We have over 35 years of combined professional experience in immigration legal services for the LGBTQIA+ community, and we've helped over 700 LGBTQIA+ immigrants obtain asylum in the United States with a 99% success rate.
We are an independent non-profit 501(c)3 organization and are not affiliated with or funded by the US government.
Angelita graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Political Science. Prior to joining the Oasis team, she worked in workforce and youth development at nonprofits in San Francisco. The daughter of Central American immigrants, Angelita is passionate about immigrant rights and has volunteered for the San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative and the East Bay Naturalization Collaborative. In her free time, Angelita enjoys playing music, walking her friend’s dog June, and looking at memes on the bird app.
Melissa Diaz-Infante is a graduate of Boston College, where she attended as a Gates Millennium Scholar. Originally from Salinas, CA, she softened the sense of culture shock by working in college radio and desperately making tamales using banana leaves. Now in the Bay Area for over 12 years, Melissa still has no idea how she survived nor’easters and wears her winter coat any time it drops below 62 degrees. Analytical and creative, Melissa often seeks outlets that balance both sides of the brain. She has coordinated arts- and performance-related advertising at The San Francisco Chronicle and multi-faceted community arts projects for Intersection for the Arts, mentored young adults with Autism, worked on productions at Bindlestiff Studio, and has been a regular volunteer at Creative Growth Art Center for over two years. Melissa spends her free time going to live music shows, working on creative projects, riding her bike, and is learning Nahuatl.
Now an Oakland resident, Dominique Gelin grew up in Miami, Florida. Prior to joining Oasis, she worked on a number of political campaigns and eventually turned her attention to youth leadership development and civic engagement. Dom then entered the nonprofit world through a lovely interfaith organization based at The Presidio in San Francisco. Her love of logistics, a mean spreadsheet, and reminder e-mails make her the life of the party. When she’s not in the office, Dom enjoys live comedy.
Kusia is originally from Buffalo, NY, land of the snowy ‘lake effect’ and delicious wings. She earned her BA from Swarthmore College and MA from the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies, with a focus on China. Kusia’s interest in law started with an American Bar Association fellowship in Lviv, Ukraine, where she facilitated a rule of law democracy building project through partnership with a Ukrainian environmental public advocacy center. Kusia comes to Oasis with a UC Hastings JD and experience in various aspects of asylum law, having represented asylum seekers in affirmative, defensive, and appellate proceedings. Kusia obtained an Abascal Fellowship to develop the first staff attorney position at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, where she focused on gender-based affirmative asylum claims. Kusia then served as a Staff Attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Prior to starting at Oasis, Kusia served as an Asylum Officer with the San Francisco Asylum Office. When not working with asylum seekers, Kusia enjoys spending time with her family and pursuing outdoor adventures.
Ari graduated from UC Berkeley Law School in May 2018 and started a one-year Tom Steel Fellowship from the Pride Law Fund in September 2018. Ari is a Bay Area native and became interested in immigration work when their friends began coming out as undocumented in college. Ari has interned with Catholic Charities of the East Bay, California Rural Legal Assistance, and the USCIS Ombudsman’s Office. As a snapshot of Ari's work, they are currently representing clients in their lawful permanent residency applications, counseling clients on eligibility for social services and discrimination issues, and collaborating with state and local groups on immigration and public benefits policies. Ari is anti-borders, anti-prison, and very pro-tacos. In their free time, Ari loves to do crafts, experiment with makeup, and dabble in drag.
Rachel is a Bay Area native - born in Oakland and grew up in Berkeley – and now lives in Richmond. She always knew she wanted to be lawyer so after graduating from Berkeley High and Wesleyan University in Connecticut with a BA in Latin American Studies, Rachel enrolled at New York University School of Law hoping to change the world. During law school Rachel interned for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, in the Parole Division at the Public Defender Services of Washington, D.C., the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and Make the Road New York, an immigrant rights advocacy organization. Rachel’s love of working with clients brought her to Miami after law school where she worked for three years as a public defender and then back to Berkeley as a staff attorney at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. At EBSC, Rachel helped run the LGBTQ/HIV Asylum Program and supervised pro bono attorneys and law students. Rachel is fluent in Spanish after time spent living and studying in Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador. In her non-Oasis life, Rachel enjoys spending time with her partner, son, and dog, Didi (a frequent officer visitor), exploring all the beauty and quirkiness the Bay Area has to offer.
Caroline is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar in June of 2013. Prior to Oasis, she was an Emerson Legal Fellow at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) for four years. At EBSC, she oversaw the Program for Unaccompanied Minors. Caroline has dedicated her career to social justice issues, working with organizations such as the East Bay Community Law Center, the War Crimes Studies Center in Cambodia, and the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy in India.
