Support Immigrant and Refugee Rights


ICS Staff 

Tireless Support for the Plight of Immigrants and Refugees
Lisa LeSage, J.D., L.L.M.
ICS Executive Director

Lisa started at ICS in August 2017. She began her career as a Legal Aid lawyer at Oregon Legal Services representing migrant workers, and later joined the law firm of Ginsburg, Gomez Neal & LeSage, where she practiced immigration and civil rights law. Later as an associate dean at Lewis & Clark Law School, she co-founded the Small Business Legal Clinic, which serves minority and low-income businesses. As Fulbright Scholar in Chile in 2010, she worked with numerous law schools and legal clinics.

From 2011 -2016, she served as Senior Legal Advisor in the ABA Rule of Law Initiative Middle East North Africa Division, and Morocco Country Director. Her prior public service includes appointments to the Oregon Wage and Hour Commission, the Oregon Labor Commissioner’s Advisory Committee on Agricultural Labor, and the Oregon Health Division Ad Hoc Task Force on Migrant Health.

Lisa has continued to do human rights pro bono work, and has served as a consultant on human rights, refugee, and rule of law projects in numerous countries in Central and South America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Europe. She is a recipient of the Oregon State Bar President’s Public Service Award and Statewide Affirmative Action Award. Lisa is fluent in Spanish, proficient in French, and has been a state-certified foster parent. She is a graduate of University of Portland, Lewis & Clark Law School, and the University of London.

Julie Baker
Portland Office Staff Attorney

Julie Braker has worked at ICS since the spring of 2015. Julie earned her JD from Columbia Law School in 2013 where she graduated with the Allan Morrow Sexuality and Gender Law Prize. Prior to working at ICS, Julie completed an immigration law fellowship with Immigrant Law Group, where she focused on advocacy for asylum-seeking families detained at near the US-Mexico border. Julie is an Oregon American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) Advocacy liaison and was given the Chapter’s Pro Bono Champion award in 2017 for her know-your-rights work and pro bono asylum cases

Julie works on humanitarian and family-based immigration cases, and has represented noncitizens before USCIS, the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Julie’s work is motivated by the commitment to human rights she sees in her clients, co-workers, and community on a daily basis.

Justine Elliot 
Portland Office Staff Attorney

Justine has been working as a staff attorney at ICS since September of 2013. Justine attended Temple University Beasley School of Law with a public interest scholarship and graduated in May of 2011. She was then awarded the Independence Foundation Fellowship, a two year fellowship to work on Medicaid defense and health care reform in Pennsylvania. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

At ICS, Justine works on asylum cases, family-based petitions, humanitarian cases such as VAWA, U-visas, and with T-visas for trafficking victims. She enjoys working with people from different cultures and is fluent in Spanish. Her work is driven by her desire to help families stay together in the U.S. and help survivors of crimes recover and gain stability.

Sam Reese 
Portland Office Accredited Representative

Having started at ICS in 1999, Sam has been working for ICS for almost 20 years. He began as a Legal Assistant and now is an Accredited Representative. He is a graduate of Portland State University where he studied Spanish and Anthropology.

Sam represents clients in asylum cases and family-based petitions. Beyond these, Sam has experience working with special legislation for Central Americans such as NACARA and TPS as well as other more obscure legislation such as Family Unity and Life Act. The motivation that Sam finds for his work comes from his desire to support immigrant communities and make a difference in the lives of his clients.

Denisse Guadarrama 
Portland Office Staff Attorney

Denisse has been working as a staff attorney at ICS since August 2013. She attended Lewis and Clark School of Law and graduated in May 2013. She was ICS’ first full-time staff attorney in its unaccompanied children program. In December 2015, Denisse transitioned into ICS’ general program. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

At ICS, Denisse has worked on asylum, T visas, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases. Her work now includes family-based petitions, humanitarian cases such as VAWA, U visas for victims of serious crimes, SIJS for abused or abandoned children, and T visas for trafficking victims. Denisse’s work is motivated by the determination her clients show as they work to overcome serious trauma from harm experienced and being able to help families remain together.

Juliet Reid 
Trafficking Victim Assistance Program Case Manager

Juliet is the Trafficking Victim Assistance Program Case Manager for ICS. She began at ICS in October of 2015 as an office assistant and then moved into her current position in March of 2016. Juliet is a graduate of the University of Iowa, where she studied Spanish, Latin American Studies and Anthropology.

As the TVAP Case Manager, Juliet works with foreign born survivors of trafficking on their immediate and long term goals. She also networks with local agencies, attorneys and law enforcement on trafficking-specific topics. Juliet finds motivation in the collaborative nature of her work with her clients and colleagues.

Marisela Prado 
Portland Office Senior Paralegal

Marisela started working as a client coordinator for ICS in July of 2013 and most recently was promoted to Senior Paralegal in May, 2018. Marisela holds an Associate’s Degree in Billing and Coding.

At ICS, Marisela helps the Legal Workers with anything they may need and is the back-up for front desk services. Marisela is inspired by her work because she believes that ICS can be an important advocate for the reunification and security of immigrant families.

MariRuth Petzing 
Hood River Office Managing Attorney

MariRuth Petzing has worked at ICS since the May 2016. After working with refugees MariRuth was motived to become an immigration attorney. She earned her JD from the University of Washington School of Law in 2013. Prior to coming to work at ICS, she spent three years as a Staff Attorney in Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s Wenatchee office.

