Monica Oca Howell is a Senior Immigration Attorney for CARECEN’s Immigration Legal Program. She holds a BA in Spanish and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Davis, and a Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco. The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Monica grew up in Daly City, California, and witnessed first-hand the difficulties that immigrants often face with discrimination and integrating into their surrounding community. Since being admitted to the California State Bar in December of 2011, Monica has worked on various types of immigration cases, with an emphasis on family-based immigration, citizenship, and petitions for U nonimmigrant status. She is a Co-Coordinator for AILA NorCal’s New Member’s Division and a member of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California.
Avantika Shastri is the Assistant Director of the Immigrant Legal Defense Program at Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco (JDC). She is also the Legal Director for the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative (SFILDC). She oversees and coordinates the removal defense representation provided by the 15 partner organizations in the SFILDC, including legal strategy, collective advocacy, intakes and referrals, rapid response services, and legal training. Avantika also supervises and supports the legal programs of JDC’s Immigrant Legal Defense Program. Prior to her position at JDC, Avantika was in private practice for 11 years at Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale in San Francisco, where she represented immigrants before the immigration agencies and federal courts. She specialized in removal defense, appellate litigation, family-based immigration, naturalization, and the immigration consequences of crimes. Avantika received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.
Siobhan Waldron joined the Immigration team as a Staff Attorney in May 2016. Prior to joining Centro, Siobhan worked at the Immigration Center for Women and Children in Los Angeles, where she specialized in serving as appointed counsel under Franco-Gonzalez v. Holder for individuals in removal proceedings who are detained by the Department of Homeland Security and who were found incompetent to represent themselves due to mental health issues. Prior to focusing on removal defense, she handled U Visa, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), I-751 Battered Spouse Waivers, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases – and derivative petitions/consular processing/adjustment of status/waivers/naturalization related to those cases. Siobhan received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2012, where she specialized in the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies Program. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006 in Legal Studies and Spanish, with a concentration in Hispanic Languages and Bilingual Issues. During and after college, Siobhan volunteered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking individuals seeking asylum. Also at that time, she began visiting and working in solidarity with isolated rural villages in El Salvador with the Oakland-based non-profit organization the Central American Refugee Committee (CRECE).
Ilyce is the Directing Attorney of the Immigration Program at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto. Ilyce joined CLSEPA in March of 2012, and since that time has worked greatly to expand the services the immigration program provides to the community. Under her leadership, CLSEPA’s immigration attorneys were some of the first responders to the surge crisis in the immigration courts in 2014. Prior to joining CLSEPA, Ilyce was a partner at Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP, where she worked for over 10 years. Before joining the private sector, Ilyce worked for two years at the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) as a National Association of Public Interest Law Equal Justice Fellow. Ilyce is a commissioner on the State Bar Commission on Immigration and Nationality Law and received the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Women of Influence award in 2015. She also published articles in various AILA publications, in Immigration Briefings, and has been the update editor of the treatise, Immigration Law and the Family since 2012. Ilyce also serves as the AILA NorCal coordinator for the Volunteer Immigration Program. Ilyce has a JD from DePaul University College of Law and a BA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.