Neighbors Link Community Law Practice is the legal arm of Neighbors Link, providing a full array of immigration legal services, from citizenship applications to removal proceedings. We represent a wide array of immigrant New Yorkers, especially those from the northern tier countries in Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras but also including the Caribbean, West Africa, Latin American, the Middle East and Russia. We represent both detained and non-detained individuals, as well as both adults and children, in NY family court, before ICE, USCIS, EOIR, BIA and in federal court.

Immigration Law Helpline

Neighbors Link is committed to providing quality immigration legal services. If you need advice with an immigration matter, please call 914-502-3377 on Thursdays from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Our Legal Helpline is Closed July 4th for the holiday and will reopen on July 11th. Happy 4th of July!
Nuestra línea de ayuda legal estará cerrada el 4 de julio por día feriado y se reabrirá el 11 de julio. ¡Feliz 4 de julio!

Volunteer Opportunities with Neighbors Link Community Law Practice

Pro bono attorneys and non-attorney volunteers are crucial to our success. Our volunteers offer assistance in many ways: they assist us to prepare asylum applications and family court petitions; they conduct country conditions and legal research and writing, they assist us to prepare our clients for trial, they meet with clients and prepare immigration forms at legal clinics; they help clients to interact with government agencies and professional offices to get records they need for their cases, and they assist us in creating legal education materials for other advocates and the public. There are many ways to be involved in our work and we will tailor our volunteer opportunities based upon the interests and availability of our volunteers.

Direct Representation Opportunities

Neighbors Link can provide both affirmative and litigation opportunities. An example of a recent direct representation opportunity is when a firm secured asylum protections for a woman fleeing forced marriage and gender based persecution from Gambia after filing her asylum application and representing her in her asylum interview before USCIS. Another example is when a firm agreed to represent a client of Neighbors Link who was detained in Texas after fleeing gang violence in Guatemala and whose applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture had been denied there, in a petition for review before the US court of appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Our attorneys partner with the firm to research and write the legal arguments.

Other Opportunities to Donate Time

Many of our volunteers work on legal research and writing projects. In these opportunities, volunteers work on their own schedule. This kind of volunteer opportunity can take many forms, but one example is a volunteer met with clients, researched case law, met with country condition experts, and assisted in the preparation of a Nigerian family’s applications for asylum and cancellation of removal. She then was able to second chair the Neighbors Link attorney at trial.

For more information on volunteering with Neighbors Link Community Law Practice, please contact Ali Leisawitz or Daniela Valdovinos at volunteerinfo@neighborslink.org.

Educational Presentations

Are you interested in updates on immigration policy and law, including Knowing Your Rights, DACA, Citizenship and more? Visit our YouTube page for current webinars and PSAs.

We also provided in-person educational presentations to community organizations and groups. To inquire about this, call 914-666-3410.

Neighbors Link Community Law Practice Staff

Karin Anderson Ponzer is the Director of Neighbors Link Community Law Practice, where she leads a team of 24 attorneys and DOJ accredited representatives in providing free immigration legal services to immigrant New Yorkers throughout the lower Hudson Valley.  She has extensive experience and expertise in immigration legal practice, immigration policy advocacy, and not-for-profit legal services management. Her particular passions are all things removal defense, procedural due process, and expanding access to justice. She earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law and a Ph.D. in Politics and Historical Studies from the New School for Social Research. She is the Chair of the Committee on Immigration Representation of the New York State Bar Association. She is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

Elizabeth Mastropolo, the managing attorney of Neighbors Link Community Law Practice, provides direct legal assistance to immigrants throughout the Hudson Valley in a myriad of cases before both United States Immigration and Citizenship Services and before the Immigration Court. She is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey and before the Immigration Court. Elizabeth completed her Juris Doctorate at St John’s University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude, and where she was awarded the Pro Bono Service Award as well as the Dianne Marie Arrue Memorial Award for her extraordinary commitment to Public Interest. She also won a CALI award for excellence in Legal Analysis, Writing and the Dean’s award for her work in the Child Advocacy Clinic where she represented children in abuse and neglect petitions before the New York Family Court. In addition to providing direct legal services at Neighbors Link, Elizabeth provides community education and advocacy to increase the community knowledge of topics affecting immigrants in the Hudson Valley. Elizabeth is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Westchester Women’s Bar Association, the Rockland Immigration Coalition and the Westchester County Bar Association.

