Deborah Anker Headshot

Deborah Anker

Deborah Anker is a Clinical Professor of Law, Emerita, and the Founder of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. She has taught law students at Harvard for thirty years. Author of a leading treatise, Law of Asylum in the United States, Anker has co-drafted ground-breaking gender asylum guidelines and amicus curiae briefs. Professor Anker is one of the most widely known asylum scholars and practitioners in the United States; she is cited frequently by international and domestic courts and tribunals, including the United States Supreme Court. In 2011, she was chosen to be a fellow of the prestigious American Bar Foundation. Professor Anker is a pioneer in the development of clinical legal education in the immigration field, training students in direct representation of refugees and creating a foundation for clinics at law schools around the country.
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Sabi Ardalan

Sabi Ardalan is the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program’s Director, as well as a Clinical Professor of Law at HLS. Sabi supervises and trains law students working on applications for asylum and other humanitarian protections, as well as appellate litigation and policy advocacy. She has authored amicus briefs submitted to the Board of Immigration Appeals, as well as to the federal district courts and circuit courts of appeal on cutting edge issues in U.S. asylum law. She teaches courses on immigration and refugee law and advocacy and on trauma, refugees, and the law. Sabi previously clerked for the Honorable Michael A. Chagares of Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Raymond J. Dearie, Chief District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. She also worked as the Equal Justice America Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda and as a litigation associate at Dewey Ballantine LLP. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in History and International Studies from Yale College.

Eleni Bakst

Eleni Bakst is a Clinical Instructor in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. She supervises and trains students in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and in the Crimmigration Clinic on appellate and affirmative litigation, as well as direct representation matters. She also serves as the supervising attorney for the HLS Immigration Project (HIP), a student-practice organization focused on immigration-related community engagement efforts and advocacy. She was previously a Managing Attorney at the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition, where she managed the Maryland universal representation team and provided direct representation for detained immigrants at the immigration courts, Board of Immigration Appeals, and federal circuit courts. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Clinical Professor at Seton Hall Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic and an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Human Rights First. She holds a J.D. from Duke University School of Law and a B.A. in International Studies from American University.
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Liala Buoniconti

Liala Buoniconti is the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program’s Social Worker. Liala brings to the legal team an interdisciplinary voice from the fields of refugee resettlement and immigrant mental health. She gained much of her clinical expertise while working for over a decade as an outpatient mental health clinician at the MGH Chelsea Community Health Center, where she specialized in the treatment of prenatal and postpartum women dealing with mood disorders and trauma. At HIRC, Liala supervises the social work intern program, and regularly trains law students on the areas of trauma-sensitive interviewing, mental health, and secondary trauma. Liala is bilingual in Spanish and has participated in multiple research projects aimed at adapting evidence-based treatments for Spanish speaking clients. She is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Mind-Body Medicine, Problem-Solving Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and the Incredible Years Parenting Curriculum. Liala also volunteers for Physicians for Human Rights and the MGH Asylum Clinic.
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Jason Corral

Jason Corral is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. Jason represents DACAmented and undocumented individuals of the Harvard community. He received his J.D. from Northeastern Law School in 2004 and has been admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. Before working at HIRC Jason served as a member of the immigration team at Greater Boston Legal Services; served as the KIND (Kids In Need of Defense) fellow in Boston, and acted as the supervising attorney at Catholic Charities of Boston. Jason has received acknowledgments from the Fundacion Ritmo Guanaco for his work with immigrant children and The National Immigration Project for his work in the immigrant community of New England following the Michael Bianco Factory raids. In addition to helping immigrants understand the legal pathways to citizenship, Jason is experienced in helping immigrants who face hardships such as fear of persecution, minors who arrive without parents, LGBT issues, and victims of violence (for an appointment, please email ).
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Nancy Kelly

Nancy Kelly is the Assistant Director of HIRC at Greater Boston Legal Services and a Senior Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School. She previously worked as a Harvard Law School Human Rights Program fellow and also as an adjunct professor of immigration and asylum law at Northeastern University School of Law. At the Human Rights Program, Ms. Kelly initiated the nationally and internationally prominent Women Refugees Project, a centerpiece of the Clinic’s work. Among other honors, Ms. Kelly received the 2000 John G. Brooks Award of the Boston Bar Association for her work with refugee women and children, and for her teaching at the Clinic.

Tiffany Lieu

Tiffany Lieu is a Clinical instructor at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. She supervises and trains students in the Crimmigration Clinic on appellate and affirmative litigation as well as direct representation matters. Tiffany clerked for the Honorable Allyson K. Duncan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Keith P. Ellison on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She was previously a Stanford Public Interest Fellow and staff attorney at the National Immigration Litigation Alliance. She holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.A. in History from Duke University.

Mariam Liberles

Mariam Liberles is a Senior staff attorney at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. Before joining HIRC, Mariam worked for nine years at Catholic Charities of Boston as a supervising attorney (2014-2020) and a staff attorney (2011-2014). At Catholic Charities, Mariam represented clients in a wide range of immigration matters, including family-based and humanitarian cases. She also previously served as a volunteer attorney in the Immigration Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services and worked as an immigration attorney at the International Institute of Boston. Mariam received her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law. Mariam is originally from Yerevan, Armenia, and speaks Armenian, Russian, Spanish, and basic French.

