Our origin story
CMN was co-founded by Stefania Arteaga and Becca O’Neill. Stefania and Becca met in 2017 doing legal advocacy work in the non-profit sector in Charlotte. Although NC has an established (and growing) migrant and immigrant population, low cost and free immigration legal services available to these communities is limited in scope. There are currently no non-profits in NC that offer low cost or free immigration legal services for individuals detained by ICE. CMN’s objective is to create an alliance between the legal profession and those who work in the areas of strategizing and organizing against ICE actions in our state. CMN is committed to listening to what impacted communities are asking for in light of increased ICE raids and hostility in the region.
the gap between legal services
CMN bridges the gap between legal services and advocacy efforts. Our goal is to mobilize the significant resources and talent that exists in the Carolinas to create a true offensive front to ICE operations in our state. CMN has put out a call to action to attorneys in the region to take on pro bono immigration bond cases under the supervision of experienced immigration attorneys. Our call was answered with over 80 attorneys, paralegals, certified interpreters, and others who want to provide meaningful support to individuals detained by ICE in NC.
CMN’s mission is to create a true alliance between legal service providers, facilitators, educators, artists, and all of those who want to truly exist in community with each other. We want to harness the energy of our community members who oppose ICE actions in our state and provide meaningful support to individuals impacted taken into ICE custody
Meet Our Team
Stefania Arteaga is an organizer and strategist who has played a crucial role in advancing immigrants’ rights organizing in North Carolina. Stefania has co-founded the grassroots group Comunidad Colectiva and the Carolina Migrant Network. For years she has worked on push back the tide of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement collaboration. As an immigrant from El Salvador, she spent years organizing undocumented students, deportation defense campaigns, and toward the successful end of 287(g) in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County. Most recently she became a Z Smith Reynolds All for NC fellows working on immigrants right in the Carolinas.
Co- Director / Attorney
Is a Charlotte native with over thirteen years experience working in the field of immigration law, eleven of those years as a practicing immigration attorney. Her practice has focused on humanitarian-based immigration law, asylum (affirmative and defensive), custody redetermination hearings, refugee family reunification, complex naturalization cases, and family-based immigrant visa work. Previously she served as special counsel on immigration issues to Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden and assisted with ending 287(g) and the implementation of the new jail policy. Prior to enrolling in law school, Becca was a social worker who worked in Eastern North Carolina, Rwanda, and New York, NY. After several years of practicing law in Kentucky, Becca returned to her hometown of Charlotte in 2017.
D’wan was born in Charleston, SC into a proud Naval family. Many moves later, D’wan graduated in 2001 with an undergraduate degree in Business Education from HBCU North Carolina A&T State University. After discovering her love for the law, she graduated in 2008 with a second undergraduate degree in Paralegal Studies from Kaplan University. Upon receiving her Paralegal degree, D’wan worked several years in California for a wrongful death civil litigator, a personal injury litigator, and also for an in-house litigator for an insurance company. D’wan is now back in her hometown and in her final year at the Charleston School of Law, graduating in December 2020. D’wan was President of the Immigration Law Association at CSOL for 2019 and has worked as an intern for a local immigration attorney in Charleston drafting documents for family-based petitions. She hopes to continue her dream to serve her community through immigration law upon graduation. During her free time, D’wan enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and attending her weekly Spanish classes.