Angela Aguilar is an Administrative Assistant at Neighbors Link. In her role, she supports the legal team and assist attorneys with data entry, language translation interpretation and other clerical work around the office. Angela comes from Mexican immigrant parents and always with the desire to help people. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies and Spanish from St. Bonaventure University. In her free time, she likes to give back to her community and spend time with friends and family.

Lourdes Aguilar is a staff attorney and ONA Legal Counsel at Neighbors Link Community Law Practice. She received a dual Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Psychology from Stony Brook University and received her Juris Doctor from Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. She is licensed to practice law in New York, Connecticut and Immigration Court. Throughout her law school career, Lourdes worked with various public interest organizations including Pace Women’s Justice Center, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the Immigration Justice Clinic. Lourdes has represented various individuals, before Family Court, Immigration Court and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Lourdes participates in community education and Know Your Rights presentations in the Hudson Valley.

Lourdes is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her personal experience has allowed her to understand the struggles and challenges faced by underrepresented individuals. Lourdes hopes to devote her law career to advocating for underrepresented communities and providing them with a meaningful access to justice.

Constanza Bentancor is currently a Dept. of Justice partially accredited representative and bilingual paralegal administrator at Neighbors Link Community Law Practice. She studied Sociology, with a concentration in Community and Environment, and graduated with a Bachelor degree in Science at SUNY Oneonta. As an Ossining native and her involvement as an AmeriCorps member and legal intern at the Westchester Hispanic Coalition (now Make the Road New York) in White Plains, New York, Constanza has experience in community outreach and advocacy. She is a dedicated employee who is conscientious and has a genuine interest in contributing to social programs that address issues surrounding immigration. Her goal is to help empower others, improve opportunities for the disadvantaged and generate support for underserved populations.

Jonathan Campozano began his career practicing immigration law as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow at the Empire Justice Center in Yonkers. There, he represented immigrants in an array of immigration matters including deportation defense, asylum applications, and other forms of relief. Following his time as a fellow, he joined the New York State Senate Democratic Majority as Associate Counsel where he worked on significant pieces of legislation including the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act and the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act (Green Light NY). Recently, Jonathan worked as an Assistant County Attorney for Westchester County’s Law Department in their Family Court Bureau.

Jonathan graduated from SUNY Purchase where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies. Subsequently, he obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

Beatriz Capellan is the Legal Services Data Coordinator. Prior to joining Neighbors Link, she achieved a degree in Advertisement, Marketing and Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology. In her free time, you can find her enjoying architectural designs and visiting museums.

Neissa Fils, born and raised in Haiti is an Immigration Paralegal at Neighbors Link. A proud graduate of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University, they were inspired to pursue a career in International Relations with a concentration in International Law due to their passion for Human Rights.  Prior to working at Neighbors Link, they were a per diem intern at the Haitian Immigration Project as a way to help their community. They are also a Logistics Specialist for the United States Navy and a proud member of the New York State Navy Militia. In their free time, they can be found reading a book while drinking an iced coffee under the sun, at a museum, or event in another country.

Jay Leon joined the Neighbors Link Community Law Practice as a paralegal and advocate after volunteering there for almost two years. He received a certification from the Villanova University College of Professional Studies through their Villanova Interdisciplinary Immigration Studies Training for Advocates (VISTA) program. He is currently in the process of obtaining full Department of Justice Accreditation.

Jay previously worked in the television industry as a media and marketing research professional for over thirty years, most recently as the Vice President of Insights for Turner Sports, a division of WarnerMedia (now Warner Bros. Discovery). He also served almost nine years on the Ardsley, NY Board of Trustees, six of them as mayor. He has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Ardsley-Secor Volunteer Ambulance Corps for over ten years, and is a certified Emergency Medical Responder.  He holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Baruch College Zicklin School of Business.

