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OUR TEAM

Educating, advocating, ensuring access to justice.

Executive Director


Andrew Baranoski  joined PIRC in January 2020 as Executive Director. He has long been committed to refugee and asylee resettlement and access to legal services for all immigrants. Prior to joining PIRC, Andrew proudly served as the Executive Director of the American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York from 2008 until 2015.  Most recently, he worked in higher education at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina.  He graduated from Binghamton University with a BA in anthropology. After college, he became certified as a paralegal at Syracuse University. Later he earned his Master of Public Administration degree at Binghamton University and completed a year-long graduate internship at the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York.

Andrew was born and raised in Snyder County, PA.  Andrew and his wife Barbara are excited to return to Pennsylvania to be close to family and friends.  They enjoy traveling and all genres of music and often combine these two past-times attending music festivals abroad and across the USA.

 

Development Director


Elizabeth Miller  joined PIRC in 2022 as Development Director, previously serving the organization as Office Manager/Development Manager, Office Manager, and intern over a period of 10 years. Miller received her Bachelor’s in Sociology from Goucher College, with a concentration in Social Justice and Minor in Communications and Media Studies and earned her Master’s degree in Social Justice and Human Rights from Arizona State University, with a Concentration in NGO Management.   She is a Lancaster native, and most recently worked with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates as Strategic Engagement Coordinator. She is passionate about human rights issues, specifically those surrounding immigrant rights and gender equity. Miller serves on the board of the Lancaster-based Feakins Foundation.

 

Office Manager


Jennifer Salazar  joined PIRC in 2022 as Office Manager. Jennifer graduated, cum laude, from York College of Pennsylvania where she majored in political science and minored in economics in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She earned a History and Political Science Departmental Recognition and became a legal intern for Bare Law Firm during her senior year of college. Jennifer is a native Spanish speaker and is intermediate in French. As a first-generation immigrant from Mexico, Jennifer is dedicated to pursuing her legal career to advocate for the inequality of minorities in the legal system and protect immigrant rights. Her interests in mass media and civil rights became the focus of her senior thesis, examining African American males suffering from police brutality and analyzing the ways in which mass media has affected the criminal justice system throughout the past decade. Jennifer is overjoyed about being able to help immigrants through PIRC and is optimistic that she will serve as a legal counsel to defend people who are underrepresented in our communities in the near future. 

 

REMOVAL DEFENSE PROGRAMS

 

Managing Attorney – Removal Defense Programs


Ryan Brunsink  is a managing attorney for the Removal Defense Programs. He joined PIRC in March of 2015, after serving as a judicial fellow in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia where he regularly drafted legal opinions. Ryan graduated, cum laude, from Pepperdine University School of Law in May of 2014. At Pepperdine, Ryan successfully represented vulnerable clients with fear-based claims through Pepperdine’s Asylum and Refugee Clinic. He worked as a summer law clerk at the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, a prominent immigration firm in Los Angeles, and provided pro bono legal aid to indigent clients through Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles during his time in law school. Ryan obtained a BA in Economics and Religious Studies at the University of Virginia in 2008, and remains an avid Wahoo fan. Ryan is proficient in Spanish.

 

Supervising Attorney-Removal Defense Programs


Ben Hooper  joined the Removal Defense Programs at PIRC in January 2018.  As a legal aid attorney and manager since 1999, Ben’s advocacy work has included federally subsidized housing, mortgage foreclosure, domestic violence and immigration.  Immediately prior to joining PIRC, Ben worked at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence where he coordinated the Civil Legal Representation Initiative, providing legal service to victims of domestic violence in twenty-two counties across Pennsylvania.  Ben earned his J.D. degree from Northeastern University, and a B.A. in Political Science at Binghamton University.

Staff Attorney-Removal Defense Programs


Melissa Vega joined the Removal Defense Programs at PIRC in April 2019. After graduating with honors from Widener University Commonwealth Law School, Melissa clerked for The Honorable Mary Hannah Leavitt of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania for three years. Upon completing her clerkship, Melissa set up her practice as a sole practitioner, representing clients in family-based petitions, naturalization, TPS/DACA, non-immigrant visa applications and removal defense. Immediately prior to joining PIRC, she practiced immigration & naturalization law in the Houston, Texas, area. Melissa is fluent in Spanish.

