Santa Fe Dreamers Project takes its name from our country's Dreamers: the undocumented immigrant youth who, through tireless campaigning and bottomless courage, are shaping immigration policy in the US. From our attorneys, to our volunteers, to the organizations we partner with, to our clients themselves, we believe in the potential of immigrants to make our community a better place both culturally and economically and are committed to helping them access the tools to do so.
Allegra Love is an attorney and director of the project. She taught public school for 4 years before going to law school and founding the organization. She is passionate about ending the detention of immigrants, defending refugees and asylum seekers, and fighting ICE’s operation in the US. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). She has a BA from Dartmouth College, a JD from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and is a licensed teacher and lawyer in the state of New Mexico. She loves country music and riding around in trucks.
Emma O'Sullivan is an attorney who grew up outside of Los Lunas, New Mexico, and has spent ten years working in rural central NM. Emma's passion for serving immigrants started in law school when she spent spring break working in the family detention center in Karnes, TX, assisting Central American refugee women and children in the asylum process. As a student she worked with the NM Immigrant Law Center, the NM Center on Law and Poverty, and NM Legal Aid. Emma has a BA in English and Languages from UNM and graduated magna cum laude and with clinical honors from UNM School of law in May of 2016. She lives in Albuquerque with her husband Kevin and her two-year- old son, Michael.
Tess Wilkes joined the Dreamers Project staff in May 2017. She was born and raised in Santa Fe, and was inspired to represent immigrants after serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer through the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants after college. Since graduating from UNM Law School in 2012, Tess has held various public interest legal roles, serving clients from farm workers to survivors of domestic violence throughout the state. She is a board member of the New Mexico Community Foundation, and holds a particular interest in upholding the labor and employment rights of immigrants in our community.
Wes Brockway graduated from the University of Colorado Law School in May 2017. He began his professional career as a bilingual elementary school teacher in Denver Public Schools. After years of witnessing the often insurmountable obstacles that the immigration system creates, Wes set out to become a lawyer. His experience with the CU Immigration and Criminal Defense Clinic, the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, and his work with the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network, solidified his belief that all people should be empowered with legal information and have a right to meaningful representation. He now lives in Santa Fe with his wife, Britta, where they enjoy the arts, outdoors, and the never-ending quest to find the best green and red chile in NM.
Kerry Sherck is an Accredited BIA Representative who first joined the Dreamers Project as a volunteer in 2017. As a legal assistant she began working on visas for victims of crimes, and is currently working on expanding the organization’s naturalization services. Working as a professional photographer over the past 18 years, she has covered a wide variety of human interest stories, and still uses her photography skills to document inspiring stories from some of the Dreamers Project clients. Kerry graduated with a BA in Communications and French from the University of Delaware, and studied photography on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship in Toulouse, France. She spent part of her childhood in Mexico, loves languages, and is fluent in French and Spanish.
Maria Santos is a Dreamer who grew up in Santa Fe. She graduated from Capital High School in 2014, and is currently pursuing an Associate's degree in Early Education. Maria has been volunteering for Santa Fe Dreamers Project since 2016, and officially joined our staff as Office Manager in January 2018. She is interested in someday becoming an Immigration Lawyer. She wants to give back to the community and knows that becoming an Immigration Lawyer will enable her to do so. Maria lives in Santa Fe with her husband Roberto and her two year old daughter who she loves spending time with.
Sylvia Johnson has helped develop Santa Fe Dreamers Project since its inception as an organization, and officially joined the staff in March 2017. She is a filmmaker/photographer who works with organizations to tell compelling visual stories and develop their impact strategies. Sylvia has worked for the National Park Service, the Inter-American Culture and Development Foundation, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. She is a Fulbright Scholar and has an MFA in Film & Media Arts from American University, and a BA in International Studies from Middlebury. Born in Bolivia, Sylvia lived throughout Latin America before coming to the US at the age of 12.
Michael Santillanes joined the Santa Fe Dreamers Project in 2016. Previously, Michael served as Education Director and Associate Director of YouthWorks, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping youth with job training, alternative education and other support services. In honor of his efforts at YouthWorks, Michael was invited to attend the inaugural meeting of the “White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics” in 2013, and in 2015 YouthWorks received White House recognition as a “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education.” Michael has a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM. Michael enjoys painting, spending time in the woods, and working on his 1976 Chevy Monte Carlo.
Sarah Pezold is a Jesuit Volunteer serving as a legal assistant at Santa Fe Dreamers Project. She is assisting with the organization's DACA clinics and U visa program for victims of violent crime or domestic violence. Sarah graduated from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO, with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Political Science, and Spanish in May of 2018. While in college, Sarah interned at the McCrummen Immigration Law Group and assisted with the firm's contract to represent unaccompanied children, which strengthened her desire to work alongside and learn from immigrant communities. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading (particularly memoirs), searching for the best cup of coffee in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and exploring New Mexico's open spaces.
Nick Valenzuela is a legal fellow from Denton, Texas. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 2018. He developed a passion for immigrant communities by working in contract labor from a young age and building strong friendships with his migrant coworkers. He hopes to attend law school directly following his fellowship with the Dreamers Project and return to the immigration law field. He is a classically trained drummer and loves nothing more than jamming with friends and making new ones in the process.
Tess Kursel is originally from Missouri, but finds herself in New Mexico because of the mountains and a particularly delicious sandwich. She is studying philosophy at UNM and preparing to apply to law school in the spring to study immigration law. She is personally connected to these issues because of how many family members and friends in the area she sees affected by immigration laws and policies. She is a painter, a writer, a crafter, and just started her own 'zine. She joins Santa Fe Dreamers Project as a legal assistant.
Santa Fe Dreamers Project's work is also supported by a huge cohort of community volunteers without whom this work wouldn't be possible and we are incredibly grateful to all of them!