Gregory Pleasants

Gregory is the director of transition in the Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ) and leads new areas of work that build on CIJ’s success managing programs that provide zealous, person-centered legal defense to people in immigration proceedings. Previously, Gregory directed the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP), which provides counsel to people who are detained, unrepresented, and found mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings. Gregory joined Vera in 2015 after helping the Executive Office for Immigration Review create the NQRP.

Gregory's work follows service as public defender at Federal Defenders of San Diego and Guilford County Public Defender (North Carolina) and returns to the focus of his 2007 EJW fellowship creating protections—including the right to counsel—for people in immigration proceedings with mental health conditions. Gregory has practiced as a social worker a psychiatric hospital and taught mental health policy at CSU-Fullerton. Gregory currently teaches mental health law at the USC School of Law. Before earning his joint JD/MSW at USC, Gregory spent years as an AmeriCorps volunteer and working with children living on the street in Mexico and Nicaragua.