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Programs:

Staff

DIRECTORS

Executive Director
Beth Werlin

Legal Director
Melissa Crow

Deputy Executive Director
Wilma Linares

Communications Director
Wendy Feliz

Fundraising & Development Director
Megan Hess

STAFF

Legal 
Melissa Crow, Director
Leslie Dellon, Business Litigation Fellow
Mary Kenney, Senior Staff Attorney
Kristin Macleod-Ball, Staff Attorney
Catalina Restrepo, Legal Assistant

Policy
Guillermo Cantor, Deputy Director of Research
Joshua Breisblatt, Policy Analyst
Walter Ewing, Senior Researcher
Tory Johnson, Policy Assistant
Michele Waslin, Senior Research and Policy Analyst

Cultural Exchange
Colleen Tomlinson, Cultural Exchange Operations Manager
Stephanie Rucker Andrews, Cultural Exchange Development Manager
Ashley Koerner, Cultural Exchange Associate
Lindsay VanBrocklin, Cultural Exchange Associate
Allyne Hooks, Cultural Exchange Assistant

Community Education 
Claire Tesh, Senior Manager
Sara Burnett, Education Associate

Fundraising and Development
Megan Hess, Director
Claudia Ornelas, Development Associate

Communications
Wendy Feliz, Director
Eric Gibble, Online Communications Associate 

BIOGRAPHIES:

Beth Werlin, Executive Director
Beth Werlin is the Executive Director of the American Immigration Council. Prior to assuming the position of Executive Director, Beth served as the policy director, deputy legal director and staff attorney. Beth has been involved in nearly every major legal issue the Council tackled over the last decade. She has worked to protect the rights of noncitizens and ensure that the immigration agencies are held accountable for violations of the law. She has represented plaintiffs and amicus curiae in immigration litigation in the federal courts and before the Board of Immigration Appeals and is the author of numerous practice advisories. Beth first joined the legal team in 2001 as a NAPIL fellow and before that was a judicial law clerk at the immigration court in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned her J.D. from Boston College Law School and her B.A. from Tufts University. 

Wilma Linares, Deputy Executive Director

Wilma Linares comes to the Council with more than fifteen years of experience in budgeting, financial analysis, financial reporting, project and accounting oversight in an international arena for commercial and non profit organizations, most recently at Casa de Maryland. She also has more than seven years of consulting experience for small and medium sized private companies in strategic and operational planning with an emphasis on financial and operational design, projections, implementation and monitoring. Ms. Linares has held finance and management positions at multiple non-profits overseas, with a focus on women's economic development. As the Council’s CFO, Ms. Linares supervises the entire financial and administrative operations of the organization that include accounting and audit oversight, contract, human resource, IT and site management.

Wendy Feliz, Communications Director
202-507-7524 or wfeliz@immcouncil.org

Wendy Feliz is the Communications Director at the American Immigration Council where she manages a highly-effective communications team working to drive a rational conversation about immigration in the United States. Her experience in public policy/advocacy communications spans her career in the communications field which has included positions with New America Media, the Open Society Institute, and WAMU 88.5 FM. Earlier in her career she provided direct service to clients through programs at The California Hispanic Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and the Young Adult Institute. Ms. Feliz received her M.A. in Public Communication from the American University in Washington D.C. and she holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from the New School University in New York. She is also an adjunct professor in communication at Johns Hopkins University.  

Sara Burnett, Education Associate

Sara Burnett is the education associate of the Community Education program at the American Immigration Council. She was a former public high school English teacher in Washington D.C. and Vermont. She has also worked as an editor in educational publishing and developed curriculum with a D.C.-based non-profit on global and social issues. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she taught a service-learning course with undergraduates and recently immigrated high school students. Additionally, she holds a MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont, and a BA in English and Economics from Boston College. 

Joshua Breisblatt, Policy Analyst
Joshua Breisblatt is a Policy Analyst at the American Immigration Council. Prior to joining the Council he worked at the National Immigration Forum for over four years where he was Manager of Advocacy and Policy. In that role, Josh was the Forum’s main point of contact with U.S. government agencies and the U.S. Congress. He also specialized in border issues, including enforcement, civil rights, oversight of Customs and Border Protection, and trade and commerce at U.S. ports of entry. Josh earned his J.D. from The George Washington University School Law and his B.S. from Arizona State University. Prior to attending law school, he worked for Former Congressman Harry Mitchell from Arizona.