 

Legal Orientation Program Manager/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative


Fernanda Hernandez  joined PIRC in August 2016 as the Office Assistant.  Before starting with PIRC, Fernanda worked for four years at ACNB Bank as Customer Service Specialist.  She graduated HACC with a degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences, with a concentration on Paralegal Studies in 2016, and earned her Bachelor degree in Applied Science in Technical Leadership from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2019.  Fernanda is fluent in Spanish, and received her DOJ accreditation in early 2018.

Legal Orientation Program Coordinator


Samantha Naranjo-Gonzalez was born and raised in Cuba. She moved to the U.S with only her mom in 2016. She is currently working on her Associate in Paralegal Studies and plans to continue her education in the legal field after she graduates. She is fluent in Spanish and is currently working on obtaining her Interpreter license. As an immigrant herself, Samantha is very passionate about immigration law and helping other immigrants like her achieve their dreams.

 

PA Immigrant Family Unity Project Coordinator


Yomayra Burgos started with PIRC in 2022 as the PA Immigrant Family Unity Project (PAIFUP) coordinator.  Born and raised in Lancaster, PA Ms. Burgos is Puerto Rican/Peruvian, and fluent in Spanish. She earned her bachelor’s in 2018 from Millersville University with a degree in Geography and Latino Studies. In 2018 she also conducted community outreach through her internship with the Jess King for Congress campaign. For years Ms. Burgos mentored young women pursuing their higher educational goals, a part of the Miss Hispanidad Scholarship Program (Latin American Alliance). Yomayra Burgos is committed to serving the immigrant community.

 

COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

 

Managing Attorney, Community Programs


Whitney Phelps is the managing attorney for Community Programs. She joined PIRC in June of 2020  after two years as the Padilla Attorney for Metropolitan Public Defender in Portland, OR. Before entering the non-profit world, Whitney worked for three years in private practice as an immigration attorney. In this role she represented clients in their removal proceedings and assisted with family based and humanitarian visa petitions, naturalization, and affirmative asylum applications. Prior to working in the immigration field, Whitney worked and volunteered with international human rights organizations including Instituto de Defensa Legal in Lima, Peru, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She graduated cum laude in 2013 from Seattle University School of Law and summa cum laude from LeTourneau University in 2007 where she studied History/Political Science. Whitney is professionally proficient in Spanish.

 

Supervising Attorney, Community Programs


Tamara Shehadeh-Cope joined PIRC in December 2020. She previously served as the Managing Immigration Attorney at Community Justice Project (CJP), part of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN). There, she provided legal assistance and representation to immigrant survivors and trained community partners throughout Pennsylvania’s northeastern counties on changing immigration issues and policy. Tamara rejoins PIRC after having previously been a part of PIRC’s Removal Defense Programs as a Staff Attorney with the Legal Orientation Program (LOP). Tamara earned her J.D. degree from City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, and a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Economics from Fordham University in New York. She is licensed in Pennsylvania and admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Tamara has native proficiency in Spanish and is proficient in Arabic.

 

Supervising Attorney, Community Programs


Diana Bieber Locke rejoined PIRC in January 2021 as a supervising attorney in Community Programs, having previously worked at PIRC during the development of the Immigrant Survivors Project. She brings over ten years’ experience in immigration legal representation for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking and has provided trainings on this topic across the state.  Prior to law school, Ms. Bieber Locke worked as part of an Americorps volunteer program in southern Colorado where she helped initiate the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center and successfully applied for its DOJ recognition. Ms. Bieber Locke earned her law degree cum laude from New York University School of Law and her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Sociology/Anthropology with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies from Swarthmore College. She has studied and worked in Peru, Colombia, and the Netherlands and is proficient in Spanish.

