Our founding members

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Patrick Gihana

Patrick Gihana is the owner of the Law Offices of Patrick Gihana. He limits his practice to immigration law, with an emphasis on removal defense, family immigration, consular processing.
Mr. Gihana has first-hand experience on what it feels like to be an immigrant. First, he was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a son of refugee parents who fled ethnic violence in their home country of Rwanda. Later, Mr. Gihana also lived as an international student pursuing his legal education, first in Brussels, Belgium where he graduated at the “Universite Libre de Brussels”, then in Sacramento, California where he graduated with a Master’s degree in Transnational Business Law at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

After seeing the plight of refugees, migrant workers, and many other immigration crises around the world, such as the Syrian refugees and unaccompanied minors from Central America, Mr. Gihana felt compelled to practice immigration law with the goal of assisting people achieve their own immigration desires. 

Mr. Gihana is a fierce advocate for immigrants in general and works with various local non-profits organizations to ensure access to a lawyer for unrepresented immigrants in deportation/removal proceedings. In addition, Mr. Gihana, also enjoys promoting cross cultural exchange and diversity as a member of the Steering Committee of the World Affairs Council, Sacramento Chapter.
Mr. Gihana fluently speaks French and other African languages such as Swahili, Lingala, and Kinyarwanda.

Frank Tawil

Frank Tawil, Business Owner, Technology Executive; Co-Founder, Director, and Chief Financial Officer, California Immigrants Resources Center.

Mr. Tawil first came to the U.S as an international student from Kuwait where he lived with his family as immigrants from Lebanon. He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems Engineering.

Mr. Tawil has over 25 years of experience driving technology strategy and cloud operations for prestigious companies such as Snap, Nuance, Robert Half International, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Sun Microsystems.
Currently, Mr. Tawil provides executive consultancy in technology for many Silicon Valley companies such Taos Mountain, and other Unicorn startups. He is also the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of VerCloud LLC, an Information Technology services company focused on agnostic Cloud solutions.

Aside from his extensive technology and business leadership and experience, Mr. Tawil always believed in providing opportunities for others and giving back to the community. While working at Sun Microsystems, he developed an internship program and pathway to recruit students and recent graduates from Mission College and San Jose State University. Mr. Tawil is also a volunteer member of the Career Services team of the CISE Security Program at Merritt College in Oakland, California. The team works with students on getting them ready for internships and full-time employment.
Additionally, MrTawil serves as the Chief Technology Officer of the Lideranca Group. a business and workforce acceleration firm that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion as one their pillars to developing people, improving behaviors and changing workplaces.

Robert Gonzalez President & CEO

Robert Gonzalez, is one of the cofounders of CIRC. He is the current President and Chair of the Board of Directors of CIRC.

Prior to joining the Center, Mr. Gonzalez served in public service positions for over forty years in the U.S. He joined the U.S Cost Guard and honorably served for 20 years completing assignments in operations, human resources, training, and education programs in the Coast Guard. He finished his Coast Guard service as a strategic planning officer for health care services at Headquarters in Washington, DC.

After his military career, Mr. Gonzalez joined the California State Government and held various positions such as a Budget Analyst for the Department of Water Resources and a Budget Manager for the California Department of Social Services working on proposals to develop or improve programs that serve vulnerable children and adult populations in the state of California.
Mr. Gonzalez concluded his career in the California Department of Public Health as a Program Operations Support Manager for the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (CLPP), a program dedicated to eliminating childhood lead poisoning as a public health problem.

Mr. Gonzalez earned a Master of Art in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, DC and a Master of Public Administration from City University in New York.

Advisory Board