Claudia joined CAIR Coalition in 2011. She manages and coordinates litigation across all three programs at the organization involving issues related to access to justice, detention, and eligibility for relief for children and adults who are detained by ICE within the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit. She believes that representation is the key to helping detained immigrants avail themselves of their rights in detention and succeed in gaining relief from removal. She spearheaded the organizations’ development of pilot representation projects in Maryland.
Claudia has led nationwide efforts to protect the rights of immigrants when those rights were attacked and undermined by the Trump administration, cementing her role as a coalition leader among NGOs across the country.
She has mentored countless trial and appellate immigration cases over the years before various immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. She has played a pivotal role in the legal strategy behind all of CAIR Coalition’s major pro bono case wins at the Fourth Circuit especially those challenging the removability classification of criminal convictions such as Omargharib v. Holder, 775 F.3d 192 (4th Cir. 2014); Etienne v. Lynch, 813 F.3d 135 (4th Cir. 2015); Sotnikau v. Lynch, 846 F.3d 731 (4th Cir. 2017); and Castendet-Lewis v. Sessions, 855 F.3d 253 (4th Cir. 2017).
Under her leadership the CAIR Coalition has been pushing back against new unlawful policies and regulations banning asylum seekers from refuge including winning the challenge against the first asylum ban in O.A v. Trump, 404 F.Supp.3d 109 (D.D.C. 2019), and also winning the challenge against the second asylum transit ban in the case, CAIR Coalition v. Trump, slip opinion No. 19-2117 (D.D.C. 2020).
In the midst of the pandemic she has represented detained children and adults in filing habeas petitions seeking to be released from congregate institutional settings so they can safely reunite and socially distance with their families.
Claudia has a B.A. from the University of St. Thomas and a J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in Maryland and before the U.S. District Court of Maryland, the Fourth Circuit, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Claudia is a native Spanish speaker.