Alma Martinez Ramirez

Alma Martinez Ramirez is the Paralegal at the Harvard Representation Initiative. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a double minor in Philosophy and Public Health from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. After graduation, she worked as a paralegal at an immigration law firm where she handled various immigration and crimmigration cases. She has volunteered with the Advocates of Human Rights located in Minneapolis, Minnesota doing translations, interpretations, and court monitoring. Aside from her interest in law, she enjoys quality-time with her family, watching movies, and trying out new sports.
Maira stands and smiles at the camera

Maira Peralta

Maira Peralta is the Legal assistant for the Harvard Representation Initiative. Maira’s background includes working as a legal assistant and interpreter for a private immigration law practice in Boston. She especially enjoys working in higher education and has held staff assistant and program coordinator positions at MIT, Harvard, and Tufts. She has served as a Spanish-English translator on a variety of projects including documentary films about social issues in her home country, Colombia, where she earned a degree in economics. Maira loves helping people and teaches Spanish to senior citizens. In her free time, Maira enjoys travel, whether it’s overseas or just weekend excursions around New England.

Michelle Schellinger Gutierrez

Michelle is a Social Worker at the Harvard Representation Initiative (HRI). In this role, they actively contribute to supporting individuals' holistic needs, providing tangible physical assistance, facilitating connections to community resources, and addressing emotional well-being. Michelle's responsibilities extend to collaboration within the Harvard community, working across departments to co-create strategies for supporting students grappling with immigration-related challenges. Bringing a background as an outpatient bilingual trauma-specialized therapist in the greater Boston area, Michelle has experience working with immigrant families, primarily from Central America. In this role, they provided individual, group, and family therapy, and played a key role in initiating a collaboration with various organizations to support recently arrived immigrant high school students in meeting their physical and emotional needs. Michelle's approach to their work is deeply rooted in narrative and Liberation Health methodologies. They are committed to addressing the impact of systemic barriers on individuals' well-being through an anti-oppressive and liberative lens.
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Phil Torrey

Phil Torrey the Assistant Clinical Professor of Law of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. At HLS, he supervises the Crimmigration Clinic and he teaches a course concerning the intersection of criminal law and immigration law. The Crimmigration Clinic provides advice to criminal defense attorneys around the country concerning the immigration consequences of criminal charges, as well as state and federal appellate litigation, and policy advocacy. His research focuses on the crime-based grounds of removal and immigration detention, including the private prison industry, and the immigration system’s mandatory detention regime. Prior to joining HLS, Torrey worked as an attorney in the Immigration Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services and as a litigation associate at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He received his B.A. from Colgate University and his J.D. with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Shayenne Washington

Shayenne Washington is the Administrative Assistant at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Business Management concentration from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has previous experience working as an Administrative Assistant at the University of Massachusetts Lowell as well as being a Youth Mentor for Boston Public Schools. Shayenne aspires of one day opening her own community center with a sports program for kids from impoverished and perilous backgrounds. She has volunteered with the Red Cross Food Pantry, the Prison Book Program, and Cradles to Crayons in an effort to assist individuals and families from local communities. Along with her enthusiasm in her work, she also enjoys roller skating, aviation school, and a love for animals.
Anna stands with arms crossed. They are smiling slightly.

Anna Weick

Anna J. Weick is the program administrator for the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. Previously, Anna supported the movement to end mass incarceration as a program coordinator for the HLS Criminal Justice Policy Program. Anna holds a BA in American Studies from Wellesley College and an MA in Social Innovation and Sustainability from Goddard College. Their research, writing, and organizing spans topics such as intergenerational LGBTQ+ community-building, zine-making and alternative media, and the history of radical social movements.
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John Willshire Carrera

John Willshire Carrera is the Assistant Director of HIRC at Greater Boston Legal Services, as well as a Senior Clinical Instructor at HLS. He is a nationally known researcher and practitioner with numerous high-profile immigration and asylum litigation victories to his credit. In 1987, he directed the Ford Foundation national research and organizing project on the implementation of Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court decision that established the right of all immigrant students to a public education in the United States. He has received the Dow-Gardner-Landrum Award for outstanding commitment to legal services to the poor and the annual legal services attorney award from the Massachusetts Bar Association, among others.
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Cindy Zapata

Cindy Zapata is a Senior Clinical Instructor in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program and a Lecturer on Law. She supervises and trains students in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. She coordinates various community outreach efforts, including Know-Your-Rights presentations and Advice and Counsel sessions in the greater Boston area. As the supervising attorney for the HLS Immigration Project, a student-practice organization at HLS focused on immigration-related efforts and advocacy, she supervises students on various projects including removal defense, community outreach, and immigration applications. She was previously a litigation associate at Hughes Hubbard and Reed LLP. She holds a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law, and a B.A. in Political Science from Queens College – CUNY.