Our Staff

Mekela Goehring, Esq.

Executive Director

Mekela Goehring has served as the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) since 2005. She began working at RMIAN in 2003 as the organization’s first detention staff attorney, representing detained clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Mekela’s passion for providing legal services began during fellowships at Community Legal Services in Yuma, Arizona, and Colorado Legal Services in Denver, Colorado. Prior to joining RMIAN, Mekela clerked for Judge James S. Casebolt at the Colorado Court of Appeals. Mekela graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned her J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law. She was admitted to the Colorado bar in 2002. Mekela has been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 2003.  In 2013, the American Immigration Lawyers Association awarded Mekela the Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award for her outstanding service in advancing the cause of human rights.

 

Laura Lunn, Esq.

Managing Attorney, Detention Program

Laura Lunn joined the Detention Program at RMIAN in August 2016. Directly before starting at RMIAN she served as the interim Managing Attorney for the CARA Pro Bono Project at the South Texas Family Residential Facility in Dilley, Texas. Previously, Laura was Associate Attorney at Lichter Immigration, PC, in Denver, Colorado, where she provided direct representation to clients obtaining immigration benefits through family-based petitions, DACA, asylum, U-Visas, VAWA, and Cancellation of Removal. Before moving to Colorado, she worked as an Associate Attorney at Immigration Law Group, PC, in Portland, Oregon. Following law school, Laura clerked as an Attorney Advisor for the El Paso Immigration Courts through the U.S. Attorney General's Honors Program, providing legal analysis to six judges on both detained and non-detained dockets. She attended the University of Iowa College of Law, where she was actively engaged in the immigration law clinic and was awarded a summer fellowship with the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights. During her time at Colgate University, Laura majored in Peace & Conflict Studies. Laura is a member of the Oregon and Iowa State Bars as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She serves as a member of the Colorado AILA Chapter's EOIR liaison committee and is also a committee member for the Colorado Bar Association's Immigration Law Section. Laura's efforts as a pro bono volunteer attorney for the family detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, were recognized when she and other attorneys involved in the project received the Oregon AILA Pro Bono Award for 2015 and the 2015 AILA Michael Maggio Pro Bono Award. She is proficient in Spanish.

 

Brittany Hurley, Esq.

LOP Supervisory Attorney, Detention Program 

Brittany Hurley first worked with RMIAN as a legal intern during the summer of 2009 and became an employee in June 2011. Brittany graduated from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, in August 2010.  While in law school, she was a member of the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy and the Spanish-Speaking Lawyers Association.  Prior to law school, Brittany worked with immigrant communities in various capacities, including in the education and private employment sectors. Brittany graduated from the University of Denver magna cum laude with a dual degree in History and Spanish.  While a student at the University of Denver, she was a recipient of two departmental awards, the Excellence in Spanish Language and Literature Award and the Outstanding Academic Performance in the Humanities Award.  Brittany is fluent in Spanish.

 

Megan Hope

Coordinator, Social Service and Human Trafficking Projects

Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative (DHS, EOIR, BIA)

Megan Hope joined RMIAN’s staff in October 2011. She has worked with immigrant communities since 1995, including as a staff member of Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas; grant writer and immigration paralegal with Legal Aid of Western Missouri's Migrant Farmworker Project; and board member and activist with numerous immigrant advocacy, workers' rights, and economic justice organizations. For several years she performed program consultations in Latin America and Asis for child sponsorship organizations. Megan has an MSW from the University of Denver, and MA in Latin American Studies and BA in anthropology and English from the University of Kansas.

 

Karina Benabe Packer

Social Worker, Detention Program

Karina Benabe Packer graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Anthropology and a master's degree in Social Work. After working in different areas of the nonporift sector for a few years, she found her passion for working with the immigrant community when she began volunteering with the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project in St. Louis, MO, primarily assisting with U-visa cases. She later served as a legal assistant for the organization, as well as for Biesenthal & Gray, LLC, a firm specializing in immigration and criminal defense, before moving to Denver in 2015. Karina is a native Spanish speaker.