Guillermo Cantor, Deputy Director of Research

Guillermo Cantor, Ph.D., is the Deputy Director of Research at the American Immigration Council. Guillermo leads the organization's research efforts and manages the research team. He also currently teaches sociology of migration and immigrant integration at Georgetown University. He has authored numerous publications on immigration policy and immigrant incorporation in the United States and Argentina. Prior to joining the Council, he held research and teaching positions at various organizations and academic institutions. Most recently, he served as an investigator on issues related to immigration at Argentina’s National Council for Scientific and Technical Research and as a professor at the National University of Rosario and the National University of Entre Ríos. Throughout his career, he has received multiple distinctions including a Fulbright Fellowship, the Urban Institute's Emerging Scholar Award, and the International Development Research Center's Research Award. Guillermo holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Melissa Crow, Legal Director

Melissa Crow is the Legal Director of the American Immigration Council. She oversees the Council’s impact litigation, legal advocacy and legal education work. She has practiced immigration law for more than twelve years, including litigation in the federal courts, immigration courts, and Board of Immigration Appeals. Prior to joining the Council, Melissa served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Policy at the Department of Homeland Security. She was previously a partner with Brown, Goldstein & Levy in Baltimore, Maryland, where she developed a thriving immigration practice and undertook litigation to protect immigrants' rights in the workplace. Before entering private practice, Ms. Crow served as Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy during the 2007 debates on the U.S. Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill. She also spent a year as the Gulf Coast Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. Ms. Crow has taught in the Safe Harbor Clinic at Brooklyn Law School and the International Human Rights Clinic at Washington College of Law. She holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Leslie Dellon, Business Litigation Fellow

Leslie K. Dellon is the Business Litigation Fellow at the American Immigration Council. She has more than 20 years of experience advising small to multinational businesses about immigration strategies. In addition to her extensive business immigration law experience, she previously handled general commercial and corporate matters, including civil litigation. Since August 2011, she has represented clients in her own firm, L. Dellon Immigration Law, LLC. She also has experience as a Trial Attorney in the Federal Programs Branch, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice. She is a past Chair of the AILA Washington DC Chapter and has served on AILA National and DC Chapter Committees. She has a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.

Walter Ewing, Senior Researcher

Walter Ewing, Ph.D., is Senior Researcher at the American Immigration Council. In addition to authoring numerous reports for the Council, he has published articles in the Journal on Migration and Human SecuritySociety, theGeorgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, and the Stanford Law and Policy Review. He also authored a chapter in Debates on U.S. Immigration, published by SAGE in 2012. Mr. Ewing received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School in 1997.

Eric Gibble, Online Communications Associate

Eric Gibble is the Online Communications Associate at the American Immigration Council. Eric has a B.A. in Communication from Cabrini College. Previously, he was a Lobby Associate at NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. At NETWORK, he covered immigration issues and developed social media initiatives for the 2012 Nuns on the Bus campaign. He has also worked with various faith-based organizations to expand their online presence. Eric now manages the Council's websites, social networks, and online communications strategy.

Megan Hess, Fundraising and Development Director

Megan Hess is the Fundraising and Development Director at the American Immigration Council. Megan was most recently the Director of Annual Giving at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Prior to that she served as the National Finance Director for Senator Blanche Lincoln for several years. She was previously the Campaign Coordinator at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and was the Fundraising Director at the New Democratic Network (NDN).

Tory Johnson, Policy Assistant

Tory Johnson is the Policy Assistant at the American Immigration Council. Prior to joining the Council, Tory worked as a coordinator at the American Health Lawyers Association and as a Young Fellow at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, focusing on immigration and criminal justice policy. Tory has a B.A. in Peace and Global Studies from Earlham College and wrote her thesis on the growth of private prisons in the immigrant detention industry. 

