Half Moon Bay Victims Fund: 100% of donations contributed will go to the victims and surviving families.

A person’s value should not be determined by their immigration status or whether they have been incarcerated.

Immigrant Rights

Team

Aseem Mehta

Aseem Mehta

Fellow, Immigrant Rights

Aseem Mehta

Fellow, Immigrant Rights

Aseem Mehta is a Meselson-Liman Public Interest Fellow in the Immigrant Rights Program. His work focuses on supporting incarcerated immigrants and seeking repair for individuals harmed by the state’s violence. Aseem previously advocated alongside immigrant communities against detention and deportation in New York and South Texas as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow. Before joining Advancing Justice – ALC, Aseem clerked for the Hon. Richard A. Paez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Hon. Edward M. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Aseem received his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was a member of the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic. He was awarded the P.D. Soros Fellowship, Reinhardt Fellowship, and Stephen J. Massey Prize in recognition of his excellence in and commitment to lawyering in the public interest.

Avelina Richardson

Avelina Richardson

Community Advocate, Immigrants Rights

Avelina Richardson

Community Advocate, Immigrants Rights

Avelina is Community Advocate with the Immigrants Rights Program. In her role, she works alongside attorneys to challenge the deportation and detention of immigrants and refugees. Avelina is committed to supporting families like her own in their journeys to heal from the trauma inflicted by separation.

Previously, Avelina served as Program Manager at Bonafide and developed re-entry services for people returning home from life sentences. She was a Resource Manager and Legal Assistant at UnCommon Law, and has also facilitated restorative justice centered groups inside of men and women's prisons throughout California. In 2019, Avelina received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and during her time there was Program Director of UC Berkeley’s Teach in Prison program, an intern at Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinic, and a member of Berkeley Underground Scholars. In 2021, she was selected as a Young Professional of Color Fellow with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform.

In addition to her work at ALC, Avelina serves the community in various capacities. She is currently a member of the Inmate Family Council where she advocates for impacted families' visitation rights and works alongside California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr) administration to make prison visitation accessible. Avelina's work is intentionally dedicated to making healing accessible for communities who have historically been underserved and disenfranchised.

Jenny Zhao

Jenny Zhao

Senior Staff Attorney and Program Manager, Immigrant Rights

Jenny Zhao

Senior Staff Attorney and Program Manager, Immigrant Rights

Jenny Zhao is a senior staff attorney in the Immigrant Rights Program. She litigates cases challenging the detention and deportation of Southeast Asian refugees and other communities targeted for policing and immigration enforcement. Before joining Advancing Justice – ALC, Jenny was a Liman Public Interest Fellow at the ACLU of Northern California. She received her law degree from Yale Law School, where she was a member of the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic.

Kevin Lo

Kevin Lo

Senior Staff Attorney, Immigrant Rights

Kevin Lo

Senior Staff Attorney, Immigrant Rights

Kevin Lo is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Immigrant Rights Program. Prior to joining Advancing Justice – ALC, he worked on counter-terrorism human rights issues with Reprieve in London, assisted LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers with ORAM, and led labor campaigns in Southeast Asia and the American South with the United Auto Workers.

Kevin grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and after graduating from UC Berkeley, he received a law degree from Stanford Law School. While at Stanford, Kevin worked with the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and the Timor-Leste Legal Education Project, where he co-authored the first textbook on Timorese Constitutional Law. Kevin speaks Cantonese and some French.

So Young Lee

So Young Lee

Staff Attorney, Immigrant Rights

So Young Lee

Staff Attorney, Immigrant Rights

So Young is a staff attorney in the Immigrant Rights program. She provides direct legal services to immigrants who are detained and facing deportation. So Young first joined Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus in 2013 to organize undocumented API youth and rejoined in 2019 as a Bridge Fellow. In law school, she interned with the Immigration Defense Unit of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and at a private public interest firm in its deportation defense practice. So Young received her law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Our Focus

For the past 20 years, we have been at the forefront of a growing movement to protect Southeast Asian refugees facing deportation. We focus our legal services on helping some of the most vulnerable in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community: low-income immigrants facing deportation due to criminal convictions. Together with community partners in the Bay Area and around the country, we work to end the mass incarceration and deportation of Southeast Asian as well as Black, Latinx, and other immigrant communities of color.

  • We provide free legal consultation and representation to Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants and refugees in prison and immigration detention.
  • We organize and advocate with community members, families, and other immigrant rights groups to stop deportations and dismantle systems of mass incarceration.
  • We have led nationwide class action lawsuits to challenge the unlawful detention of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees and other litigation on behalf of detained immigrants.
Person in yellow vest holds one side of banner reading "keep families together, stop deportation"

Get Help

If you’re facing threats of deportation or detention due to a past California state conviction, are seeking clemency, or support with immigration and citizenship, we might be able to help. Contact us now.

Our Work

Guides & Reports

Guide to California Pardons

We created a guide to support people who have served time in prison, immigrants with conviction(s) facing deportation, and families helping their loved ones seek relief through a pardon.

Learn More
Perspective

Teacher and Advocate Sophea Phea Returns Home from Deportation After 11 Years

Sophea Phea, who was deported to Cambodia in 2011, came home this past week to her loved ones and community in Long Beach, CA. We spoke to Sophea about her journey, her advocacy, and more.

Learn More
Perspective

It’s Long Past Time to End 100-Year-Old Racist Laws That Still Dominate Our Country

With our partners, we've led a series of amicus briefs supporting cases to hold the government accountable for the racism underlying Sections 1325 and 1326.

Learn More