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Staff

  • John Keller, Esq.

    Executive Director

    John Keller graduated Cum Laude, from Hamline School of Law. He worked for the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM) as a staff attorney from 1998 through 2004, specializing in naturalization, deportation defense and family reunification. In 2005, he became Executive Director and has overseen the growth of ILCM into the state’s largest provider of immigration legal, education and policy services. He helped create a state governmental task force on immigration and several strong and diverse coalitions for immigration reform and improved public policies. In 2007, his leadership in responding to the immigration raids in Worthington, MN led to individual and organizational recognition. Mr. Keller’s leadership has been honored by the MN Hispanic Bar Association, immigrants’ rights organizations, and the Mexican Consulate, and he has twice has been named as an ‘Attorney of the Year’ by Minnesota Lawyer newspaper.

  • Margaret Martin, Esq.

    Legal Program Director

    Margaret Martin joined ILCM in 2017. Previously, she was Director of the Unaccompanied Minors Department at Catholic Charities of New York City, where she oversaw the representation of detained and released children in deportation proceedings. Before that she was a clinical law professor for five years, in the Immigration & International Human Rights Clinic at Seton Hall University, and in the Asylum & Human Rights Clinic at the University of Connecticut. Other experience includes a year with the American Bar Association in Uzbekistan and a clerkship with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Boston University and the Columbia University School of Law.

  • Melissa Pfeiffer

    Associate Director

    Melissa Pfeiffer has worked with nonprofits for over 15 years in the areas of auditing, finance, development and human resources. She has served a wide variety of organizations including the American Bar Association and the Fund for Justice and Education in Chicago; labor unions, farm workers' clinics, and Women, Infant and Children's Clinics in the Pacific Northwest; and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Indiana University. In 2016 Ms. Pfeiffer received the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bernard P. Becker Advocate Award for her outstanding service in the legal aid field.

  • Anne Applebaum, Esq.

    Pro Bono Director

    Anne Applebaum graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2009. During law school she served as a student attorney at the Neighborhood Law Project, an ESL tutor at the Literacy Network, and a Domestic Violence Crisis Line Advocate at DAIS. Anne began her legal career at Dorsey & Whitney LLP in the Trial Department where she was able to participate in several pro bono immigration cases, and joined ILCM in 2010. 

  • Lenore Millibergity, Esq.

    Senior Staff Attorney

    Lenore Millibergity graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in 1986. In June 1987, she began working for Oficina Legal, which later became the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, first as a staff attorney and then as supervising attorney. She handles all areas of immigration law, but specializes in family petitions, citizenship, asylum, deportation defense, and aid for battered immigrant women. In 2005 she received Centro Legal's Advocate for Justice Award for her service to the Latino community. Ms. Millibergity also received the Minnesota State Bar Association’s 2013 Bernard P. Becker Legal Services Staff Award.

  • Salma Ahmed

    Legal Assistant

    Salma Ahmed graduated from Metropolitan State University with a BS in Accounting in 2010. She is currently planning to change her career to law, and to pursue a Masters degree in Immigration Law in 2018 at the University of St. Thomas. Salma began at ILCM in 2017. She mainly works with Somali refugees to adjust their refugee status or naturalize. She speaks Somali and English fluently, and is currently enrolled in a Spanish class at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

  • Maylary Apolo

    Legal Assistant

    Maylary Apolo first started volunteering at Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota as an interpreter. Later, she became a citizenship client of the organization. She joined ILCM as a full-time legal assistant in ILCM’s Worthington office in September 2015. Her educational background has focused on teaching and education, and she received her teacher’s certificate from Pawe Baw Lu Training School in Burma. Ms. Apolo has worked as a professional interpreter in medical & educational settings, and led a youth program at Nobles County Integration Collaborative before joining ILCM. Ms. Apolo is fluent in English, Burmese, and Karen and is excited to work with refugee clients in Southwestern Minnesota.

  • Abby Boyer

    Pro Bono Coordinator

    Abby Boyer joined ILCM on the Pro Bono team in 2017. She graduated from St. Olaf College in May of 2017 with a degree in Spanish and Political Science. She previously worked in refugee resettlement in the Twin Cities as well as other nonprofits to support schools in low-income communities. She is excited for her year at ILCM through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps.