Mary Kenney, Senior Staff Attorney

Mary Kenney is the Senior Staff Attorney with the American Immigration Council.  She has represented amicus curiae or plaintiffs in numerous significant immigration cases, including De Osorio v. Mayorkas, 695 F.3d 1003 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc), cert. granted, 81 U.S.L.W. 3430 (U.S. June 24, 2013); Etape v. Chertoff, 497 F.3d 379 (4th Cir. 2007); Zheng v. Gonzales, 422 F.3d 98 (3d Cir. 2005); and Ngwanyia v. Ashcroft, 302 F. Supp. 2d 1076 (D. Minn. 2004). Prior to joining the Immigration Council, she was the Executive Director of the Texas Lawyers’ Committee, a statewide immigrant and refugee rights project. She also worked as a legal services attorney in West Virginia. She received her J.D. from Antioch School of Law.

Kristin Macleod-Ball, Staff Attorney

Kristin Macleod-Ball is a Staff Attorney with the American Immigration Council. While a law student, she served clients seeking relief in immigration court, applying for benefits with USCIS and challenging racial profiling by local police. Kristin helped to document problematic examples of state and local involvement in immigration enforcement as an intern with AILA. She has also worked with legal services organizations to advocate on behalf of tenants in foreclosed properties and residents of manufactured housing. Prior to law school, Kristin worked with WITNESS, an organization that assisted locally-based non-profits around the world to produce and distribute human rights advocacy videos. She is a graduate of Bard College and Yale Law School.

Claudia Ornelas, Development Associate

Claudia Ornelas is the Development Associate at the American Immigration Council. She holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of San Diego and a B.A. in International Relations and History from Boston University. Prior to joining the American Immigration Council, she worked at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) in communications, development and event-planning. Before CLINIC, she was a Math, Science, and English teacher in Saraburi, Thailand. She has also worked with other non-profits such as the Trans- Border Institute, Wildcoast/Costasalvaje, and the Council on International Education Exchange. 

Catalina Restrepo, Legal Assistant

Catalina Restrepo is the Legal Assistant at the American Immigration Council. As a student at Tufts University, Catalina studied abroad in Jordan where she participated in a language-intensive Arabic program. She also participated in a student-run sustainable development group on campus, focusing her research on Nicaragua. Between her junior and senior years Catalina served as an intern for KARAMAH in Rockville, MD. Catalina graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a B.A. in Arabic and International Relations.

Stephanie Rucker Andrews, Exchange Visitor Program Associate

Stephanie Rucker Andrews is an Exchange Visitor Program Associate at the American Immigration Council.  Previously, Stephanie taught Cross Cultural Communications at American University and served as the Assistant Director of International Recruitment and Student Services for visiting interns and exchange students. She holds an M.Sc. in Development Management from the London School of Economics & Political Science, and an M.Phil. in Education Research from the University of Cambridge. She has lived in France, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom. 

Claire Tesh, Senior Manager

Claire Tesh is a former public school teacher and served as a Teacher Advisory Board Member for the American Immigration Council before joining the staff full-time as the Senior Manager of the Community Education program. She holds bachelors degrees in Journalism and Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education and Post-Graduate Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction from George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Ms. Tesh has been the recipient of many grants and fellowships including the Master Teacher Program through the Fulbright Memorial Fund in Tokyo, Japan and the Washington Post Fellowship in Salamanca, Spain. Before entering the world of education, she worked in advertising and marketing.

Colleen Tomlinson, Cultural Exchange Operations Manager

Colleen serves as the Cultural Exchange Program Manager. Prior to joining the American Immigration Council, she worked at the University of Maryland, College Park for almost 10 years as an International Advisor with F1 and J1 students. Colleen managed the entire international undergraduate population with over 3,000 applications from start to finish. She facilitated the procedure for processing incoming documents for prospective international students. Colleen holds a B.A. in Government and Public Policy and a M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore. She has lived and studied in Jamaica and has travelled to China and Canada. 

Michele Waslin, Senior Research and Policy Analyst

Michele Waslin is a Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the American Immigration Council, where she had also worked from 2007-2012. Before returning to the Council, Michele worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts where she launched the Immigration and the States project focusing on the relationship between levels of government. She also previously served at the National Council of La Raza and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. For nearly twenty years, Michele has conducted policy-relevant research, translated it into effective outreach messages and materials, and served as a leading voice advocating for effective immigration reform. She has written many reports on a wide variety of immigration-related policies, and has authored multiple book chapters. She is an accomplished public speaker and appears regularly in English- and Spanish-language press. Michele holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and an MA from the University of Chicago.