Meet our Board of Directors

Lindsay Toczylowski, Executivde Director at Immigrant Defenders Law Center.

Juan Valles

President

Juan Valles is a supervising attorney at the Children's Law Center of California representing children in the Los Angeles County foster care system. Juan holds a Juris Doctor from the Fordham University School of Law and an MBA from Loyola Marymount University. Prior to his legal career, Juan advised undergraduate students at various California universities, including his undergraduate alma mater of the University of California, Berkeley. Juan sits on the boards of two other non-profit groups: St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Downey, California, and Tricklebee Café in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Juan and his husband, Raúl, share a home in City Terrace, just east of Downtown Los Angeles.

Susan Alva, Associated Director at Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Marisa Arrona

Board Member

Marisa is the Local Safety Solutions Project Director with Californians for Safety and Justice where she works with systems and community leaders across California to advance the Blueprint for Shared Safety, a framework of principles and practices that local leaders can use to advance shared safety strategies. By shifting the focus from over-incarceration to investments that focus on balanced approaches to safety rooted in dignity and smart justice, and that can truly make our communities safer, the Shared Safety framework aims to re-envision public safety altogether. Marisa received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and her B.A. in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.

Susan Alva, Associated Director at Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Ligiah Villalobos

Board Member

Ligiah Villalobos is a Writer, Producer, Consultant, Educator and Lecturer.  She is best known for the independent feature film Under the Same Moon, (La Misma Luna), which she wrote and executive produced. More recently, Villalobos was a Cultural Consultant on the Academy Award winning Pixar movie, COCO, and she wrote on two Netflix animated children’s series, Super Monsters’ Monster Pets and StarBeam. Villalobos co-wrote the Lifetime TV Movie, The Real MVP, produced by Queen Latifah.  She was the Head Writer on Nick Jr.’s, Go, Diego! Go! And she is the recipient of the Humanitas Prize, for writing the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Firelight, produced by Alicia Keys.

Susan Alva, Associated Director at Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Jennie Pasquarella

Board Member

Jennie Pasquarella is director of immigrants' rights and senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California. Ms. Pasquarella leads the ACLU of California’s statewide immigrants’ rights project, which, among other things, works to curtail abusive immigration and border enforcement practices, to end all forms of immigration detention, and to ensure access to effective counsel in criminal and immigration proceedings. She is a graduate of Barnard College and Georgetown University Law Center, where she earned her J.D. with a certificate in refugee and humanitarian emergencies and was a Public Interest Law Scholar.

Susan Alva, Associated Director at Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Leila Azari

Secretary & Parliamentarian 

Leila Azari is a 2008 graduate of New York University School of Law. At NYU, Leila participated in the Immigrant Rights Clinic, where  she developed a campaign to eliminate collaboration between the New York City police department and federal immigration authorities. After law school, Leila practiced litigation for six years at the law firms of Latham & Watkins and Sacks, Glazier, Franklin & Lodise. Leila has been associate counsel at the Writers Guild of America, West for over two years. She practices labor law and enforces an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement on behalf of film and television writers. 

Susan Alva, Associated Director at Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Alyson Parker

Treasurer

Aly Parker is an attorney at the California Department of Justice, where she represents the State in litigation related to health, education, and welfare policy and matters.  Before she joined the government, she spent 6 years in private practice in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s Los Angeles office where She was also involved in a variety of pro bono projects.  For this work, and for her work on ImmDef’s inaugural board, she was honored as the 2016 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by USC’s Public Interest Law Foundation.  Aly also practiced for two years in Tokyo, Japan as in-house counsel for a leading international chemical company.

Susan Alva, Associated Director at Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Marco Gomez

Board Member

Marco works for the California Labor Commissioner’s Office (DLSE) as the Regional Administrative Manager for Southern California. He oversees the efficient operation of Labor Commissioner’s offices throughout Southern California to ensure that workers are protected and wage theft is prosecuted. Prior to joining the Labor Commissioner’s Office, Marco worked for nonprofits such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project (a project of Catholic Charities). Marco has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with a focus in Business Arts Pre-legal from the College of Business and Economics at California State University, Los Angeles.