MariRuth works on a wide variety of immigration cases including asylum, family-based petitions, humanitarian cases, citizenship and DACA. Her work includes representing clients in immigration court as well as before US Citizenship and Immigration Services. MariRuth enjoys working with farming communities and is involved in community outreach and education. MariRuth’s work is motivated by the strength, dedication, kindness, wisdom and perseverance of her clients and coworkers.

Rita Ombaka 
Operations Manager

Rita joined ICS as the Operations Manager in July 2017. Rita is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College with dual degrees in International Affairs and Music Education. Before ICS, Rita worked as the Operations Manager at the Alliance for Youth Action, a national organization focusing on cultivating civic engagement amongst young people.

At ICS, Rita manages all things accounting and finance and ensures that the Portland and Hood River offices run smoothly. Born and raised in Kenya, Rita is proud to be part of an organization that brings about positive change to vulnerable communities and is excited for continued growth in ICS’ capacity.

Rodrigo Juarez 
Hood River Office Staff Attorney

Rodrigo has been working as a staff attorney at ICS’ Hood River office since June 2017. He attended Texas A&M University and later Lewis and Clark School of Law. He graduated from Lewis & Clark in May 2016. While still a law student, Rodrigo interned at ICS for a full academic year before joining ICS as a Staff Attorney. Rodrigo was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, on the U.S.-Mexico border.

At ICS, Rodrigo has worked on family-based petitions, humanitarian cases such as U visas for victims of serious crimes, naturalization cases, etc. Rodrigo’s work is motivated by his lifelong exposure to immigration issues due to living on the U.S.-Mexico border and his own family’s experiences as immigrants to the United States. He hopes through his work to contribute positively to individual’s efforts to regulate their status in the U.S. and to helping maintain families together in this country.

Virginia Maynes 
Unaccompanied Minors Program Managing Attorney

Virginia joined ICS in March 2018. Prior to joining ICS, Virginia worked as the Child & Family Managing Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Center in Omaha, Nebraska. She is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Nebraska and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Virginia earned dual degrees in Political Science and American Studies from Brigham Young University and she graduated cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

Virginia’s practice is dedicated to helping children find safety and stability through obtaining legal status in this country. She works on cases including Removal Defense, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Asylum, and T visas among others. The children Virginia works with are predominantly alone without parents or other legal guardians available to provide care and support and most are detained by the U.S. government. She enjoys playing tennis, spending time with her dog Lily, and eating Chicago-style pizza.

Tirsa Orellana 
Portland Office Client Coordinator

Tirsa joined ICS in February as a temporary office assistant and transitioned into the role of Portland Client Coordinator shortly after. She graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology and brings invaluable experience from working on screenings and consultations of clients at CARECEN as well as her communications and project management work at VOZ Workers Rights Education Project.

At ICS’s Portland office, Tirsa is the first point of contact for all clients and coordinates all appointments. Additionally, she provides administrative support to all the Legal workers and assists with data collection. Tirsa is passionate about immigrants’ rights and access to justice for low income communites and is hopeful that her work contributes positively to change people’s lives.

Brenda Orozco 
Hood River Office Client Coordinator

Brenda has been working for ICS Hood River office since June 2016. She went to school in California and holds a CDA credential in early childhood and wants to continue her education to become a Paralegal. Her passion has always been to strengthen family relationships and well-being. She has extensive experience working with diverse cultures.

At ICS Brenda is our Client Coordinator, the first source of contact for the clients in the Hood River office. She loves to multi-task and provides reception duties, administrative work, data entry, office accounting and most of all supports the Legal workers.

Yesenia Carrillo 
Portland Office Paralegal

Yesenia joined the ICS team in December of 2017. Interested in how immigration informs identity formation and sense of belonging, Yesenia has focused her community service and academic research in Latina and Chicana communities in Portland, Los Angeles and Oaxaca. Born in Los Angeles to Mexican and Guatemalan parents, Yesenia’s work at ICS is strongly influenced by her multicultural upbringing and migrant roots.

As a paralegal at ICS, Yesenia is constantly inspired by the resiliency of our clients and uses her skill-set and experience to support them as they navigate an increasingly complex immigration system.

Carina Garcia 
Portland Office Unaccompanied Minors Program Legal Assistant

Carina has been working as a legal assistant for the ICS Unaccompanied Children Program since June of 2018. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and international studies, specializing in migration, displacement, and refugees. Beyond her work at ICS, Carina has experience in conducting academic research on transnational migration as a Ronald E McNair Scholar as well as grassroots and state-level organizing for immigrant rights in Oregon.

Carina’s work at ICS includes supporting the UAC attorney, conducting Know-Your-Rights presentations to detained youth in government custody, providing legal screenings and ensuring access to legal services. As a second generation immigrant, Carina’s work is motivated by her dedication to immigrant and human rights. In her free time, Carina enjoys oil painting and spending time with her family in rural Eastern Oregon.

Jean Sheppard 
Hood River Office Volunteer Attorney

Jean Sheppard is a full-time volunteer with ICS. She is new to immigration law, but has completed classes through the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Innovation Law Lab and Seattle University School of Law.

Prior to joining ICS Jean spent seventeen years as Associate Administrator at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital where she was responsible for all of the hospital support services. Jean has also been a public finance investment banker in New York and Chicago and began her career as a municipal bond attorney in New York and New Jersey.

Jean is the President of the Hood River County Library District and serves on the boards of the Hood River Rotary Club and the Hood River chapter of the United Way of the Columbia Gorge. She lives with her husband on their 30 acre pear orchard in Hood River.