  • Martha Castañon

    Legal Assistant

    Martha Castañon works in ILCM’s new satellite office in Moorhead, Minnesota. Martha was born and raised in rural Moorhead and began school only knowing three words of English, “hi, bye, and ok”. She and her family worked in the sugar beet fields of Minnesota, picked cucumbers in Wisconsin, and worked as farmworkers in the onion and spinach fields of Texas. Martha brings a great deal of experience from working with the Farmworker Unit of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) for 35 years. She worked as a secretary for SMRLS for 17 years, and was eventually trained and hired as a paralegal. After witnessing how many doors were opened for her migrant farmer clients, she quickly developed a passion for immigration law. Martha currently serves on the Board of Directors of Community Health Services, Inc. in Moorhead, volunteers with the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and is a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court Committee of Equality and Justice.  In the fall of 2016, Martha received Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota's Partner in Justice Award for her skill, dedication, and impact as an advocate.

  • Julia Decker

    Staff Attorney

    Julia Decker joined ILCM as a staff attorney in 2017. Prior to joining ILCM, she served two years as a teaching fellow at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Binger Center for New Americans, where she supervised students in the Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic and the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. Before that, she was a Robina Public Interest Fellow at ILCM. Julia graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2014.

  • Griselda Gurrola

    Receptionist

  • Susan Jorgensen Flores, Esq.

    Staff Attorney

    Susan Jorgensen Flores has worked with ILCM since 2006. She currently leads the Public Defender Project. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2001. From 2001-2006 she was employed at Centro Legal, where her final position was Immigration Unit Supervising Attorney. While in law school she was a law clerk at ILCM, Co-Student Director of the University of Minnesota Immigrant Law Clinic, and held a teaching specialist position in the Spanish department at the U of MN. From 2006-2013, she served as an Adjunct Professor at the Hamline University School of Law Immigration Clinic.

  • Sara Karki, Esq.

    Staff Attorney

    Sara Karki graduated from Hamline University School of Law, receiving the CALI Excellence for the Future awards in Immigration and Business Immigration.  Ms. Karki graduated from St. Cloud State University magna cum laude with majors in Spanish and Criminal Justice Studies. Ms. Karki has volunteered with several organizations including Amnesty International, The Advocates for Human Rights and Volunteer Lawyers Network’s Spanish Legal Services. She has volunteered with ILCM in the past, doing intake and serving as a Public Interest Practicum student. Currently, Sara works with ILCM’s Rural Immigration Project and Naturalization initiatives in the full-time satellite office in Worthington, Minnesota.

  • Kathy Klos, Esq.

    Staff Attorney

    Kathy Klos graduated from St. Norbert College with a degree in Sociology and Spanish. In 2007 she graduated cum laude at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Kathy was awarded the John R. Roach Fellowship for pursuit of a career in public interest and received the UST Living the Mission Award. Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked as an immigration counselor for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Kathy began her legal career as a staff attorney at Centro Legal, Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota. She began working with ILCM in May 2009 as a project attorney and then moved to Worthington, Minnesota in December 2009 to open and staff the ILCM satellite office there. In August 2013, Kathy rejoined the ranks in the St. Paul office, providing legal representation, outreach, and supervision of the Worthington office.

  • Gail Martinson

    Accredited USCIS Representative

    Gail Martinson joined ILCM in 2012 after graduating from Inver Hills Community College in the Post-Graduate Paralegal Program. Gail graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor’s of Social Work and has practiced immigrant and refugee social work with Neighborhood House, Highland Family Center, West Seventh Community Center, and the Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association in Rochester. At ILCM, Gail provides representation to Dreamers in applying for consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

  • Kerry McGuire, Esq.

    Equal Justice Works Fellow

    Kerry McGuire graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2016. While in law school, she served as a student director in the Detainee Rights Clinic which provided removal defense for detained immigrants. Kerry graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 and worked in social services in an immigrant neighborhood of Chicago before attending law school. She is the recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship sponsored by 3M and Fish & Richardson. The fellowship supports her work at ILCM and allows her to do outreach in partnership with medical clinics outside of the Twin Cities.

  • Isbely McKeen

    BIA Accredited Representative/Legal Assistant

    Isbely McKeen graduated from the University of Zulia, Venezuela in 1994 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law. From 1991-1994, Ms. McKeen worked as a clerk at the First Judicial Municipal Court of the State of Zulia. She first became involved with ILCM as an intern in 2011 and was brought on full-time to assist with Deferred Action after completing the paralegal program at Inver Hills Community College in 2012. Currently, Ms. McKeen represents clients with U-visa, VAWA, and Removal of Conditions applications.

