Past CRLAF Fellows
Grisel Ruiz joined CRLAF in 2009 as a staff attorney through the Sutro Fellowship of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP to confront the scarcity of legal services for immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Grisel created and directed the “Rural Immigrant Access to Justice” project, which increased access to legal resources for this isolated population who might otherwise confront legal proceedings with little meaningful attorney contact. Her fellowship at CRLAF ended in March 2011.
Specifically, the project provided monthly “Know Your Rights” presentations and immigration consultations to hundreds of detained immigrants at two local ICE-contracted facilities. In addition, the project partnered with the UC Davis Law School Immigration Clinic, the McGeorge Immigration Clinic, Centro Legal de la Raza, and the Mexican Consulate to offer individual representation, pro bono referrals, pro se materials, and other services to this largely unrepresented population. The project continues today through these same partnerships. Grisel also worked to empower community members through presentations focused on constitutional rights when confronted by law enforcement officials as well as immigration relief generally. Finally, she supervised law students at the UC Davis Law School Immigration Clinic, in cases regarding removal defense for immigrants before San Francisco detained courts.
Grisel is fluent in Spanish and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School where she received the Tony Patiño Fellowship. In Law School, she was active in the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Clinic, as well as student groups such as the ACLU, Public Interest Law Society, Latino Law Students Association, and the Clinic Student Board. Prior to law school she worked as a detention paralegal and coordinator at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, and attended the University of Notre Dame for her B.A.