Mony Ruiz-Velasco

Mony is a U.S. Immigration Lawyer, organiser and the Executive Director of PASO – West Suburban Action Project in Melrose Park, Illinois, an area with a large and growing immigrant population in the outskirts of Chicago. Her organisation combined legal and organising efforts to advocate on behalf of immigrant rights and social justice.  PASO engages in community empowerment, engagement and education and serves as a platform for sustainable, community-led change.  Before joining PASO, Mony worked in a socially conscious private immigration law practice.  She also worked at the National Immigrant Justice Center for nearly thirteen years, where she became the Legal Director.  For 20 years, Mony has provided legal services, representation and counsel to thousands of immigrants and their families.  Her work is primarily focused on women, LGBTQ immigrants, minors and survivors of domestic violence and other crimes.  She actively collaborates and partners with community leaders and organisers regionally and nationally on anti-deportation and anti-criminalisation campaigns. She advises and advocates with federal, state and local legislators and their staff regarding policy and legislation including the Violence Against Women Act and other pro-immigration bills.