 

Ashley Turner Harrington, Esq.

Managing Attorney, Children’s Program

Ashley Turner Harrington joined RMIAN's Children's Program as a part-time Staff Attorney in February 2014. Within RMIAN's Children's Program, Ashley provides "Know-Your-Rights" presentations at the Immigration Court's monthly Children's Docket and she represents immigrant youth in front of both the immigration court and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Prior to joining RMIAN, Ashley worked as an Associate Attorney for over three years at the private immigration law firm, Lichter Immigration. During law school at the University of Colorado, Ashley interned at the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center where she successfully represented asylum seekers and at the Immigrant Legal Center of Boulder County where she represented low-income immigrants. In law school, she earned a full merit scholarship, the Dufford and Brown Legal Writing Award, First Place in Appellate Advocacy Oral Argument Competition, and the Chase Human Rights, Women's Law Caucus, Equal Justice America, and Equal Justice Works Fellowships. Ashley went to law school after working as an advocate for several years with victims of domestic violence at Family Tree Women in Crisis and the YMCA Battered Women's Services. Her commitment to serving victims of abuse endures through her passion for representing immigrants in VAWA, SIJS, U-Visa, and T-Visa cases. Ashley is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is a native of Denver, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is proficient in Spanish.

 

Emily Bachman Brock, Esq.

Staff Attorney, Children's Program

Emily Brock is a 2012 graduate of The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, DC. She received her undergraduate degree in International Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Prior to law school she worked as a paralegal in the legal department of Morgan Stanley in New York. During law school, Emily joined the Families in Law Clinic as a student attorney where she represented low income victims of domestic violence under the supervision of licensed attorneys. Seeking more experience in immigration, she accepted an Equal Justice America fellowship to work as a legal intern at Ayuda, a not for profit organization in the DC area that provides legal and social services to immigrants. After graduating from law school, Emily joined Ayuda as a Pro Bono Attorney before moving to Colorado with her husband in April of 2013. Before joining RMIAN, Emily was an associate at the private immigration law firm, Green and Gardner LLC. Emily is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is proficient in Spanish. 

 

Alejandra Acevedo, Esq.

Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, Children's Program

Alejandra Acevedo is a 2009 graduate of American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. She received her undergraduate degree in Political Science with a certificate in International Relations and a minor in Mass Communications at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. Prior to law school, she was an elementary school Special Education Teacher. During law school, Alejandra served as a legal intern and Board Member for Save the Young Organization (SAYO), where she administered seminars on Human Rights, Domestic Violence, and Child Trafficking to neighboring communities of rural Kumbo, Cameroon. She also interned at the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office.  After law school, she worked at the National District Attorneys Association, National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse (NCPCA) as a law clerk. At NCPCA, she worked on Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth, child abuse, and human trafficking issues. After NCPCA, she worked as the Policy and Publications Specialist for the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat HumanTrafficking in the Reports and Political Affairs section, where she managed the publication of the Trafficking in Persons Report and conducted extensive research on human trafficking issues in countries around the world and relevant governments’ efforts to confront it, as well as special issues that affect multiple countries or regions.  Prior to joining RMIAN, Alejandra was a Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Specialist for the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC). In this position, she responded to the human trafficking related training and technical assistance (TA) needs of the OVC TTAC grantees, general victim service providers, law enforcement, and other affiliated professionals. It is through these experiences that she developed an interest in advocating for, and on behalf of, immigrant families.

 

Lauren Duke, Esq.

Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, Children's Program

Lauren Duke first worked with RMIAN as a pro bono attorney and became an Equal Justice Works Fellow in 2016. Lauren graduated Order of St. Ives from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 2014. Prior to law school, Lauren advocated for immigrants in Northwest Arkansas where she established the first Spanish adult basic education program in the state. She received the Chancellor’s Scholarship for her academic achievement and demonstrated commitment to public service. During law school, Lauren worked for the Spanish Speaking Lawyers Association to increase access to legal services in the immigrant community. She also worked for the law school’s civil litigation clinic with a focus on immigrant victims of wage theft. Prior to joining RMIAN, Lauren worked in private practice as an employment and civil litigation associate. Lauren graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas with a dual degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She also received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA) with a focus on non-profit management from the University of Arkansas, where she worked as an instructor for undergraduate Political Science classes.  

