Melissa is a staff attorney for the Detention Programs at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC) and joined PAIFUP in January 2021.


Immigration Judge Dana Leigh Marks made a now-iconic statement that immigration court cases are like death penalty cases being decided in a traffic court setting. Immigration law is civil (as opposed to criminal) law in name only. Persons detained by ICE potentially face lengthy incarceration and de facto death sentences if deported, without the right to legal counsel...unless, of course, they can afford to pay. Our American values of due process and fundamental fairness for all require that projects like PAIFUP continue to expand until universal representation becomes a reality. I am happy to become a part of such a critically important initiative to seek "liberty and justice for all."