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 Santa Fe Dreamers 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.
Estrella Cedillo graduated from Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Originally from California, she moved to Texas to join the El Paso Immigration Collaborative (EPIC) as an Immigration Justice Campaign Fellow as a Pro Bono Coordinator and Staff Attorney for the Santa Fe Dreamers Project. Estrella has a long-standing commitment to providing pro bono legal services, receiving the Pro Bono Award of Excellence in 2018. Her passion for practicing immigration law comes from growing up in a primarily immigrant community. Prior to joining the SFDP, Estrella practiced family law in New Mexico. During her free time, Estrella enjoys watching horror movies, trying out new restaurants and exploring hiking trails.
Héctor Ruiz is an attorney in the Santa Fe Dreamers Project’s office in El Paso. They are a native El Pasoan and a graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Héctor is driven by his passion for serving his community and making competent legal representation accessible for all refugees. Héctor focuses on removal defense for asylum-seekers detained at the El Paso Service Processing Center, Otero County Processing Center, and West Texas Detention Facility. Prior to joining Santa Fe Dreamers Project, Héctor was a Justice Fellow with the Immigrant Justice Corps at Immigration Equality in New York City. Héctor is licensed to practice law in New York State. In their spare time, Héctor enjoys hiking, road trips, cooking regional Mexican food, and spending time in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
Lynne Canning recently joined Santa Fe Dreamers Project to launch our SAFE PLACE Pro Se Asylum Clinic. Lynne has provided pro-bono legal representation to detained transgender asylum seekers from Central America and Mexico, and volunteered with families incarcerated at the South Texas Family Detention Center. With Canning Law & Justice, Lynne defended homeowners against illegal foreclosures and predatory lending practices and promoted fair lending laws. Lynne also worked with the New Mexico Supreme Court and Administrative Office of the Courts to pass Bail Reform. Lynne received her JD from UNM School of Law. Although she loves her life in Santa Fe with her lovely wife and two adorable grandpuppies, Lynne feels most alive when she's on the beach and in the water, bodysurfing, boogie-boarding or snorkeling with the sea turtles.
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.
Wesley Brockway (J.D.) is a graduate of the University of Colorado Law School and a practicing immigration attorney. He focuses on removal defense for individuals detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center. Additionally, he assists with Legal Orientation Programs for detained individuals, pro bono coordination of local attorneys for pro bono asylum representation, and the recruitment and training of bond and parole sponsors. In the past year, Wes has represented over two dozen transgender asylum-seekers from Central America or Mexico before the Denver Immigration Court and Board of Immigration Appeals. He is motivated by his belief that all people should be empowered with legal information and all individuals have a right to meaningful, quality representation. He lives in Santa Fe with his wife and 11 month old daughter, where they enjoy the arts, the outdoors, and the never-ending quest to find the best green and red chile in town.
DOJ ACCREDITED REPS
Hali Calzadillas Andujo is originally from Chihuahua Mexico but grew up in Santa Fe. She graduated summa cum laude from Highlands University in 2017 with a B.A. of Arts. Before coming to our office, she was a DOJ Accredited Representative for an organization in Albuquerque who also worked with immigrant families. Her work entails working with victims of crime, family-based petitions, citizenship and others. Hali is interested in law school and hopes to attend in the future. She is very connected to the immigrant community because as an immigrant she believes in advocating for immigrant rights, social justice and the community’s well-being. In her free time she enjoys a book or two and traveling in the U.S.
Kerry Sherck is a Department of Justice Accredited Representative who first joined the Dreamers Project as a volunteer in 2017. She currently works on the organization's citizenship services, as well as visas for victims of crimes. 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 speaks French and Spanish.
Maria Santos, Director of Operations 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.
Michael Santillanes, Director of Development 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.
Sylvia Johnson, Creative Director supports SFDP’s mission by helping to humanize and communicate the stories of the immigrants we serve, and building collaborations with community partners. An immigrant herself, Sylvia was born in Bolivia, and raised in various countries in South and Central America before coming to the US at the age of 12. She has helped develop Santa Fe Dreamers Project since its inception as an organization, and officially joined the staff in March 2017. Sylvia loves to travel, explore the outdoors, and create.
