Meet our advisors
The Advisory Committee is CILA’s connection to the needs of attorneys and agencies serving unaccompanied children. The committee is comprised of 13 attorneys and advocates from organizations working on children’s immigration cases. The committee meets quarterly to inform and advise CILA on our work and help us meet our mission to ensure more children are represented and to provide the resources and expertise needed to support those who work to represent them.
Terry Cody is the Legal Director of Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston, Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance. The Cabrini Center is a non-profit immigration legal service provider for immigrants with low income requiring assistance including victims of crime, trafficking or domestic violence; family immigration, citizenship, DACA, TPS, and unaccompanied minor representation. Cabrini also hosts community outreach “Charlas” to provide immigration information, education, individual evaluation and referral for services needed. We also have a robust pro bono representation program.
Terry has practiced immigration law since 1999 and is Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law. Prior to joining the Cabrini Center in 2019, Terry practiced business immigration with Dunbar Harder, PLLC and represented clients in the areas of family immigration and deportation practice with the Law Office of Terry Weir.
She currently serves as a board member for the SIRE Therapeutic Horsemanship Program. Terry has previously served as Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers (AILA) Texas Chapter for Texas New Mexico and Oklahoma and as a board member for the U.S. Mexico Bar Association.
Carolina Rodriguez-Neufeld, Acting Managing Attorney of KIND’s Houston Office, was born in Lima, Peru and raised in McAllen, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Art degree in Political Science from Baylor University and her law degree from Creighton University School of Law. After graduation, she began her career in San Francisco, California representing adult clients in front of the San Francisco Immigration Court and USCIS office. She focused on removal defense representing clients in family petitions, U visas, asylum and withholding of removal, cancellation of removal, bond hearings, and other forms of immigration relief. In 2014, Carolina moved back to Texas to represent unaccompanied children in removal proceedings. Prior to joining KIND, she represented both detained and released unaccompanied children as a Staff Attorney at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Carolina is licensed to practice law in Texas and Iowa and is fluent in Spanish.
Nicole Jones is the Senior Director for the YMCA International Services Immigration Legal Services Department (ILS). Before being named Senior Director in the fall of 2020, Mrs. Jones worked as a Supervising Attorney for the YMCA’s Legal Orientation and National Qualified Representative Programs. In this role, she strengthened the program’s focus on pro se assistance aiding approximately 1,200 detainees per year prepare to defend complex relief applications in removal proceedings.
Before joining the YMCA, Mrs. Jones practiced Immigration Law with a focus on removal defense and was a Public Defender in Pennsylvania. Mrs. Jones is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoys vacationing with her husband and their two children, DIY projects, arts and crafts, and is an avid watcher of historical documentaries.
The YMCA Immigration Department has provided free or low-cost immigration legal services for over 30 years. Our staff delivers client-centered programs to refugees, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations to advance their economic independence, social integration, and civic participation. The legal team includes experienced immigration attorneys, Department of Justice (DOJ) accredited representatives, and immigration case managers. Our services range from basic consultations to complex appeals in asylum, permanent residency, family petitions, naturalization, relief for victims of human trafficking and crimes, and removal/deportation relief.
Jacob Wedemeyer is an attorney at Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services (DMRS) in El Paso, where he works in the Unaccompanied Minors Program representing unaccompanied children. He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2007 and then worked as an Equal Justice Works fellow for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid representing US and H-2A farmworkers in Eagle Pass.
Rebecca Rosenberg is a Staff Attorney at Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) in Austin, TX. Ms. Rosenberg works with unaccompanied minors who are in removal proceedings or who are applying for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status. A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Ms. Rosenberg was previously a court- appointed family law attorney for children and parents involved in child abuse and neglect proceedings. Her background also includes about two years working for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid in their Austin and Edinburg, TX offices. Prior to law school, she was an AmeriCorps volunteer at La Puente Home, a homelessness organization in rural southern Colorado. There Ms. Rosenberg was a case manager serving families as they transitioned out of homelessness.
Elissa Steglich is Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. In her 20 years advocating for immigrant rights, she has provided direct representation to asylum seekers, immigrant children, and immigrant survivors of violence and human trafficking. Professor Steglich regularly presents at scholarly conferences, public events, and professional trainings.
Professor Steglich previously served as Legal Services Director at the American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program in Newark, New Jersey. She worked with the National Immigrant Justice Center and conducted extensive field research on trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean for the International Human Rights Law Initiative of DePaul College of Law. She serves on the advisory committee of the ABA Children’s Immigration Law Academy and on the Amicus Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She received a BA in English from Haverford College and was awarded a JD with Honors from the University of Texas School of Law.
Aimee Maldonado is a Public Interest Attorney with the Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics at South Texas College of Law Houston where she teaches and supervises students in the Immigration Clinic. She graduated from South Texas College of Law Houston in 2004 and obtained her B.B.A. from Baylor University where she majored in International Business and Marketing in 2001. Before returning to work at her Alma Matter, she was the Supervising Attorney of the Unaccompanied Minors Program at the Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Previously, Ms. Maldonado had her own practice for five years, which focused on removal proceedings, and family-based immigration, as well as family law. As part of her family law practice, the family court regularly appointed her to serve as amicus attorney and attorney ad litem for children in custody and child protective services cases. Prior to having her own practice, Ms. Maldonado worked in immigration firms in Houston and Dallas. Ms. Maldonado is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the local community where she presents at Continuing Legal Education courses and community outreach events.
Elizabeth (Chiqui) is the Executive Director of Galveston-Houston Immigrant Representation Project (GHIRP), founded in 2020. Chiqui has devoted her professional career to providing high quality legal services to immigrants at non-profit organizations. Prior to starting GHIRP, she was the Director of Immigration Legal Services at the YMCA International Services (2017-2020). Chiqui was the Assistant Director of the Cabrini Center (Catholic Charities) in Houston from 2016-2017. Before moving back to Texas, Chiqui was a Supervising Attorney at Catholic Charities Legal Services of Miami (CCLS) where she represented minors and adults before the Immigration Court, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) (2011-2016). Previously, Chiqui was a staff attorney at South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) in Harlingen, Texas (2008-2010) and a pro bono coordinator at Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) in New York City (2010-2011). Chiqui received her J.D. from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas (2008) and her B.A. from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina (2003).
Beatriz Jones (Sr. PL)
Beatriz Jones is a Supervising Paralegal at ProBAR. She has worked with unaccompanied children for eight years. Prior to working with ProBAR she was the Vice President of PFLAG Harlingen where she advocated for LGBTQ rights.