Expertise You Can Trust
Daniel Shanfield, Esq.
Founder and Managing Attorney
Daniel Shanfield has succeeded in some of the most difficult immigration cases. Overseas, he led an appeals project to overturn visa denials by the U.S. Consulate, and has overseen numerous successful appeals for detained immigrants in the United States. He is a former INS litigation attorney who advised the government on a broad spectrum of immigration law issues, and was adjunct clinical law professor at New York Law School in Downtown Manhattan. Before entering private practice, Daniel was the Legal Services Manager with the U.S. refugee program in Europe, where he brought immigrants to safety and helped reunite them with loved ones in the United States. Daniel has also served as a migration and refugee advisor to the United Nations, and as an attorney overseeing pro bono legal representation for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, now Human Rights First. His legal knowledge and uncommon insights are the critical difference behind his clients’ success.
Daniel is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law and UCLA (magna cum laude). He is admitted to practice before the California Supreme Court, Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Federal District Court, Executive Office for Immigration Review, State Department, and Department of Homeland Security. He is currently the Consulate of Mexico Liaison for the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA SCV). Daniel previously served as AILA SCV Chapter Chair, and was Chair of the Immigration Section of the Santa Clara County Bar Association. Daniel's experience and skills have also been recognized by the Bar Association of San Francisco, which has selected him to serve on its Pro Bono Immigration Court Panel. Daniel holds a deep commitment to pro bono service, serving as an asylum law mentor for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco, and on the Legal Advisory Board of the Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic.
For his efforts on behalf of Northern California's immigrant community, Daniel was awarded the 2011 Premio Tequio by the Consulate General of Mexico in San Jose.
Daniel, a California native, is fluent in Spanish and French. As the child of parents from Latin America, he understands the challenges his immigrant clients face.
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Attorney of Counsel
Merle Kahn is Attorney Of Counsel for our office. Merle has two decades of experience in immigration law, where she has focused on removal defense especially for those who have been convicted of crimes, and on family based immigration cases. For the past several years, Merle has served as a legal consultant on the most complex immigration cases often involving criminal matters. Merle previously worked with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) as a staff attorney and taught the ILRC’s 40 hour immigration course for legal practitioners throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Merle also worked for Angela M. Bean & Associates where she represented clients before INS/DHS, and litigated immigration cases before the Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Ninth Circuit. Merle is a mentor attorney for the San Francisco-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights’ Asylum Project and counsels pro bono attorneys on difficult asylum claims. She is also Jewish Family Services Legal Clinic Director for the
American Immigration Lawyers Association Santa Clara Valley Chapter (SCV). This mixture of academic and hands-on legal experience makes Merle uniquely qualified to handle complex immigration issues. Prior to practicing immigration law, Merle was a prosecutor for the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee of the State Bar of Illinois and for the D.C. Bar prosecuting attorney misconduct.
Merle is a graduate of the George Washington University National Law Center (J.D.) in Washington, DC, and the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana (B.A., High Honors in English Literature).
Associations and Memberships Include:
- State Bar of California
- Bar of the District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Court For the Northern District of California
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
Irma comes to us with extensive experience working with immigrant communities. She is a graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco (J.D., CALI Award for Academic Excellence), and Georgetown University in Washington, DC (B.A., Government). Irma has also studied abroad at the prestigious Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores in Monterrey, Mexico.
In law school, Irma served as a judicial extern for the Hon. Donna M. Ryu, Federal District Court, Northern District of California. Irma has dedicated her academic and professional career to immigrant advocacy. Before joining the Firm, Irma was a staff member and pro bono attorney at the Stanford Immigrants' Rights Clinic, as well as a student advocate at UC Hastings Law School Civil Justice Clinic.
Irma is highly involved in her community. She is on the Executive Board of the American Immigration Lawyers Assocation Santa Clara Valley Chapter (AILA SCV), and currently volunteers with the Peninsula College Fund, where she mentors a first-generation college student. Irma also serves as the chair of the board of directors of Rape Trauma Services, a nonprofit organization that advocates for and supports survivors of sexual assault. Additionally, she is the co-founder of the Georgetown Comunidad Scholarship Association, an education nonprofit supporting undergraduate students at Georgetown University through scholarship awards. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Irma is proud to have the privilege to advocate for immigrant communities.