Isabel Ribe, MA LMHC CCTP is a bilingual counselor and art therapist providing trauma therapy and case management for SFDPs clients. Before joining the Dreamers Project team, she did her clinical training at Solace Crisis Treatment Center, Esperanza Shelter and with Gerard’s House’s Nuestra Jornada Program. She also served for many years as a case manager and family advocate with the Santa Fe Public School’s Adelante Program. She is passionate about providing culturally competent, Spanish language mental health services to the immigrant community. Isabel is also a poet and artist and member of Santa Fe’s Alas de Agua Art Collective, and enjoys life on her farmstead in Pojoaque with her husband and four legged family.
LEGAL ASSISTANTS + FELLOWS
Else Drooff joins Santa Fe Dreamers Project as a Lombard Fellow through the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. Else graduated from Dartmouth with a B.A. in Geography and Public Policy. While in college, Else interned with Voice for America and several social impact start-ups. Passionate about immigration reform, Else relocated from San Francisco to Santa Fe to assist with communications and development. While Else has grown to appreciate New Mexican spice, she still prefers Old Bay Seasoning from her home state of Maryland.
Grace Laria is a Jesuit Volunteer from Baltimore, Maryland serving as a legal assistant at Santa Fe Dreamers Project. Grace splits her time between the DACA clinic and family-based petitions in Albuquerque and defense work in Santa Fe and at Cibola County Detention Center. Grace graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service having majored in Culture and Politics and minored in Spanish and Latin American Studies. While at Georgetown, Grace was involved in Campus Ministry and interned at a variety of nonprofits that focused on migrant justice, U.S. foreign policy towards Mexico and Central America, and refugee resettlement. Grace is a committed foodie who’s excited to explore the New Mexico food and brewery scene as well as convince everyone at home she’s a capable camper and hiker.
hazel batrezchavez is partnering with Santa Fe Dreamers Project as part of her StoryMaps Fellowship at the Santa Fe Arts Institute to create a project that centers the voices of humans that have been forced to migrate from their homelands. batrezchavez received a BA in Anthropology and Studio Art from Grinnell College in 2017. Since then she has been a part of various group exhibitions and pop-up shows in the United States and most recently in México City and Michoacán, México. batrezchavez is building on her research on migration, immigration, and the border while at Santa Fe Dreamers Project, and is also preparing for performances in El Paso and Brownsville, Texas - the ports of entry where her own family once migrated through.. She currently resides in Albuquerque and teaches Introduction to Art Practices and Shop Foundations courses while working towards her MFA in Sculpture at the University of New Mexico.
Kevin Sullivan came aboard Santa Fe Dreamers Project in 2017 as a volunteer. In 2019 he became a legal assistant. He works on DACA cases both in the office and, directly with Dreamer clients, at the DACA clinics. With B.A. and M.A. degrees in English, he has taught English, linguistics, and American culture in Japan and has given presentations at international conferences. Kevin is also a published writer on language and popular culture, and his former blog is an archived source for the Oxford English Dictionary. He enjoys long walks outdoors and singing Spanish songs, and both simultaneously when no one else is around.
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.
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.
Sarah Sanchez joins Santa Fe Dreamers Project as a legal assistant. While attending the University of New Mexico as an undergraduate she had two unique opportunities to study in Latin America through courses that focused on human rights and sustainable development. Her coursework focused on the historical context of U.S. interests and actions in Nicaragua in the 20th century and their continued effects to the present day. She also got to see how some of that policy extended stateside through internship and fellowship opportunities along the Mexico/US border. Prior to joining Santa Fe Dreamers Project, Sarah was a caseworker in the removal defense unit at an immigration legal non-profit organization in El Paso, TX. She has also done volunteer work in a refugee camp in Greece during her time living and working in Spain.
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!