Adina Appelbaum, Esq.
Program Director, Immigration Impact Lab
Adina created and leads the Immigration Impact Lab, CAIR Coalition's first-ever federal courts and appellate impact litigation project. She has litigated several individual and class action impact cases on behalf of immigrant adults and children who are detained and facing deportation involving asylum law, due process and detention, and the intersection of criminal and immigration law, including Bah v. Barr, et al. No. 1:19-CV-641, 2019 WL 4247823 (E.D. Va. Sept. 6, 2019), Obando-Segura v. Whitaker, No. GLR-17-3190, 2019 WL 423412 (D. Md. Feb. 1, 2019), Martinez v. Sessions, 892 F.3d 655 (4th Cir. 2018), Mauricio-Vasquez v. Whitaker, 910 F.3d 134 (4th Cir. 2018), and Mauricio-Vasquez v. Crawford, No. 1:16-cv-01422 (AJT), 2017 WL 1476349 (E.D. Va. Apr. 24, 2017). As an adjunct professor, Adina co-taught a seminar on the intersection of criminal and immigration law at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.
From 2015-2017, Adina was an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Arnold & Porter Foundation at CAIR Coalition, where she created and led the Crim-Imm Pro Bono Project to expand access to counsel trained in the intersection of criminal and immigration law and impact litigation to defend detained immigrants facing deportation due to convictions. For this Project, Forbes highlighted her in its 30 under 30 Law and Policy list.
Adina graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with joint Juris Doctor and Master of Public Policy degrees, a Certificate in Refugee & Humanitarian Emergencies, and as a Public Interest Law Scholar and Global Law Scholar. She represented clients at Georgetown Law's Center for Applied Legal Studies Asylum Clinic and Juvenile Justice Clinic and completed legal internships at the Arlington Immigration Court, CAIR Coalition, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender Immigration Program, the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Asylum Access Ecuador.
Prior to law school, Adina was a Fulbright Scholar in Cairo, Egypt, where she provided legal aid to refugees fleeing persecution from across Africa and the Middle East. She holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in Urban Studies and International Area Studies and is admitted to practice law in Virginia, the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Alison Steffel is a third-year law student at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. After taking time off during college to work with Sudanese refugees in Egypt, she decided to pursue law school, hoping to shape a more just immigration system.
Throughout her law school career, Alison has assisted asylum seekers in the California Bay Area and at the US-Mexico border. She has worked on behalf of detained clients to advocate for their bond hearings and other forms of relief. Alison also conducted research in Tapachula, Mexico focusing on the intersections of racism and misogyny that prevent Haitian women from accessing legal and humanitarian aid.
Alison received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University in 2016. In her free time, Alison enjoys paddle boarding, camping, hot yoga, and spending time with her friends.
Equal Justice Works Fellow
Austin Rose is an Equal Justice Works fellow with the CAIR Coalition Immigration Impact lab, carrying out a two-year project sponsored by the Arnold & Porter Foundation that brings together federal habeas litigation, pro bono coordination, and public advocacy to secure the release of individuals subject to prolonged detention in the DMV region.
Austin graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University with a B.A in Government and cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a Public Interest Fellow and a student representative in the Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown’s asylum law clinic. He began his immigration legal career helping to represent immigrant youth in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases with the Esperanza Center in Baltimore, MD. Throughout college and law school, he interned with CAIR Coalition’s Detained Adult Program and Immigration Impact Lab, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, Maryland Office of the Public Defender, CARECEN, Migration Policy Institute, and the Institute for Women in Migration. Austin also served as a long-time organizer with the volunteer collective Sanctuary DMV. He is fluent in Spanish and an avid soccer fan.
Jenny Kim, Esq.
Jenny Kim is a Managing Attorney with CAIR Coalition’s Immigration Impact Lab. Jenny brings impact litigation cases on behalf of detained immigrants in federal court.
Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Jenny was a Staff Attorney with the Citizenship Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles. Jenny provided direct representation to clients with complex criminal and immigration histories in their immigration cases. Jenny also served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Domestic Violence Bureau of the Kings County District Attorney's Office. During law school, Jenny provided immigration legal services and conducted policy research through the University of Michigan Law School's Human Trafficking Clinic, Asylum Access Ecuador and Lutheran Social Services of New York.
Jenny graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and received her Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies from Columbia University. Jenny is admitted to practice law in New York, California, the Central District of California, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Fourth Circuits. Jenny speaks Korean and Spanish.
Melody Vidmar, Esq.
Melody Vidmar is a Staff Attorney with CAIR Coalition’s Immigration Impact Lab. She brings impact litigation actions on behalf of detained immigrants in immigration and federal courts.
Melody graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where she earned her J.D. and Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. While at Georgetown, she represented an asylum seeker in immigration court as part of Georgetown Law’s immigration clinic and conducted intake for the clinic as a staff member. Throughout her law school career, Melody worked on criminal justice and prison reform issues in Alaska and Massachusetts through the ACLU of Alaska and Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts. She conducted field research and advocated for fishermen in Hawaii vulnerable to forced labor practices as part of Georgetown’s Human Rights Institute.
Melody received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Oklahoma, summa cum laude, in 2016. She is admitted to practice law in Virginia, the Eastern and Western District Courts of Virginia, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Peter is a recent JD graduate of Boston College Law School. As a law student, he worked on numerous immigration cases before different agencies and federal courts over the course of four semesters and a full-time summer job with the BC Law Immigration Clinic, including successfully winning asylum for a detained Iraqi man in the Boston Immigration Court. Peter also participated in his school's year-long Ninth Circuit Appellate Project clinic, where he and a team of two other students completed opening and reply briefs and prepared for oral argument in a Salvadoran CAT case before the Ninth Circuit. He also served as a full-time summer legal intern in the Immigration Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services, and spent a year working part-time for a Boston immigration law firm. Peter has also completed extensive immigration-related coursework to build both his substantive and practical knowledge of immigration law.
Peter is originally from North Carolina and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor's degree in Russian and political science. After college, he spent three years living in Warsaw, Poland teaching English as a foreign language to adults. He speaks Polish, Russian, French, and Spanish.
Sam Hsieh, Esq.
Senior Attorney; Coordinating Legal Liaison
Sam Hsieh is a Senior Attorney with CAIR Coalition’s Immigration Impact Lab. She has litigated impact litigation actions on behalf of detained immigrant adults and children in immigration proceedings and federal courts, including Arita-Deras v. Wilkinson, No. 19-1978, 2021 WL 821393 (4th Cir. March 4, 2021); Songlin v. Crawford, No. 3:19-cv-895, 2020 WL 5240580 (E.D. Va. Sept. 2, 2020); J.N.C.G. v. Warden, Stewart Detention Ctr., No. 4:20-cv-62, 2020 WL 5046870 (M.D. Ga. Aug. 26, 2020); J.S.G. v. Stirrup, No. 1:20-cv-1026, 2020 WL 1985041 (D. Md. April 26, 2020); and Nunez-Vasquez v. Barr, 965 F.3d 272 (4th Cir. 2020) (as amicus).
Prior to joining CAIR Coalition, Sam was a staff attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where she wrote memoranda and proposed opinions for federal appeals in a wide variety of areas, including immigration law. Sam previously worked as an immigration attorney at a private firm in Washington, D.C. with a focus on asylum law. She graduated with honors from The George Washington University Law School, where she received a full-tuition merit scholarship. In law school, she interned at a private immigration firm and the Department of Justice, in addition to representing low-wage workers in the school's Public Justice Advocacy Clinic.
Sam received her Bachelor of Sciences with Honors in political science and economics from the University of Michigan. She is admitted to practice law in Virginia; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits; and the District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. She is proficient in Mandarin Chinese.