We have a great team serving as our Board of Directors, including seasoned immigration practitioners, advocates, and others with extensive experience assisting detained individuals, including asylum seekers. Board members are listed in the order in which they joined the Board.
Paul worked with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition for two years, where he coordinated visits to detention centers in Karnes City, Dilley and Pearsall. Additionally, he initiated a worship program at the Karnes Family Residential Center and collaborated with the Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services to lead prayer vigils and present educational booths at various events. He also served as the immigration liaison for Southwestern Texas Synod, ELCA. Since last year Paul has participated in the Christ Lutheran Church Immigration Group, that holds monthly meetings educating members on immigration laws, impacts to the immigrant community, and activism. He also is a research/action member on the San Antonio Sponsoring Committee on Immigration.
He believes that the work and mission of Migrant Center for Human Rights are important as our federal law continues to malign and exclude immigrants that have notoriously made our country stronger and better. Through this work, immigrants who are unable to obtain legal help can actually get a fighting chance to immigrate. This is a goal worth fighting for.
FORMER BOARD MEMBERS
Cathy Potter, Esq.
Ms. Potter has been practicing immigration law since 2008. She has been assisting people in detention for over seven years, and has helped many others with their immigration cases. Not afraid of taking on difficult cases, Ms. Potter has filed appeals with the Board of Immigration Appeals, and petitions for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, as well as litigating citizenship and nationality cases at the federal district court and appeals court levels.
Ms. Potter is dedicated to helping immigrants regardless of income, doing her best to take pro bono and low-paying cases where needed. Her goal is to provide excellent and zealous representation for each of her clients. She worked with the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Project (ProBAR) and looks forward to serving on the Board of Directors at the Migrant Center for Human Rights.
Jodi Goodwin, Esq.
Jodi Goodwin practices immigration law in the trenches on the border in Harlingen, Texas. Since 1995, she has represented thousands of asylum seekers, economic migrants, long-term permanent residents, businesses, families, and United States citizens in removal proceedings. She also represents immigrants in federal court in both criminal and civil proceedings. She has several published decisions from both the Federal Courts of Appeals and the Board of Immigration Appeals.
She believes the foundation of a justice system is all individuals having equal access. Providing competent representation is a duty all lawyers should have with a commitment to pro bono representation and support of legal service providers to low income immigrants, especially those seeking refuge in the United States.
With a commitment to quality, honest and compassionate representation of her clients, Ms. Goodwin focuses her practice in all areas and aspects of immigration with a particular emphasis in complex litigation and waivers. She is the founding member of her law office and worked with the U.S. Department of Justice as an attorney for the Immigration Court prior to going into private practice.
She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America for immigration law and Texas Superlawyers as one of the top 5% in immigration law. Ms. Goodwin has the highest “AV” rating in the Martindale-Hubbel legal directory and is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. In 2007 Ms. Goodwin was honored with the Arthur C. Helton Award for Advancement of Human Rights by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She also speaks on multiple panels each year and has spearheaded and coordinated an ongoing effort to provide daily “Know-Your-Rights” presentations to Central American families being released from ICE custody in the Rio Grande Valley.
In addition to practicing law, Ms. Goodwin shares a deep-rooted belief in volunteerism. She is involved in several organizations designed to teach and train young lawyers and frequently teaches throughout the United States. Ms. Goodwin also holds several positions with the American Immigration Lawyers Association including Past Chair of the Texas Chapter of AILA, national and local liaison committees with Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Apart from her professional volunteerism, Ms. Goodwin also devotes much of her time to the Girl Scouts of America serving as a Troop Leader. She is a graduate of the University of Texas and St. Mary’s University. Ms. Goodwin is fluent in Spanish. Please see here for an interview with Ms. Goodwin: https://www.americanbar.org/
Sister Denise LaRock
Sister Denise LaRock moved to San Antonio in January of 2016 to assist families seeking asylum. Since 1992, Sister Denise has been a member of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, a religious community of consecrated women “nuns” dedicated to serving those living in poverty and marginalized. She serves on the leadership team of the Interfaith Welcome Coalition – a group dedicated to the welcoming asylum seekers — and as Coordinator of their services assisting families released from detention at the Greyhound bus station and San Antonio airport.
Twice a week, Sister Denise volunteers at the chapel at the Dilley Family Detention Center, where up to 2300 mothers and children are detained by private prison operator CoreCivic on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She also volunteers once a week at St. PJ Home, a shelter operated by Catholic Charities, and previously served at Casa RAICES, a former shelter in San Antonio for recently released asylum seeking families.
Sister Denise has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Education for At-Risk Students. She taught at-risk students for many years, including at a school for the children of migrant farmworkers in Florida.
Sara Sluszka, Esq.
Sara Sluszka is the Immigration Resource Attorney at the Washington Defender Association’s Immigration Project (WDAIP), which provides individual case assistance and educational resources on the immigration consequences of crimes, and engages in state and national policy advocacy to defend and advance the rights of noncitizens accused of crimes.
Prior to joining WDAIP, Ms. Sluszka was a detention staff attorney at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Tacoma, Washington, where she provided pro se legal assistance and direct representation to immigrants facing deportation while detained at the Northwest Detention Center. Sara began her immigration law career on the U.S.- Mexico border as the sole attorney at Casa de Proyecto Libertad, a community-based immigration legal services organization in Harlingen, Texas.
Ms. Sluszka supports the mission of the Migrant Center for Human Rights because it works to close the gaps in resources for indigent detained immigrants and ensure equal access to justice. As she witnessed in the Northwest Detention Center, the barriers created by a lack of resources often means the difference between a person being granted the chance to live in peace and without fear, and being deported to a place they fled in terror.
She is especially passionate about challenging the systemic discrimination and abuses of power that immigrants, people of color, and people with criminal records face in the U.S. She is a member of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and is a part of local immigrant rights advocacy coalitions. She previously served on the board of directors of Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest. Ms. Sluszka earned her JD from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, and is admitted to practice in Washington and New York.