Board of Directors
Border Network for Human Rights 2013 Board of Directors:
Dr. Josiah Heyman – Josiah Heyman is Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the author of over 50 academic articles and author or editor of three scholarly books, including Finding a Moral Heart for U.S. Immigration Policy: An Anthropological Perspective. His area of expertise is U.S. Immigration law enforcement and border policy.
Puja Dhawan -is the Manager of Initiatives for Women and Girls at the NoVo Foundation. Her work focuses on ending violence against women and girls, and empowering women and girls in the United States and overseas. She was previously the Senior Program Officer for the U.S. Human Rights Fund at Public Interest Projects, where she carried out domestic human rights grantmaking and donor outreach. Puja has also done consulting work on developing domestic human rights funding and advocacy strategies. Sheauthored the 2010 report Domestic Dignity for the Asian Law Caucus on integrating domestic human rights into the Asian American advocacy community, and was a contributing author for Perfecting Our Union: Human Rights Success Stories from Across the United States. She worked on international human rights law at the U.N. Division for the Advancement of Women, where she assisted the monitoring body for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and at Human Rights Watch where she worked on gender and caste discrimination in South Asia. After law school, Puja worked as a Staff Attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid, and represented battered women in family law proceedings. She earned her J.D. from NYU School of Law and a B.A.(honors) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Don Kerwin – Donald Kerwin is Vice President for Programs at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), overseeing all of MPI’s national and international programs. Prior to joining MPI, Mr. Kerwin worked for more than 16 years at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), serving as Executive Director for nearly 15 years. CLINIC is a public interest legal corporation that supports a national network of 173 charitable legal programs for immigrants in more than 270 locations. Upon his arrival at CLINIC in 1992, Mr. Kerwin directed CLINIC’s political asylum project for Haitians. He became CLINIC’s Executive Director in December 1993 and during his tenure, CLINIC coordinated the nation’s largest political asylum, detainee services, immigration appeals, and naturalization programs. CLINIC also offers the nation’s most extensive training and legal support programs for community-based immigrant agencies. Mr. Kerwin is an advisor to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Immigration Task Force, on the board of directors of Jesuit Refugee Services-USA, and an associate fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center. Mr. Kerwin is a 1984 graduate of Georgetown University and a 1989 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
Cathy Albisa – Ms. Albisa is a constitutional and human rights lawyer with a background on the right to health. Ms. Albisa also has significant experience working in partnership with community organizers in the use of human rights standards to strengthen advocacy in the United States. She co-founded NESRI along with Sharda Sekaran and Liz Sullivan in order to build legitimacy for human rights in general, and economic and social rights in particular, in the United States. She is committed to a community-centered and participatory human rights approach that is locally anchored, but universal and global in its vision. Ms. Albisa clerked for the Honorable Mitchell Cohen in the District of New Jersey. She received a BA from the University of Miami and is a graduate of Columbia Law School.
Josh Bernstein – Josh Bernstein, SEIU’s immigration director, is responsible for directing, developing, and leading the union’s activities to build power for its immigrant members and their families through national lobbying, grassroots activism, and internal capacity building. Mr. Bernstein joined SEIU’s staff in January 2009 after more than 14 years at the National Immigration Law Center, where he most recently served as director of federal policy. At NILC, he was a trusted national leader on immigration reform and immigrant worker rights issues. Mr. Bernstein’s advocacy on behalf of low-income workers dates back to 1982 when he was director of Californians for a Fair Share, a grassroots statewide coalition of low-income families and their allies that was formed to combat welfare cuts. He subsequently served as a welfare advocate for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and the Inner City Law Center, a Los Angeles skid row legal clinic, providing direct services to homeless families and coordinating a coalition pressing for improved city and county services.
Fernando Garcia (Non-Voting Member) – Fernando Garcia is Founding Director of the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR). The BNHR supports immigrant border communities in the promotion of their human rights and the demand of humane of immigration reform that is consistent with human rights. As Director, Fernando is responsible for facilitating the creation of Human Rights Community-Based Committees and the training of Human Rights Promoters in Southern New Mexico, West Texas, Arizona, Houston, Dallas, San Jose CA and New Jersey. In 2001, he became the National Coordinator of the National Movement for Legalization and Human Rights – an alliance of community based immigrant groups and organizations in the U.S. Under Fernando’s coordination, the Border Network for Human Rights has also worked closely with local elected officials and community organizations to develop city council resolutions in El Paso, Texas to oppose the militarization of the border, a call for comprehensive immigration reform, and against the presence of racist groups in the border region such as the minutemen. At the present time he is a member of the Independent Task Force of Immigration and America’s Future convened by the Migration Policy Institute.
BNHR Community Members who sit on the Board of Directors:
The Board of Directors is also composed from Community Members who live and reside in the areas where BNHR works. These members are important figures that define the direction of BNHR.
Carlos Gomez – Lives and works in a Landscaping Co. in Southern NM. Has been volunteering for the Border Network for Human Rights for various years, belong to the Region known as “Libertadores de la Paz” and helps coordinate the BNHR security team.
Karla Martinez – Is a housewife that lives in Southern NM, and belong to the Region known as “Rio Grande.”
Antonio Gomez – Is a student in Southern NM, and belongs to the Region known as “Tierra del Encanto.”
Mary Lopez – Is a housewife that lives in El Paso, TX and belongs to the Region “Nuevo Amanecer.”
Maria Elena Villareal – Housewife who resides in East El Paso, TX and is a member of the Region known as “Paso del Norte.”
Susana Hererra – Housewife who resides in Central El Paso, TX and is a member of the Region known as “Chamizal.”
Eduardo Acero – Works and resides in East El Paso, TX and is a member of the Region known as the “Valle de las Misiones.”
Luis Romo – Student who works and resides in Far East El Paso and is part of the region known a “Tesoros del Desierrto.”
Bertha Alicia Guerrero – Housewife who resides in Far East El Paso and is part of the region known as “Immigrantes Unidos.”