For Immediate Release

November 21, 2019

Please join me in welcoming three fabulous new staffers to the National Immigration Project.

We are enormously delighted to have such a talented group of individuals join NIPNLG to help advance our mission, by providing expert legal strategies, support, and advocacy to combat the onslaught of attacks on immigrant rights.

Many people say that staff is the bedrock of most non-profit organizations – and they’re right! This team will hit the ground running in December; and will be dedicated and fierce.

So on behalf of all of us, Welcome to NIPNLG, Fatou, Cristina, and Matt!

Welcome New Staff

Fatou Toure, Director of Finance and Operations

Fatou Toure joins NIPNLG having most recently been the the CFO-VP of Finance and Administration at District of Columbia College Access Program (DC-CAP), a non-profit supporting high school students to be able to attend and graduate from college. Before that, Fatou was Director of Finance and Administration at Free The Slaves, Inc, an international anti-slavery organization in Washington, DC.

Fatou has extensive experience serving local and international non-profits in Finance and Operations Management and is a first-generation immigrant from Senegal. She is deeply committed to our mission and the work we do for and with immigrant communities, and is very excited to join NIPNLG and help us grow.

In her spare time, Fatou enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and reading. Her favorite quote is from Confucius: “Learn avidly. Question it repeatedly. Analyze it carefully. Then put what you have learnt into practice intelligently.”

Cristina Velez, Senior Staff Attorney

Cristina Velez brings to NIPNLG over a decade of experience working with immigrants in both private practice and nonprofits. She was recently director of an immigration unit at a large community based legal services agency working on removal defense and complex humanitarian relief for survivors of violence.

Previously, Cristina served people living with HIV/AIDS, and developed a practice that included removal defense, affirmative asylum, VAWA and U/T visas, naturalization, waivers, and appellate and amicus work. She also assisted students, employees, and scholars to navigate the chaos wrought by Donald Trump’s aggressively anti-immigration agenda. In private practice, Cristina worked with clients seeking family-based, humanitarian, and employment-based immigration benefits.

Cristina is also a member of the advisory board of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, a membership-based advocacy and case management organization for LGBTQ and HIV+ immigrants who are or have been detained.

Cristina is a graduate of Cornell Law School and Oberlin College, and clerked for the honorable Denny Chin. A native New Yorker, Cristina lives in Brooklyn with an adorable and mostly well-behaved rescue dog.

Matthew Vogel, Senior Staff Attorney

Matthew Vogel comes to NIPNLG with deep crim-imm and criminal justice experience, as well as general civil rights litigation and enforcement experience.

Previously, Matt worked for five years as a staff attorney at Orleans Public Defenders (OPD), the public defender agency in New Orleans, LA. There, he built OPD’s immigration practice, providing immigration consequences advising, as well as offering training on the immigration consequences of criminal legal system involvement. Matt also worked on OPD’s death penalty and juvenile life without parole defense teams, and carried a docket of assorted upper-level felonies and misdemeanors.

Matt clerked for the Honorable Keith P. Ellison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Before law school, he spent eight years living and working at the New York Catholic Worker, a house of hospitality for people experiencing homelessness in New York City. He holds a BA from Harvard University, an MAR from Yale Divinity School, and a JD from Yale Law School.