 

Staff Attorney, Western PA-Immigrant Survivors Project


Ashley L. Springsteen, joined PIRC in February 2019 as a staff attorney for the Immigrant Survivors Project. Prior to PIRC, Ashley served as an AmeriCorps Equal Justice Works Immigration Legal Fellow at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, where she launched a successful immigration program focused on providing holistic legal services to low-income immigrant and refugee populations in Western New York. Ashley earned her J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law with graduate certificate in International and Comparative Law  and her B.A. in Sociology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Ashley is currently licensed in Pennsylvania and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

 

Staff Attorney, Northeastern PA- Immigrant Survivors Project


Yudelkys Rodriguez De Vargas joined PIRC in September 2019 as a Legal Advocate/Staff Attorney.  Yudelkys obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, where she graduated Cum Laude and with Honors in Major. She then earned her Juris Doctor degree in May of 2019 from The Pennsylvania State University, The Dickinson School of Law, where she was the president of the Latinx Law Students Association, worked as a student attorney in the Community Law Clinic representing low-income community members in matters of family law and social security disability, and received the 2019 Outstanding Law Student Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers. Yudelkys is licensed in Pennsylvania. Yudelkys is a native Spanish speaker.

 

Statewide Liaison/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative-Immigrant Survivors Project


Sarah Martin-Torres is the State Liaison for the Immigrant Survivors Project at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Temple University and has been providing immigration legal services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking for nearly a decade as a Department of Justice Accredited Representative. Ms. Martin-Torres also coordinates the Immigrant Survivors Advocate Network (ISAN) and is fluent in Spanish.

 

Legal Advocate/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative- Immigrant Survivors Project


Rosa Perez-Lupian graduated from Delone Catholic High School in 1992 and attended DeVry University.  She is the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents.   In 2005, she began her 12 year career as Bilingual Client Advocate and Community Education Coordinator at YWCA Hanover Safe Home, where she established a robust program of community outreach, speaking to thousands of students as well as adult groups about healthy relationships and intimate partner violence.  While developing her skills as an advocate, Mr. Perez-Lupian found that assisting immigrant victims of crime brought deep satisfaction.  Through this work, she formed a strong bond with the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center, where she began to work in November 2017.

 

Legal Advocate/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative- Immigrant Survivors Project


Karla M. Rios Orengo joined PIRC in July 2018 as Legal Advocate after serving as a volunteer for the Immigrant Survivors Project since October 2017. Karla has earned her J.D., magna cum laude, from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law, where she was recognized for her litigation skills, and her B.A., cum laude, in Pre-Law Studies with a minor concentration in Political Science from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Karla is passionate about access to justice and equal application of law. She is currently pursuing her admission to Pennsylvania Bar and is fluent in Spanish.

 

Citizenship & Clinical Coordinator/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative-Citizenship


Jazmin H. Hernandez joined PIRC in August 2019 as a Citizenship Coordinator. Jazmin is the daughter of Mexican parents who brought her to the U.S. in 2008 when she was 11 years old. She earned her Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies in June 2017. Jazmin continued her education at Central Penn College and graduated in March 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. She worked as a paralegal for a private law firm assisting in family petitions, asylum, and removal proceedings. She is passionate about helping the immigrant community as she is an immigrant herself and knows the obstacles and challenges they face. Jazmin is fluent in Spanish.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Clasina Houtman, Esq.

Board President

First Assistant Public Defender

York County Public Defender’s Office

Angus Love, Esq.

Board Vice President

Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project

Executive Director

Marilyn Neuberger

Teacher of English as a Second Language

Community Volunteer

Andrew Mahon, Esq.

Law Offices of Troy Mattes

Attorney

George Stoltzfus

Retired Physician and Administrator

Leanne M. Miller, Esq.

CGA Law Firm

Attorney

Gabriela Dehart

York City School District

Bilingual Outreach Worker

Amy Chamberlin

Family First Health

Senior Director of Development

David Corman

York County History Center

Manager of Individual Giving

Kimberly Mahaffy, Ph.D.

Millersville University

Professor of Sociology

Rebecca Garcia

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

Affiliate and Resources Manager

Sonia Chase

Attorney | York, PA