Claudia Valenzuela, 2016 Impact Award
Claudia Valenzuela is the Detention Project Director at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). Claudia oversees NIJC’s provision of legal services to men and women in U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, as well as NIJC’s Defenders Initiative, a project which provides technical assistance to criminal defense attorneys across the country representing noncitizen defendants. Claudia joined NIJC in 2002 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow. Since that time, Claudia has represented hundreds of individuals before the Department of Homeland Security, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the federal district courts, courts of appeals and the United States Supreme Court. She is a co-author of NIJC’s two recent reports, “NIJC Freedom of Information Act Litigation Reveals Systemic Lack of Accountability in Immigration Detention Contracting” and “Lives in Peril: How Ineffective Inspections Make ICE Complicit in Detention Center Abuse,” examining the lack of transparency and accountability in the ICE immigration detention contracting and inspections process. Claudia is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law.
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