunteering at church. Felix has four children and a dog, which keep him active and sane.

Email: [email protected]

Pablo Rodriguez started at RAICES as a law fellow in September 2013. He received his J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law. While in law school he participated in a project that assisted students and young adults apply for DACA when it was first announced. Additionally as a law student, he participated in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic where he represented his first client in immigration proceedings. He received his B.A. from the University of Texas. As an immigrant himself, he empathizes with every immigrants’ desire to pursue a better life.

Email: [email protected]

Managing Attorneys

Nathalie Guerrero received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin and earned her law degree from The University of Tulsa College of Law. She is licensed in Texas and Oklahoma.

Email: [email protected]

Sarah Bryan joined RAICES in late 2018 as a staff attorney. She later became the supervising attorney for affirmative services before stepping into the managing attorney role. Sarah has been practicing immigration law at nonprofit organizations for nearly 10 years. She has focused her career on representing immigrant survivors of crime, while also providing direct representation and supervision in the areas of asylum, family-based petitions, naturalization, and other affirmative immigration processes. Sarah earned her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law and her B.S. from Vanderbilt University.

Email: [email protected]

Farheen Siddiqi is a Managing Attorney at RAICES Dallas Office, and serves as a Supervising Attorney for the Released Children’s Program in Dallas. She joined RAICES in 2016 as a Staff Attorney in the Released Children’s Program. Prior to RAICES, Farheen was an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at Catholic Charities of Dallas where she represented unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings. Before law school, she served as an advocate for victims of domestic and family violence at the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and New Beginning Center (a local non-profit). Farheen received her juris doctorate degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now Texas A&M University School of Law), and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of Texas at Dallas. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Texas. Farheen has served in a leadership capacity in various organizations including: Dallas Bar Association – Immigration Law Section, DFW Muslim Bar Association, and the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. Farheen is passionate about community service, and access to legal representation for underserved and disadvantaged populations. As a resident of Dallas for more than 20 years, Farheen enjoys staying connected to the Dallas community through volunteer work, conducting Know Your Rights presentations, or serving as a panelist for immigration-related CLEs and events.

Email: [email protected]

Celia Vasquez is one of the Managing Attorneys for the Dallas RAICES office. She began working at RAICES in 2017 as an Americorps legal fellow representing unaccompanied minors. Celia earned her J.D. from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas and obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from the University of Texas Pan American now known as University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Email: [email protected]

Jennifer has worked with vulnerable populations providing direct legal services to the community for ten years. She graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 2012, where she was a student attorney in the Immigration Clinic. 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. Jennifer is a board member of the Multi Cultural Alliance and ASISTA, and is active in her local, legal community.

Email: [email protected]

Alexandra Minnaar is the Managing Attorney for the Austin office of RAICES. She began working at RAICES in September 2008 as a staff attorney representing detained asylum seekers and unaccompanied children. After that, she expanded her practice to include family-based immigration, naturalization, protections for survivors of crime and domestic abuse, and immigration options for refugees and Cuban parolees. She has worked in various roles at RAICES, including Program Director of the Children’s Program from 2011 – 2012 and Director of RAICES Community Immigration Services from 2018 – 2020. She has provided direct services and supervision of cases across Texas, particularly in the Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin areas. 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. Alexandra is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts and obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in English and Anthropology, with a minor in African Studies.

Email: [email protected]

John Balli is the Managing Attorney for the Laredo office of RAICES. Before that he served as an immigration attorney with the Office of the Webb County Public Defender where he provided immigration advice to staff attorneys working with noncitizen clients. Born and raised in Laredo, John graduated from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio. There John served as a student attorney at the immigration clinic. While in law school he completed an internship at RAICES, and at the U.S. Department of Justice-Executive Office of Immigration Review. After law school, John practiced as an associate attorney at a private law firm in Austin where he primarily represented clients in immigration proceedings.

Email: [email protected]

Carrie has called Corpus Christi home most of her life, having grown up in Corpus Christi and then returning in 2007. Before joining RAICES, Carrie practiced immigration law, both as a solo practitioner and as an associate attorney with an immigration focused law firm. From 2008 to 2016, Carrie was the Director of Immigration & Refugee Services with Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, Inc. where she supervised legal services and refugee resettlement work. In addition to her experience in immigration law, Carrie has served as a prosecuting attorney at the municipal and county level and a judicial law clerk for the Missouri Court of Appeals-Southern District of Missouri. Carrie is licensed to practice law in the states of Texas and Missouri, and in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. Carrie graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she was selected as a member of the Moot Court Honor Board, a fellow with the Ohio Innocence Project, and an associate member of the Immigration and Nationality Law Review. She received her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University, graduating with distinction.

Email: [email protected]

Pro Bono

Brian Schaeffer has practiced immigration law since 2007, with most of his time in the non-profit area with a focus on removal, asylum, and refugee issues. He is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He was previously the Assistant Director at Cabrini Center at Catholic Charities in Houston for one year and the Director of Legal Services at YMCA International Services for six years. He has successfully represented clients in multiple published decisions before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. Brian received his J.D. from the University of Houston and his B.A. from Mississippi College.

Email: [email protected]