Claudia Marchan, MBA
Executive Director

Claudia joined the NIJFON team in 2018 with a background in community organizing, community development, and financial management. Claudia’s passion for community organizing developed while volunteering and working for a non-profit in Pilsen where she led various social justice issues around access to education, early childhood initiatives, affordable healthcare, and comprehensive immigration reform amongst others. Claudia also organized and fundraised for Fiesta del Sol, the largest Latino fundraiser festival in the Midwest. Claudia’s local community work also includes Quality-of-Life Planning in Chicago neighborhoods.

Claudia holds a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in Accounting and Finance and an MBA from National Louis University (NLU) and is currently a part of the Community Psychology doctoral program at NLU where she is focusing her research on issues that she is passionate about: immigration justice and access to education with a focus on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Claudia was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon in Mexico, and immigrated to the US at the age of 4. Claudia grew up in Chicago and brings her own experience as a DACAmented immigrant to her work. Claudia and her husband Angel are raising two children and hope to instill in them a love and passion for education and helping others.

Jenny AnsayJenny Grobelski, J.D.
Supervising Attorney

The daughter of once-undocumented immigrants and granddaughter of refugees from Poland, Jenny has been working to keep immigrants in the United States since 2005. Prior to her current role with Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors, which started in October 2011, she was the supervisor of the DePaul Asylum and Immigration Clinic’s inaugural U Visa Summer Volunteer Project, a student in DePaul’s Asylum and Immigration Clinic, and a volunteer at the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR). Jenny is also an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Chicago Bar Association, NLG Chicago’s Next Gen Committee, and NLG’s National Immigration Project. She received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 2005 and her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law in 2010. Since January 2022, she has been an adjunct professor with the Villanova Interdisciplinary Immigration Studies Training for Advocates at Villanova University, where she aids in training folks to become immigrant advocates in order to fill the gap in immigration representation. She also consults with the Indo-American Center on the north side of Chicago, where she helps supervise the immigration work being done there while the organization is in transitional phases.

Ricardo Torres, J.D.
Staff Attorney

Ricardo was shaped by his family’s immigration experience. In 1950, a Texas rancher sponsored Ricardo’s grandfather from Chihuahua, Mexico, under the “Bracero” program and his mother was a derivative of that application. Ricardo was born in El Paso and raised in Van Horn, Texas. His parents taught him to take advantage of the opportunities offered in the U.S. His mother owned and operated a restaurant, and his father had a construction business. Growing up, Ricardo translated for his father’s business and helped his father learn English using a children’s dictionary. Ricardo obtained a B.A. from Texas A&M University (1994) and graduated from Northeastern University School of Law (1994).

Ricardo began his career in commercial contracts but in 2019, he found his calling working as an immigration attorney. After working at a law firm, he opened his own immigration practice in June 2020. He represented individuals in deportation proceedings before the Chicago Immigration Court and managed defensive asylum cases. Ricardo handled transactional cases, including petitions for legal permanent residency, citizenship, U-visas, DACA, and employment authorization. Ricardo also has criminal defense experience.

Ricardo’s interests are biking, fashion, and politics, and he has a cat named Toby. Ricardo “believes in NIJFON’s mission and wants to help immigrants in an honest and empowering manner.”

Ashley Santos, Paralegal

Ashley became a part of the NIJFON team in 2020 as the organization’s administrative legal assistant. Ashley is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who like many others came to the U.S. in search of a better life. Her parent’s story and stories from friends, family, and people in her community have inspired her to engage in work relating to immigration. Ashley is passionate about helping others and really enjoys serving her community through NIJFON. Ashley hopes to continue to fight for justice and uplift the voices and narratives of undocumented immigrants as she grows with the organization.

Dezi Hasani, LLM Paralegal

Dezi M. Hasani is a foreign-trained attorney, waiting to be admitted to United States Jurisdiction. She holds an LLM degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dezi has worked with immigration law for the past 2 (two) and has a unique appreciation of the difficult challenges people dealing with the immigration system have. Dezi has assisted senior attorneys with all aspects of trial preparation, from witness interviews, documentation preparation, DS-260’s, drafting various motions, affidavits of support, and court filings. 

Dezi says, “Being able to dedicate myself to immigration law while I work for NIJFON that has the knowledge, endurance, and dedication to provide help, create hope, and change lives gives me a sense of purpose”.

Dezi considers herself realistic and optimistic. She loves learning and understanding the world through traveling, experiencing different cultures, and reading. She is passionate about cooking, social justice, and personal growth. Dezi is fluent in Albanian, English, and Greek.

Diana Aguilar, Program Manager

Diana graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and minors in Spanish and Disability and Human Development. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Growing up in a community where there was limited access to resources for undocumented immigrants, Diana became passionate about helping her community.

Diana joined the NIJFON team in 2021. In her role, she connects immigrant families throughout Illinois to trustworthy citizenship and DACA legal services for free and low-cost consultations. Diana also supports leadership development efforts by managing the community navigator program. She also helps legal permanent residents prepare for their USCIS interviews.

When Diana is not working, you can find her painting, gardening or spending time with her family. She plans to use her passion for social justice to continue to advocate for underrepresented communities.

Karime Sanchez, Development & Communications Coordinator

Karime is a 2023 graduate from Columbia University in the City of New York with a BA in Ethnicity and Race Studies. At Columbia, she was involved in advocacy, scholarship, and service surrounding immigration and immigration justice, including being a co-director of Students for Sanctuary, a student-led immigration advocacy group on campus. She has worked in organizing as part of the Ethnicity and Race Studies Student Advisory Board at Columbia. Immigration justice is a close subject to Karime whose family has a long history of immigration from Mexico, with a great-grandfather who migrated as a bracero. Karime’s maternal and paternal grandparents, as well as her parents, eventually immigrated to the Chicago area as once-undocumented immigrants from Morelos, Mexico.

Karime joined the JFON network at our New York site (Immigration Law & Justice NY) in October 2022 as a Spanish-English translator, storyteller, and clinic manager. As NIJFON’s newsletter writer, Karime most enjoys speaking to clients and hearing their stories because she feels like she can form connections with people. She looks forward to continuing her passion for advocacy and justice at NIJFON.

When Karime is not working, you can find her reading, practicing yoga, trying new restaurants and fun places in the city, and spending time with friends and family.