Meet the team behind ImmigrationHelp.org.

Our mission is to help immigrants find freedom, opportunity, and love in the United States - without the high cost of an attorney.

Jonathan Petts

Jonathan is the proud husband and son of American immigrants. Prior to co-founding ImmigrationHelp.org, Jonathan practiced at two international law firms and graduated from both law school and college at the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as an advisor on international law to both the IMF and the World Bank. In 2017, Jonathan was recognized by FastCase as one of the 50 most innovative leaders in the legal profession. When he isn’t fighting for immigrant rights, Jonathan can be found at the gym, traveling, watching soccer, and reading.

Ben Jackson

Ben Jackson is a technologist and an expert at automating legal processes. He studied law at The Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he was awarded the Access to Justice Tech Fellowship and the Equal Justice Foundation fellowship. He has also served as a Guest Lecturer on legal automation at Harvard Law School. When he isn’t building products that help people navigate the U.S. legal system, Ben can usually be found in Downward-Facing Dog, hanging from a rock wall, or cycling long distances with regrettably insufficient sunscreen and water.

Edith Amoafoa-Smart

Edith is a native Ghanaian and an alum of Mount Holyoke College where she double-majored in International Relations and French, and minored in Law, Public Policy & Human Rights, with an African Studies certificate. She is passionate about social inclusion and human rights, and specifically about eliminating the policy barriers that prevent people from low-income backgrounds around the world from accessing the resources they need to live honorable, fulfilling lives. Prior to joining ImmigrationHelp.org, Edith served as a Junior Adviser for the Ghana Mission to the United Nations, conducted research on migrant labor in supply chains with Verité, and worked at a large international law firm as an immigration paralegal. She spends her free time writing fiction, blogging about books, and watching stand up comedy.

Justin Talarczyk

Justin is a rising 2L at Harvard Law School with a strong passion for increasing access to justice. The first in his household to graduate from college, he believes in the power of providing others with opportunities to flourish. He has worked closely with immigrant entrepreneurs through Harvard's law clinic, an experience that imbued him with a deep passion for removing obstacles to the American Dream. When he isn’t refining systems and processes or assisting IHO Users, he can be found at the gym, watching sports, or catching up on his favorite podcasts.

Lavinia Teodorescu

Lavinia is a Romanian international student at Harvard University, who is passionate about making immigration easier. She began learning about immigration challenges in high school, when many of her friends were struggling to immigrate to Romania from Turkey. She is currently studying Political Science and Arabic, and wants to increase access to humanitarian visas for people affected by conflict. In the past three years, Lavinia has traveled between Romania, the US, Senegal, Denmark and the UK. She loves dancing and attending cultural events, and can often be found in the kitchen, trying recipes from all around the world.

Fernando Urbina

Fernando Urbina is a rising Junior at Harvard University and is studying Government with a Secondary Field in Ethnicity, Migration, & Rights. Fernando is passionate about Latin American politics, immigration, and Latinx Studies. At Harvard, Fernando serves as the Vice-President of Harvard-Radcliffe RAZA, the Executive Director of the Harvard Chicanx Conference, the Co-Chair of the Latinx Caucus on the Undergraduate Council, the Civil Engagement Chair for Harvard Fuerza Latina, a Secretariat member for HNMUN, and a member of the Board of Directors for the International Relations Council. He also formerly interned at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.

Salma Elzarka

Salma Elzarka is a marketer and a TEDx speaker. She’s a cancer survivor who became a cyborg and a motivational speaker. She studied Marketing at the Arab Academy University in Egypt, where she worked as a Teaching Assistant. She’s currently doing her Academic Masters in Marketing. In 2019, she was recognized as one of the top 50 most inspirational women in Egypt. Participating in nonprofits was always an interest of hers. She seeks to know more about the American immigration system while helping as many people as possible to navigate it. When she’s not working on helping immigrants, she can be found traveling, reading, or giving motivational talks.

Yao Yin

Yao is a rising Sophomore at Harvard University studying Physics and CS. She is originally from Shenzhen, China and came to the US when she was 14. She is dedicated to using technology for social good. At Harvard, she serves on the board of Harvard Women In Bussiness and on the committee of Harvard Women in Bussiness. She is also involved in research at the Center of Astrophysics. She loves cooking, running, painting, and learning about new technology stacks.

Carlos Valenzuela

Carlos A. Valenzuela is a NY-based immigration attorney who focuses on family and humanitarian immigration matters. After graduating New York Law School, Mr. Valenzuela worked as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow with the Safe Passage Project. In December 2016, he volunteered with the CARA Pro Bono Project at the South Texas Family Residential Detention Center in Dilley, Texas. During his time with CARA, Mr. Valenzuela helped detained women and children prepare for credible fear interviews, which, if passed, resulted in their release from detention. This transformative experience inspired him to dedicate his career to advocating for immigrant rights. Together with his partner Juan Chiquillo, he currently runs the NY Immigration firm Chiquillo & Valenzuela Law.

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