 

Alex Gavern, Esq.

Pro Bono Coordinator, Children's Program

Alex Gavern is a 2014 graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan. Before law school, Alex served as an AmeriCorps member in Tucson, Arizona, working at an alternative high school. His experience working with immigrant populations in Tucson sparked his desire to become an immigration attorney. Throughout law school Alex worked at the Michigan State College of Law Immigration Law Clinic where he represented children in immigration proceedings. During the summer of 2013, Alex interned at the Women's Refugee Commission in Washington, DC, advocating for immigration reform. Alex moved to Colorado shorty after graduation and worked in private practice before joining RMIAN. Alex is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. 

 

Elizabeth Zambrana, Esq.

Equal Justice Works Emerson Fellow

Elizabeth Zambrana is a 2015 graduate of Rutgers School of Law in Newark, New Jersey, and a recipient of the Equal Justice Works Emerson Fellowship. During law school, Elizabeth served as co-chair of the Women's Law Forum, Pro-Bono Chair of Students Opposed to Violence Against Women, and Coordinator of the Courtroom Advocate's Project. Through her service in these organizations, she advocated and raised awareness for survivors of gender-based violence. During the summer of 2014, Elizabeth interned at Her Justice in New York, working with immigrant survivors of gender-based violence and discovered her passion for working with immigrant populations. Her time working as a student clinical representative at the Immigrant Rights Clinic and a legal intern at the Executive Office of Immigration Review reaffirmed her commitment to working with indigent immigrant populations.

 

Yazmin Torres

Equal Justice Works Emerson Paralegal

Yazmin Torres graduated from the University of Denver in 2012 with a Bachelor's degree in International Business, and minors in Spanish and International Studies. While at DU, she was a prestigious Daniels Scholar and Dell Scholar. Prior to working at RMIAN, Yazmin worked at the immigration law firm of Elkind, Alterman, Harston, PC. The first in her family to graduate from college, Yazmin's empathy and understanding for immigrants comes from her family's journey. Her excellent written and oral skills in Spanish are an asset for many of RMIAN's clients. Yazmin plans to attend law school in the future to become an immigration attorney so she can help immigrants obtain lawful status to pursue their dreams, just as her family once was given the opportunity.

 

Kenny Hood

Program Coordinator

Kenny Hood worked as a Legal Assistant at RMIAN beginning in September 2012 and joined the staff in August 2013. He has an MA in International Human Rights from the University of Denver and a BA from University of Northern Iowa in Communication and Spanish, which he speaks proficiently. Prior to attending graduate school, Kenny served three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic where he worked in youth education and empowerment and where he developed a passion for working with immigrant populations.

 

Mayra Prieto

Legal Assistant

Mayra Prieto graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Management, the first in her family to graduate from college. While at MSU, she was a recipient of the CAMP and Reisher Scholarships. Prior to working at RMIAN, Mayra worked at the immigration law firm of Hernandez & Associates, PC, where she discovered her passion for working with the immigrant community. Mayra can relate to the struggles of the families that she works with daily as she was an immigrant herself who immigrated to the U.S. as a child.

 

Jessica Burnett

Yanan and Dan Schwartz Fellow, Detention Program

Jessica Burnett is a 2016 graduate of Boston University School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree in International Studies from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. During law school, Jessica worked as a student attorney in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic where she represented children and asylum seekers in immigration proceedings. Her experience with the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic inspired her to pursue a career working with immigrant populations. During her last year of law school, Jessica interned with the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project assisting clients with asylum claims and removal defense at the Boston Immigration Court. Jessica was one of eleven members of her law school class awarded a Public Service Fellowship to provide legal aid to disadvantaged communities. She will spend her fellowship with RMIAN providing direct representation to the vulnerable immigrant population at the Aurora detention facility.