RCUSA Chair: Melanie Nezer, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, HIAS
Melanie Nezer is the Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for HIAS. She directs HIAS’ Washington, DC office and leads their education and advocacy on immigration, asylum and refugee protection issues. Ms. Nezer previously served as Migration Policy Counsel and Director of HIAS’ Employment Visa Program. Before joining HIAS, she was the Immigration Policy Director for the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, where—in addition to conducting advocacy on immigration and asylum issues—she was co-editor of Refugee Reports and a writer for the annual World Refugee Survey. Prior to her work in Washington, Ms. Nezer was in private practice in Miami, Florida and specialized in immigration law and criminal defense. Ms. Nezer obtained her law degree from Boston College Law School and her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
RCUSA Director: Naomi Steinberg
Naomi Steinberg is the Director of Refugee Council USA (RCUSA). In this position she leads and oversees the overall work of the Council. This work includes facilitating communication between RCUSA and other nongovernmental organizations and coalitions that share similar objectives, as well as fostering collaborations with federal and state partners and the Council. In addition, she is responsible for promoting strong communication between the Council and international bodies, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Prior to joining RCUSA, Naomi was the Deputy Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). At SEARAC she focused on building the capacity of community-based, refugee-led organizations. She holds an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from Cornell University and a B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College.
RCUSA Associate Director: Shaina Ward
Shaina Ward is the Associate Director of Refugee Council USA (RCUSA). In this position she helps coordinate and oversee the overall work of the Council, including facilitating communication between RCUSA and other nongovernmental organizations and coalitions that share similar objectives, as well as fostering collaborations with federal and state partners and the Council. She also coordinates many of the Council’s working groups and projects. Prior to joining RCUSA, Shaina was Policy Associate at HIAS where she engaged in advocacy on domestic and international refugee issues. She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Texas Grassroots Organizer: Gislaine Williams
Gislaine Williams is Refugee Council USA’s Grassroots Community Organizer, based in Texas. Prior to joining RCUSA, Gislaine was the Office Manager for the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP). Before joining IRP, she was a program manager for a refugee resettlement agencyin Houston, Texas, providing social services to international refugees, asylees, and victims of trafficking. She previously worked as the Statewide Advocacy Coordinator for the ACLU of Texas, leading the field organizing efforts for the organization’s criminal law reform, religious freedom, and youth rights campaigns. She has participated in a number of grassroots campaigns related to immigrants’ rights, with a special focus on ending the practice of immigration detention. She serves on the Board of Directors of Grassroots Leadership, a nationwide advocacy organization dedicated to ending for-profit incarceration and reducing the reliance on criminalization and detention. Gislaine holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in History from Rice University.