About Us

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. 

Bridging the gap between legal services
& advocacy.

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 put out a call to action for attorneys in the region to take on pro bono immigration bond cases under the supervision of experienced immigration attorneys. This initial call was answered by over 80 attorneys, paralegals, certified interpreters, and others who want to provide meaningful support to individuals in detention, and CMN is committed to further building upon this network.

Our Mission

CMN’s mission is to create a true alliance between legal service providers, facilitators, educators, artists, and all those who want to truly exist in community with each other. We want to harness the energy of 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

Co-Director/Strategist

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.

Becca O'Neill

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.

Zuri Guzmán

Legal Caseworker

Zuri Guzmán graduated from Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina studying International Studies and French. While at Queens University, Zuri focused on Latin American Politics, U.S.-Latin American Relations, and International Law and Organizations. In 2019, she traveled to El Paso, Texas to assist at La Casa del Refugiado with the migrants arriving from Central America. She also has experience working with the Charlotte immigrant community. She has served as a law clinic assistant, an academic tutor for immigrant and refugee children, and participated in projects, such as the Migrant Assistance Project.

Jarred Bean

Development Director

Jarred Bean is a 1st-gen college graduate from a working-class area of North Carolina who has worked domestically and abroad in the fields of education, outreach, and issue advocacy. He went from teaching English in South Korea and Colombia to working in education management and data analysis in New York City, ultimately working to ensure new school and rezoning proposals produced diverse and equitable schools before returning to Charlotte in January 2020.

Since then, he worked to increase turnout among disaffected democratically-aligned voters at the Progressive Turnout Project and began working for Carolina Migrant Network as a grant writer – where he helped redefine metrics for achievement within this field of work. He also serves as a grant writer for Fayetteville Justice for Our Neighbors, is a contributing writer at Freedom for Immigrants’ online publication, IMM-Print, and has previously contributed digital content to Mijente NC and Brand New Congress.

José Chavez

Accountant

José was born in Greenville, NC into a proud Salvadoran family. He graduated from Wingate University with an undergraduate degree in Accounting. He has a love for numbers, budgeting, and forecasting. He has experience in for-profit accounting and nonprofit accounting. José plans to use his gifts and education to have an impact in the Charlotte community. He has lived in the Charlotte area for about five years now and looks forward to graduating as a Charlottean soon.

Ryan Cannon

Legal Intern

As an undergraduate student, Ryan interned for the legal services office of Kentucky Refugee Ministries where he worked as a legal assistant and interpreter. After finishing his studies, Ryan relocated to France where he taught English in both Dunkirk and Lyon. Before applying to law school, Ryan participated in the Fulbright Program, focusing on English Language Learning in Thiès, Senegal. As a law student, Ryan worked as an extern for the Kentucky Innocence Project and as a volunteer teaching Street Law to high school students as part of the University of Louisville and Central High Partnership.