Shoshanna Malett, J.D., L.L.M., senior staff attorney at Neighbors Link Community Law Practice, is an immigration attorney with 30+ years of experience that includes working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice, leading nonprofit organizations and in private practice. She also teaches graduate school-level immigration law in New York City, has published numerous articles in legal journals and is a sought-after expert on immigration legal matters. A 1990 graduate of CUNY School of Law, Shoshanna obtained her L.L.M. in International Human Rights law in 1994 from The Washington College of Law at American University and is admitted to practice in New York.

Magdalena Mazurek is a paralegal, and member of the Rapid Response team.  She was born in Poland but is fluent in both Polish and Spanish.  She completed her undergraduate studies at Skidmore College and earned a Masters in Public Administration from CUNY Baruch.  She is a long-time Westchester resident and is happy to work with recent arrivals. She is currently in the process of obtaining Department of Justice Accreditation.

Leslie S. Molina is a bilingual paralegal administrator with the Neighbors Link Community Law Practice.  She is the daughter of Central American immigrants. She received a dual degree in Philosophy, Politics and Law and Sociology from SUNY Binghamton. Leslie also received her Master’s Degree in Migration, Superdiversity and Policy from the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Her thesis focused immigration enforcement, policies and practices and its impact on mixed-status families in the United States. Leslie has also recently co-authored an article with NLCLP attorneys’, Karin Anderson Ponzer and Elizabeth Mastropolo titled, “Immigration Law and Its Impact on the Family: What Group Therapists Need to Know.”

Magali Ramírez is a Paralegal with Neighbors Link Community Law Practice. Magali emigrated from Mexico with her family when she was 4 years old. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degrees in Political Science at SUNY Oneonta. During her time at Oneonta, she interned with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute at the U. S. Senate in Washington D.C. and with the New York State Assembly in Albany, NY. She participated and gained first-hand knowledge of the legislative procedures at the federal and state level. Magali is committed to helping underrepresented voices navigate the complex immigration system and hopes to acquire her Juris Doctorate Degree in the near future.

Gloria Roman is a bilingual paralegal administrator and partial Department of Justice Accredited Representative with the Neighbors Link Community Law Practice. She is a native of Colombia and has lived in Westchester County since she migrated to the US in 1984. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from Mercy College.Gloria worked in Catholic Charities from 2000-2021 as a DOJ Accredited Representative. During her tenure with the organization, she provided services to several counties of New York: Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan, Orange and Ulster. While there, she met with hundreds of people completing countless applications for a variety of different legal immigration statuses as well as representing clients before US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

She considers her job a mission and feels blessed to work towards improving and empowering the lives of the immigrant communities of New York.

Sandra P. Sacaza is a Bilingual paralegal with the Neighbors Link Community Law Practice. She is a native of Honduras and has lived in New York for most of her life since migrating from Honduras in 1988. She obtained an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies from Bronx Community College and recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Justice and Law Administration from Western Connecticut State University.

Andrea Barba Sánchez was proudly born and raised in Michigan by immigrant parents who migrated to the United States from Mexico. She is a native Spanish speaker. Andrea graduated from Albion College in 2019, where she studied political science, mathematics, and public service. During her time at Albion, she worked at a small family law firm in Michigan, volunteered with a local non-profit filling out Medicaid applications for low-income families, and interned at a refugee center during her time studying abroad in Athens, Greece. Prior to joining Neighbors Link Community Law Practice, she served as Mercy Volunteer at Catholic Migration Services as a naturalization counselor, then as a paralegal for the Removal Defense Team, and later represented immigrants as a Department of Justice Accredited Representative. Andrea is committed to empowering immigrants to know and exercise their rights as they navigate a complex and deeply flawed immigration system. She is in the process of renewing her Department of Justice Accreditation.

