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.
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
Yarima Gonzalez Crespo joined the Removal Defense Program at PIRC in September 2022. She earned her J.D. from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, School of Law in 2019 and is admitted to practice law in Puerto Rico. As part of her J.D., she took courses in Immigration Law, Therapeutic Justice, Appellate Practice and Human Rights Advocacy and Humanitarian Issues. She also worked with the Juvenile Drug Court Program and volunteered with Amnesty International with the “Know Your Rights” campaign. As an attorney, she has done mostly criminal defense work, emphasizing in the appellate practice. Yarima has worked for various nonprofit organizations, mostly in the Human Rights field. She is a member of the Puerto Rico’s Lawyer’s Guild and candidate for the Federal Bar Exam for the San Juan, PR District. Yarima is a native Spanish speaker.
Legal Orientation Program Manager/Senior Department of Justice (DOJ) Fully Accredited Representative
Fernanda Hernandez has worked with the Removal Defense team since joining PIRC in 2016. 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.
After getting her partial accreditation, she started providing legal orientation classes to detained immigrants at York County Prison and Berks County Residential Center, continuing to do so today at the Moshannon Valley Processing Center & Clinton County Correctional Facility. Now with full Department of Justice Accreditation, Fernanda hopes to start working towards not providing education to immigrants in detention but to also help them fight for their freedom, representing them in front of an immigration court.
At PIRC, Ms. Hernandez provides remote and in-person classes for immigrants in detention to inform them of their rights and what to to expect in immigration court. She also manages the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), from scheduling in-person services all the way to stakeholders’ meetings such as ICE, EOIR, and detention facility staff. Fernanda would love to have more capacity or partner with other organizations to refer detained immigrants who are PA residents and to collaborate on a bond project – currently the need for detained representation and bond help far outweighs the capacity among organizations throughout the state.
Legal Orientation Program Coordinator/ DOJ Accredited Representative
Samantha Naranjo-Gonzalez joined PIRC in 2020 as Office Manager and assisted with Citizenship Coordination along the way. She graduated from HACC with a degree in Paralegal Studies and received DOJ Accreditation in 2022. She is fluent in Spanish and coordinates all aspects of the Legal Orientation Program which provides education to immigrants in detention in Pennsylvania. Samantha is passionate about immigration law and helping other immigrants 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.
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.
Medical-Legal Partnership Attorney & Community Response Attorney- Community Response Project
Melissa Vega joined the Removal Defense Programs at PIRC in April 2019, and became Medical-Legal Partnership Attorney & Community Response Attorney in September 2023. After graduating with honors from Widener University Commonwealth Law School, Melissa clerked for three years for The Honorable Mary Hannah Leavitt of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania (one of PA’s two intermediate appellate courts over state administrative agency law, which also has trial court jurisdiction over certain cases where the state is a party). 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 for the next nine years. Immediately prior to joining PIRC, she practiced immigration & naturalization law in the
Houston, Texas, area. Melissa is fluent in Spanish.
Yudelkys Rodriguez De Vargas
Statewide Liaison/Senior 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
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.
Office Manager & Immigrant Survivors Project Coordinator
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kimberly Mahaffy, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Board Vice President
Family First Health
Senior Director of Development
Family First Health
Manager of Donor Relations
Sonia Chase, Esq.
Adams County Public Defenders Office
Teacher of English as a Second Language
York City School District
Bilingual Outreach Worker
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
Affiliate and Resources Manager
Angus Love, Esq.
Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project
Members 1st FCU
Commercial Relationship Manager
Retired Physician and Administrator