River Mountain Immigration provides individual, family & business immigration legal services. Serving Montana, the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. and the world.
MEET THE TEAM!
I moved to Missoula, Montana in 2017 with my family. I started River Mountain Immigration, a boutique immigration law firm that focuses on family immigration, business & sports immigration and crimmigration (the intersection of criminal law & immigration law). I really like representing couples in marriage green card cases and fiance(e) visa cases and have successfully obtained green cards & U.S. legal permanent residence for over 500 foreign national spouses. I have represented professional athletes, models, business owners, victims of crimes, domestic abuse victims, DACA individuals brought into the U.S. as children and once represented the winner of a reality TV show.
I have extensive experience in both Naturalization to U.S. Citizenship cases and complex I-751 removal of conditions cases. I was the national liaison between AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) and the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services) California Service Center I-751 division for 2 years.
Before moving to Montana, I ran a 4-attorney, 8-person firm called Caudle Immigration in San Francisco, CA. Caudle Immigration received over 100 5-star Yelp reviews. Every year since 2005, I have received a "BV Distinguished Very High Peer Review Rating in Legal Ability & Ethical Standards" from Martindale-Hubbell.
I have taught immigration law and paralegal studies as an adjunct law professor at San Francisco Law School, Golden Gate Law School and U.C. Berkeley. I also served on Stanford Law School's Immigration Clinic Board for 5 years.
Outside of the office, I like to spend time with my family traveling, watching my kids play soccer, spending time in the Montana outdoors engaging in water activities, and cooking & making craft coffee & alcohol drinks for my friends (I am a certified bartender, volunteer barista & Montana food safety certified). I also like reading & watching movies & TV shows about spies and watching sports (both live and on TV).
I was born and raised in Missoula, and am thrilled to have returned home with my family, and to have the opportunity to advocate for immigrants here in Montana and beyond.
Before joining River Mountain Immigration, I worked as a senior attorney for Legal Services for Children (LSC), a San Francisco-based non-profit. As director of LSC’s pro bono project, I expanded the organization’s capacity to provide holistic services by recruiting, training, and mentoring private sector attorneys for immigration, guardianship, and school discipline cases. I personally specialized in representing youth seeking asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U visas, DACA, and other forms of relief within the federal immigration system. The majority of my clients were unaccompanied minors – children who come to the U.S. without a parent or guardian, often fleeing violence and instability in their countries of origin. A primary goal of mine continues to be to provide services in a way that is trauma-informed and healing-centered.
Before beginning my legal career, I studied history and education at the University of California, Berkeley. I then spent several years working as a teacher and program coordinator in Thailand, Argentina, and Nicaragua. I later returned to the Bay Area for law school at the University of San Francisco, where I focused on civil rights and human rights law. My clinical experience included representing youth in the juvenile justice system, doing (anti-)death penalty work in Mississippi, working on LGBTQ asylum cases, and lobbying at the United Nations on issues related to migrant detention. After graduation, I worked for the international non-profit Asylum Access in Quito, Ecuador, where I represented refugees in a variety of legal proceedings. I have also worked as a public defender, handling misdemeanor jury trials, and for a small firm practicing plaintiff’s-side employment law.
In my free time, I love traveling and going on outdoor adventures with my husband and two kids. I’m also embracing the humbling experience of rekindling my childhood passions for soccer, dance and playing the piano.
Ashley Connell Melwani
I moved from Costa Rica to Missoula, Montana in 2006 where I have been a student ever since. I first got to study Spanish at the Missoula International School and then went on to study at Hellgate High School where I graduated with a full International Baccalaureate diploma and honors as a member of the National Honors Society and German National Honors Society. Go Knights!
I just completed my undergraduate in Political Science and Spanish at the University of Montana and Davidson Honors College as a pre-law student. I additionally earned a certificate in Migration Studies. I am interested in helping others particularly in the realm of immigration with my Spanish language skills. I absolutely love engaging with people from a diverse array of communities and often do so through the International Rescue Committee which works to resettle refugees in the Missoula community as well as ONE which works to combat extreme poverty and preventable disease globally. Through ONE I have met with Montana representatives on multiple occasions in order to engage them on international issues and encourage them to support countries and communities in need. I have also served as one of their representatives at the 2020 Youth United Nations conference in which students from around the world discussed issues pertaining to gender, the environment, and immigration. I work on campus as president of the UM ONE Chapter and Pi Sigma Alpha which is the only national Political Science Honors Society.
In my free time, I love being in the outdoors be it backpacking, biking, or swimming. I also love traveling, I have been to 16 countries! I am an avid reader, especially action adventure! Additionally I recently created my own photography business where I get to engage my more artistic side!
I moved to Missoula four years ago, from Dillon, MT, when I started my undergraduate degree at the University of Montana. I am currently working on a Pre-Law focused B.A. in Sociology, with an Inequality and Social Justice concentration, a B.M. in Piano Performance and a Political Science minor. I’ve done research on mental illness and accessibility, the stigma around miscarriages and underrepresentation in the music world. I am also a member of the Davidson Honors College, UM student government and Global Leadership Initiative. I was elected Student Music Union President, which allows me to work with 16 groups across campus and over 500 students. My senior capstone community based writing project is focused on the citizenship process for refugees and the refugee experience after arrival in the United States.
I’ve worked in a Preschool for two and a half years, as an assistant teacher. I spent last summer in Washington D.C., interning with a Senator on Capitol Hill, where I was involved in education, health immigration issues. Following graduation, I will be applying to law school, after which I am interested in pursuing a career in family or immigration law.
When I’m not in school, I love going to trivia nights, playing the piano and going for runs around Missoula. I love reading and I’m currently making my way through all of Agatha Christie’s novels. I also enjoy spending time with my four siblings and trying new desserts around Missoula.