Our Legal Team

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Alissa Cardenas Harrison

Staff Attorney

Alissa  joined the Detention Program at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC) in York, Pennsylvania in January 2020. Prior to working at PIRC, Alissa worked for the Pennsylvania Department of State and has spent the majority of her legal career thus far as an Assistant District Attorney assigned to the Special Crimes Unit where she helped children and victims of sexual assault through the criminal justice system.  


  Alissa earned a Juris Doctor from the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University in 2014 and a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University in 2011. Alissa is currently licensed in Pennsylvania and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Lilah Thompson

Staff Attorney

Lilah joined Nationalities Service Center (NSC) in February 2020. Prior to joining NSC, Lilah worked at the U.S. Department of Justice as an Attorney Advisor at the New York and Philadelphia Immigration Courts.


Lilah graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2017, where she was a member of the International Criminal Court Moot Court team, President of the Student Public Interest Network and the Temple Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and a student attorney in the Sheller Center for Social Justice’s Social Justice Lawyering Clinic.  Lilah interned with HIAS Pennsylvania and at the U.S. Department of Justice (Civil Division), Office of Immigration Litigation. She is a member of the Pennsylvania bar and is fluent in Spanish.

Benjamin Hooper

Supervising Attorney 

Ben joined the Detained Programs at at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC) in January 2018. As a legal aid attorney and manager since 1999, Ben’s advocacy work has included federally subsidized housing, mortgage foreclosure, domestic violence and immigration.  Immediately prior to joining PIRC, Ben worked at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence where he coordinated the Civil Legal Representation Initiative, providing legal service to victims of domestic violence in twenty-two counties across Pennsylvania.  Ben earned his J.D. degree from Northeastern University, and a B.A. in Political Science at Binghamton University.

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Ryan Brunsink

Managing Attorney

Ryan is Managing Attorney for Detention Programs at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC). He oversees PIRC’s detention work including, the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), direct representation of vulnerable persons, representation through the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP) for individuals deemed not competent to represent themselves before the immigration court, and PAIFUP representation.


Ryan joined PIRC as a staff attorney in 2015, and graduated, cum laude, from Pepperdine University School of Law in May of 2014. Ryan obtained a BA in Economics and Religious Studies at the University of Virginia in 2008 and remains an avid Wahoo fan.

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Jonah Eaton

Supervising Attorney

Jonah specializes in refugee and asylum law and is the Nationalities Service Center's Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR) staff attorney, providing pro bono legal representation for victims of torture. In addition to his PPR work, Jonah represents immigrants in a wide range of legal issues before USCIS, Immigration Court, and U.S. District Court and Court of Appeals.


Jonah co-teaches the Refugee Law and Policy class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Prior to joining NSC, he was a Bates Fellow at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Bureau for Europe in Brussels, Belgium, where he worked on impact litigation before the European Court of Justice and litigation involving refugee rights in the European Union. Jonah is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the University of Michigan Law School.

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Karina Suarez

Program Coordinator

Karina joined PIRC in January 2020 as the Program Coordinator for their Detention Programs. She is a recent graduate from Indiana University where she earned her Master of Science in Public Affairs specializing in international development and sustainability. Most recently, Karina worked for the City of Bloomington, Indiana to facilitate accessibility advocacy efforts. As the proud daughter of two Mexican immigrants, she is passionate about immigrant rights. Karina is fluent in Spanish. 

Working Group

Andrew BaranoskiExective Director, Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center

Sundrop CarterExecutive Director, Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition

Kim Dinh: Statewide Capacity Building Coordinator, Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition

Steven Larín: Deputy Director, Nationalities Service Center

Cathryn Miller-Wilson: Executive Director, HIAS Pennsylvania

Laura Perkins: Emergency Response Organizer, Casa San Jose

Emiliano Rodriguez: Regional Director, Unite Here!

Vanessa Stine: Immigrants' Right Attorney, ACLU of Pennsylvania