Maria Elena is a Bay Area native and lives in Berkeley, California. Maria Elena mastered her listening skills while attending Berkeley High. She was the listener of her group and listened tentatively to her friends’ problems. She tried to offer the best guidance possible. Not surprisingly Maria Elena graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in psychology. Maria Elena thought she would one day be a child psychologist but little did she know her life would follow a different path. After graduating college, she began working in legal immigration services at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC). She worked at EBSC for fourteen years. She served as Coordinator of EBSC’s Asylum Program and was also a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative. At EBSC, Maria Elena discovered her passion for serving the LGBTQIA+ community, as an ally and advocate, and started EBSC’s LGBTQ/HIV Asylum Program in 2012, filing over 200 cases per year. Maria Elena’s clients continue to be her inspiration for doing the work that she does. At Oasis, Maria Elena is also a Department of Justice Accredited Representative. In her free time, Maria Elena enjoys spending time with her family and crafting.
Taylor was born in the Bay Area, and raised in Burlingame and the Central Valley. They graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a double major in Literature and Feminist Studies. They are currently a rising 3L and Tony Patiño Fellow-Elect at UC Hastings – College of the Law. Prior to law school they interned for Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP, and worked their 1L summer at the Health and Welfare Unit of the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) as the 2018 NAPABA Korematsu Fellow assisting HIV+ clients with their benefits needs. At UC Hastings, they were Vice President of APALSA, and a member of the NLG, and participated in the Mediation Clinic and the Community Group Advocacy and Social Change Clinic, wherein they worked with the Ella Baker Center. They are interested in social justice lawyering, including prison abolition advocacy, immigration, and civil and LGBTQIA rights. In their free time, they enjoy eating at all the tastiest East Bay veg spots, watching movies, and would like to meet your (or any) dog (for friendship).
Annalee is currently pursuing her JD at UC Hastings. Prior to law school, Annalee worked for three years as an immigration & criminal defense paralegal in Redwood City, CA. She has also worked to expose human rights abuses in California prisons and advocates for the abolishment of indefinite solitary confinement practices. Annalee earned her BA in Psychology/Law & Society from UC Riverside in 2013. She is a Bay Area native, born and raised in San Jose and now living with her partner and feline daughter in Oakland. Annalee is looking forward to a lifelong career advocating for the immigrant community.
Paola is a Bay Area native, born and raised in San Francisco, CA, in the Mission District. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.) in Legal Studies with a minor in Education. Paola is very passionate about advocacy for underrepresented communities and has mentored incoming first generation college students under the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) at UCSC. While at UCSC, Paola has also participated in conducting research with Sociology Professor Hiroshi Fukurai, who’s writing a book on the implementation of the U.S. legal system through historical documents on trials in Okinawa, Japan. Paola is entering her last year where she will continue her advocacy through the development of a program in Santa Cruz county called Walls to Bridges, to improve the relationship between incarcerated parents and their children. She plans on continuing this advocacy through the attendance of law school and potentially working in a fusion of immigration and criminal law.
Daniel is currently a rising 2L student at University of San Francisco School of Law. He is originally from Los Angeles but moved to San Francisco for Law School. Daniel graduated from University of California Riverside with a double major in Psychology and Economics. He decided to go to law school because he’s seen how the law affects marginalized groups and wants to make a positive impact in those people’s lives. Daniel is specifically interested in the field of immigration law because it hits close to home. He thinks now more than ever we need people who can bring immigrants' stories to light.
Rebecca is a San Diego native, and now resides in San Francisco to attend UC Hastings School of Law. A graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Rebecca studied Modern Languages and Literature, with a focus in Art History. Prior to attending law school, she worked in the immigration department at Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFSSD). In addition to managing JFSSD's immigration volunteers, Rebecca helped with DACA applications and renewals, organized immigration benefit workshops, and coordinated legal training events. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, practicing yoga, and dancing in front of the mirror.
Eduardo is originally from Colima, Mexico, but migrated to the Bay Area with his parents at the age of 2. He is currently an undergraduate student at UCLA, where he is pursuing a Bachelor's of Arts (B.A.) in Public Affairs and a minor in Labor & Workplace studies. Growing up undocumented, Eduardo became extremely passionate about obtaining liberation and equity for all immigrants in this country. While he is thrilled to be working with Oasis, he hopes that one day services like these are no longer necessary and that migration will be fully recognized as a human right, regardless of origin. Aside from immigrant rights, Eduardo is also very passionate about mental health services and has dedicated time to multiple branches of La Clinica de La Raza in Oakland, in order to address the lack of behavior health resources for low-income residents in the Fruitvale District. While at UCLA, he has spent time conducting research on the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in county jails in order to better understand recidivism, rehabilitation, and the importance of emotional wellness in the criminal justice system. While his life goals are to work towards abolishing I.C.E. and experiencing a world without borders, Eduardo looks forward to the possibility of attending law school and working as a public defender in the future.
