Samantha Howland Zelaya

Assistant Vice President of Policy & Advocacy

As the Forum’s Assistant Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, Samantha works to advance immigration reform, with a focus on issues impacting unaccompanied immigrant children, the immigration courts, interior enforcement, and the undocumented community.

Prior to joining the Forum in January 2022, Samantha was a Program Manager and Fully Accredited DOJ Representative at the Immigration Legal Assistance Program in Worcester, Massachusetts. Within this role, Samantha provided direct representation to immigrants and refugees before USCIS, the Immigration Courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals with a focus on representing survivors of human trafficking as well as other forms of humanitarian and family-based relief. Samantha oversaw the programmatic and advocacy needs of the program.

Samantha has also held various roles with BCFS providing post release case management and home studies to unaccompanied immigrant children in ORR shelters and upon their release to sponsors.

Based in Massachusetts, Samantha earned her B.A. in Political Science with double concentrations in Peace & Conflict Studies and Latin American Studies from College of the Holy Cross and her M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University, where she also earned a Certificate in Refugee & Humanitarian Emergencies. In May 2022, she graduated magna cum laude with her J.D. from New England Law | Boston with a Certificate in Immigration Law.