Rachel has broad experience working with immigrant communities. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis School of Law (J.D., Public Service Law Program Scholar) and Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington (B.A. Art History and Visual Culture Studies, Magna Cum Laude). Rachel studied abroad in Mendoza, Argentina at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo.
While in law school, Rachel was a student advocate at the UC Davis School of Law Immigration Clinic, where she represented detained and non-detained clients and worked on refugee and asylum cases with criminal issues. She spent her summers during law school working for a criminal defense attorney and as a Racial Justice Project Intern at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California.
After graduating law school, Rachel was a pro bono attorney at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, a community organizer and documentarian for the ACLU of Northern California on a special immigrants' rights project in Alabama, an Impact Litigation Attorney Fellow at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, and an associate attorney at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy, LLP doing business immigration work. In 2011, Rachel published an article in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice: "Insecure Communities: Examining Local Government Participation in U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement's 'Secure Communities' Program."
Rachel is dedicated to pro bono and community work, and is a regular volunteer at American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) pro bono clinics. Rachel is a member of the State Bar of California, AILA, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Santa Clara County Bar Association.
Immigration Service Coordinator
Diana is the Firm's Immigration Services Coordinator, and comes to our office with 10 years' experience working with immigrants in the nonprofit sector. Diana previously served with Catholic Charities in San José, California as a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative, representing immigrants in all manner of immigration cases before USCIS. Prior to her work in the field of immigration law, Diana assisted domestic violence before the family courts in obtaining protective orders.
Diana is a graduate of Santa Clara University (B.A. History, Latin America emphasis) and Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College (J.D.) in Portland, Oregon, where she was a member of the Cornelius Honor Society, the Latino Legal Society, and Team Captain for the Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court Competition Team. While in law school, Diana was member and recipient of the summer stipend for the Public Interest Law Project that awards scholarships to students dedicated to public interest.
An immigrant herself, Diana can relate to the struggles immigrants face in the United States, as well as the empowerment of becoming a U.S. legal resident.
Cynthia serves as Administrative Assistant with our office. Cynthia is a graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz, with a B.A. in Politics and emphasis in Latin American and Latino Studies. While at UC Santa Cruz, Cynthia has also studied abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico at UNINTER and conducted research on the economic and cultural impact the North American Free Trade Agreement had on Mexico. She also studied politics at the University of Carlos III in Madrid, Spain.
Cynthia dedicated herself to student government while at UC Santa Cruz, focusing on issues of access, affordability, quality and diversity within the UC system. Cynthia has lobbied on issues like the California Dream Act, Save the Cal Grants and the College Affordability Act. Cynthia served as Legislative Liaison at UCSC and the UC Student Association to translate legislation and directly advocate in grassroots campaigns, empowering students to advocate on their own on issues directly affecting students on a local and state level. She has also been involved in a number of diverse student organizations while at UC Santa Cruz having helped her develop important leadership and advocacy skills.
Growing up in Guatemala during her early childhood has helped Cynthia understand the challenges and hardships immigrant families face and inspired her to seek educational, political and economic access for the immigrant and underserved communities.
Esmeralda is the firm's paralegal. She has worked in the area of immigration law since 2006. Prior to joining our San Jose office, Esmeralda served as a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, working with immigrant victims of crime and successfully representing numerous domestic violence survivors in obtaining U visa status and permanent residency. Esmeralda has worked extensively with non-profits before entering the immigration field. She mentored at-risk high school youth in San Jose, California, and also served as an Americorps volunteer in Seattle, Washington as a service learning coordinator. Esmeralda is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (B.A. Political Science).
What We Can Do For You
No matter what you’re facing, our firm can help you sort out the best solution for your immigration needs. Here are some of the services we offer:
Our firm can help English, Spanish, and French-speaking clients, and arrange for interpreters in almost any language. No matter what you’re facing, we can help you sort out the best solution for your immigration needs.
View our firm's profile at FindanImmigrationAttorney.com.
Contact Law Offices of Daniel Shanfield - Immigration Defense, PC today!