Peter V. Steward is the Office of New Americans (ONA) Legal Liaison and DOJ Accredited Representative before USCIS at Neighbors Link. He is a Westchester New York native, having been born and raised in White Plains, New York. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Kalamazoo College in International Area studies concentrating in African studies, in 2016. Continuing his interest in international studies he joined the Peace Corps as a Community Economic Development Specialist, and served the community of Bercoli in Timor-Leste from 2017-2019. He is currently fluent in English, Spanish and Tetun. From his studies, and experiences, he is more motivated than ever to work with and develop key relationships with immigrant communities and to provide quality legal services to clients here in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Elizabeth “Lilly” Tonne-Daims is a senior immigration attorney at Neighbors Link Community Law Practice. While she concentrates in crim-imm law, she represents clients in an array of immigration matters including affirmative applications and removal defense. Previously, she was a Regional Immigration Assistance Center attorney, providing mandated Padilla advice to assigned criminal counsel with noncitizen clients on the immigration consequences of criminal matters. She also conducted regular trainings on crim-imm issues for both criminal and immigration attorneys, and performed advocacy work with the New York City ICE-Out-of-Courts Coalition. Before that, she spent several years in private practice where she represented clients in a variety of affirmative applications at Seham, Seham, Meltz & Petersen, and then at Gehi & Associates where she focused primarily on removal defense. Lilly speaks Spanish and has dedicated her career to the practice of immigration law, and advocacy of immigrant rights.

Sabrina N. Tuquinagui is a Paralegal with the Neighbors Link Community Law Practice. She is a proud daughter of Ecuadorian Immigrants and as an Ossining native she is eager to work with communities around her. She is fluent in both English and Spanish. Sabrina is a recent graduate from SUNY Oneonta where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Criminal Justice. Her personal experience has provided her with valuable understanding and appreciation of the immigration process. She deeply understands the challenges many clients face and this has allowed her to connect with her clients which is what motivates her to provide our clients with the best care and attention.

Natalie Urgiles is a paralegal with the Neighbors Link Community Law Practice. As an Ossining native and the daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants, Natalie is dedicated to assisting and empowering immigrant communities. Natalie received a dual Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Journalism from New York University. During her time at NYU, Natalie was actively involved in various leadership roles, serving as the Director of Programming for NYU’s Undergraduate Law Society and founding a mentorship program tailored to supporting underserved students. Natalie is committed to fostering a more inclusive and equitable environment for those navigating the immigration system, ensuring that underrepresented individuals have access to the legal resources and support they need.

Susan Weissert is a paralegal at Neighbors Link Community Law Practice, and volunteer translator/interpreter for the legal team. Prior to coming to Neighbors Link, Susan coordinated the Dominican Sisters’ Infant-Toddlers Parent Program in the South Bronx for five years. After receiving an M.A. in Social Policy, she coordinated the AIDS Task Force for Maryknoll, providing workshops and advocacy training about the global HIV and AIDS crisis to U.S. groups. Previously Susan worked for 12 years in grassroots education programs in Chile and Peru. She originates from South Bend, IN, where she earned an M.A. in counseling psychology and served as Coordinator of Adult and Community Education. Away from work, she loves a good book, digging in the garden, and family/friend time. Susan appreciates this magnificent team.

Melanie Zamenhof is a Senior Staff Attorney at Neighbors Link Community Law Practice leading the New York Legal Response Team. She earned her B.A. from University of California Berkeley and received her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. She additionally participated in programs at the University of Oxford in England, Lund University in Sweden, and Universidad de le Habana in Cuba.  She is licensed to practice law in Minnesota, Northern and Western Districts of New York, Tax, Bankruptcy and Immigration Court. Melanie served as the Director of Refugee Resettlement and Legal Services for Jewish Family Services of Greenwich (a HIAS affiliate) as well as various public interest organizations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and California. Melanie worked in numerous private firms and completed her clerkship in the Criminal Division in Cumberland County Superior Court in New Jersey. Melanie has represented various individuals before Criminal Court, Immigration Court, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and numerous Federal Circuit Courts. In addition to limited scope asylum work at six shelters in Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley, Melanie participates in community education and Know Your Rights presentations. Melanie is the Director of Member Engagement for the Westchester County Bar Association and runs the calendar for Continuing Legal Education.

Melanie aims to zealously advocate for the underprivileged and forgotten in society and empower individuals with the knowledge of their status and the benefits and consequences of their options.

Lesly Zhingri is a bilingual Legal Administrative Assistant at Neighbors Link. She is a recent graduate from John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Legal studies. Lesly is a proud daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants with a deep appreciation for diversity and a strong sense of community values. She enjoys playing soccer and in her free time, she can be found hiking a new trail or volunteering.