Lizette Rojas is originally from Palm Springs, CA and currently resides in Oakland while attending Golden Gate University School of Law. She graduated in June 2017 from the University of California- Riverside where she majored in Political Science. As the oldest daughter to Mexican immigrants, from Oaxaca, she hopes to make her parents proud and be a good role model for her younger sisters. She has been passionate about becoming a lawyer since she was 8 years old, and became interested in immigration law in 2016 when she interned with her local congressman. In her free time, she likes hanging out with friends, watching tv, listening to music, exploring the Bay Area, and going to Disneyland when she goes home for school breaks.
Gwen grew up in the culturally diverse Mission District of San Francisco, she is extremely proud to be a native. Her parents immigrated from Mexico to provide her with a better future than their own. She managed to overcome her rough upbringing due to her parents legal status and is currently attending her last fall semester at San Francisco State University, where she is studying Liberal Arts (BA) . She has also studied Italian for three years and ASL (American Sign Language) for a year. She put her language skills to the test when she began working at a private clinic in San Francisco's Mission District where immigration medical exams were facilitated. She was in charge of patient intake and interpreting where her eagerness to help others grew. As a heavy advocate and activist for immigrant rights Oasis has become the perfect home to foster her growth and continue fight for her people. She believes in solidarity and power to the people!
Board of Directors
Isaak is an educator and somatic practitioner, teaching transformative practices to individuals and groups. He has been working with Bay Area nonprofits for the past ten years in development, program directing, and organizing. His leadership experience includes consulting with San Francisco Women Against Rape, Education Director with Bay Area Midrasha and board participation with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
China is Director of Operations and Finance at SumOfUs, a global digital campaign organization working to curb the growing power of corporations. China spent over 20 years at Tides as CFO, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director. She also serves on the boards of 350.org and the ACLU of Northern California.
Jessy’s volunteering and activism for the LGBTQIA+ Latinx community started at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and she later began participating in fundraisers and HIV/PrEP education.
Arata brings several years of experience supporting Bay Area non-profit and public agencies with strategic planning, policy analysis and financial management. As a native of Japan, he is passionate about working to promote immigrant/refugee rights and has worked on a number of LGBT asylum cases with founding members of Oasis.
Jack trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, India and Burma and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology, is a father, husband and activist, and author of 15 books.
Anna grew up in The Netherlands and came to the US when she was thirteen years old. Her last name is pronounced "Lay-part". She graduated from UC Berkeley in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the era when we still had to feed computers Fortran cards. In her early forties, her career took an unexpected turn when she started volunteering at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC). At EBSC, Anna found her new calling: She became a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative specializing in U Visa and affirmative asylum cases. Anna established EBSC’s U Visa Program for immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She is one of the co-founders of Oasis and served as volunteer Executive Director for two years before dedicating herself to the Oasis Legal Team. Anna has represented over 250 asylum seekers at their asylum interviews. In 2018, she was a Diablo Valley Magazine Threads of Hope honoree; watch her video here. In her spare time, Anna is an avid hiker, backpacker and mountain climber. She also plays saxophone in local jazz bands. She does not have any pets but wishes she had a Chinese Crested dog and/or a Komondor.
Daniel is a social worker in private practice. Previously, he was a Senior Director at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Dignity Health in San Francisco, where he developed their community services including their HIV services and the Glide medical clinic. He was one of the early innovators in social workers’ response to AIDS. Daniel served for many years on the Board of Dolores Street Community Services in San Francisco and served as Board Chair.
Rev. Rhina Ramos is an ordained United Church of Christ minister leading an open and affirming Spanish speaking congregation in Oakland. Her church, Ministerio Latino, was started in 2011 to welcome Latinx immigrants and also members of the LGBTQ community. Rhina was born in El Salvador and grew up during the civil war. Her understanding of the fight for justice was influenced by watching people rise up to fight for their human rights. In addition, as a lesbian woman, Rhina understands the experience and challenges Oasis clients face. She graduated from Hofstra University Law School in 1995, and practiced labor law for 5 years recuperating thousands of dollars in back pay for immigrant workers.
Dustin is a certified specialist by the State Bar of California in Immigration and Nationality Law and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He currently owns a private practice, Bankston Immigration Law Office. Dustin graduated from University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento with distinction. While in law school, Dustin began training in immigration law, working in the immigration clinic helping low-income individuals with their cases. After graduation , he volunteered at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant attending asylum interviews with indigenous Guatemalans and LGBT asylum seekers.
Mike received his BS in EECS at UC Berkeley and his MBA from UCLA. During his career he has worked for iconic tech companies including Apple and Yahoo! as well as several Silicon Valley startups. He has supported many progressive causes and is excited to be assisting the Oasis team in their mission.