  • Robyn Meyer-Thompson, Esq.

    Staff Attorney

    Robyn Meyer-Thompson graduated summa cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in 2014 and received the Student of Merit Award for her service with clients through the Civil Advocacy and Immigration Law Clinics at William Mitchell. She earned her undergraduate degree in 2009 from the College of St. Benedict with majors in Spanish and Political Science. From 2009-2011, Robyn taught eighth grade U.S. history through the Teach for America program in Roma, Texas. During law school, Robyn worked at ILCM and Southern MN Regional Services on U visa, VAWA, and asylum applications. Prior to joining the ILCM team, Robyn served as the Immigrant Health Law Specialist at Health Access MN, focusing on noncitizen eligibility for health insurance in Minnesota. At ILCM, Robyn represents detained clients in removal proceedings and clients submitting affirmative applications for relief.

  • Henry Pan

    Public Allies AMERICORPS Member

  • Sandra Portilla

    Receptionist and Volunteer Coordinator

    Sandra Portilla is a liberal arts student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, majoring in history. Sandra is fluent in Spanish and English, and has four years of previous customer service experience. She is enthusiastic about her role as receptionist because of the history she has with ILCM— Sandra and her family were assisted by ILCM attorneys in obtaining their work permits and residency. Having had this important experience, she is proud to be able to provide the same life-changing services to other individuals and families. 

  • Jess Riemer, Esq.

    Staff Attorney

    Jess Riemer graduated from Hamline University School of Law in 2009. During law school she clerked at Centro Legal and the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. After law school she worked at the City of Minneapolis in the Department of Civil Rights investigating complaints of discrimination, at the City of St Paul as an Affirmative Action Compliance Officer, and at a nonprofit advocating for victims of intimate partner and sexual violence in criminal courts. Her undergraduate degree was from the University of Minnesota in Global Studies with a minor in History. She has studied and lived in Spain, Panama, Cuba, and Costa Rica.

  • Laueh Roland

    Legal Assistant

    Laueh Roland joined ILCM in 2011 and works with our refugee project. Laueh works with ILCM's affiliate office, the Neighborhood House, and is fluent in both English and Karen.

  • Stephanie Rosario Alvarez

    Administrative Assistant

    Stephanie Rosario Alvarez earned a degree in Business Administration and is fluent in Spanish and English language. She has over twelve years of customer service experience in both the medical and legal fields and has worked at ILCM since 2010.

  • Blanca Sánchez Rangil

    Legal Assistant

    Blanca Sánchez Rangel graduated from Macalester College in 2017 with degrees in Political Science and Economics. She became involved with ILCM in her junior year of college as a Detention Project intern, and continued to volunteer for three semesters. Blanca started as a legal assistant in July 2017 and works mainly with U visa cases, as well as a dual citizenship project with the Mexican Consulate in Saint Paul.

  • Kyle Smestad

    Development Officer

    Kyle Smestad joined ILCM in 2017 after working with several nonprofits and political campaigns. Kyle has held development and fundraising positions with OutFront Minnesota, Senator Al Franken’s 2014 reelection campaign, Councilmember Alondra Cano’s 2013 campaign, and several other local campaigns and organizations. Most recently, he was a member of the national development team for College Possible, which serves low-income students as they earn their college degrees. Kyle graduated from North Dakota State University in 2013 with degrees in Political Science and Spanish.

  • Jennifer Stohl-Powell

    Staff Attorney

  • Tammy Villegas

    Intake Specialist

    Tammy Villegas graduated from the College of St. Benedict with a degree in social work. She came to ILCM from the Dodge Nature Preschool where she spent her time educating children about the wonders of the natural world. She has spent over 15 years working with nonprofits in the areas of community organizing and outreach. She spent significant time in California working in nonprofits including La Clinica San Pedro in South Central LA, the LA Catholic Worker, and the headquarters and field offices of the United Farm Workers throughout California. Tammy joined ILCM in June 2008 and is excited to continue in a role that helps provide a voice to all people.

  • Terry Velasquez

    Senior Development Officer

    Terry Velasquez has over 20 years of experience working in nonprofits to build their fundraising, communications, and community relations efforts. Prior to joining ILCM, Terry led the development and communications efforts for several organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities, the Epilepsy Foundation of MN, Scholarship America and Resources for Child Caring. She has served on numerous Boards of Directors including the Board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Terry graduated from Hamline University School of Law in 1995.