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Christina Fialho  

Co-Founder & Executive Director of "Freedom for Immigrants"

Christina Fialho is the Co-Founder/Executive Director of Freedom For Immigrants. Initially named Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), the organization changed its name in 2018. Christina is an attorney and immigration detention expert, and she has been awarded the 2016 Ashoka Fellowship and the 2012 Echoing Green Fellowship in recognition of her innovation and entrepreneurship. She also is a recipient of the 2018 James Irvine Leadership Award and the 2013 Rockwood Fellowship for a New California.

Christina has spent nearly 15 years advocating for immigrants.

Prior to starting Freedom for Immigrants, Christina assisted in defending immigrants from detention and deportation, with a focus on representing LGBTQ asylum seekers. She has argued cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Immigration Courts. She also worked as a program coordinator for Upwardly Global in San Francisco and a research fellow for the Global Detention Project in Geneva, Switzerland. In college, she worked as an ESL teacher in England, and she volunteered at Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement Program and at LifeMoves Julian Street Inn. While in law school, she co-founded the first visitation program in the state with Christina Mansfield at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond.

Christina is based in Los Angeles, and she serves on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California. Previously, she served as the first Social Entrepreneur in Residence at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management, on the Steering Committee of the Detention Watch Network for six years, and she was appointed to the California Bar Association’s Civil Justice Strategies Task Force.

Christina speaks internationally on immigration detention issues. Her media appearances include MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber, Hardball with Chris Matthews, NBC, CBS, NPR’s All Things Considered, and many other national television and radio programs. In 2017, she was featured in Grammy-winning artist Miguel's music video, “Now,” and in 2019, her organization was featured in Season 7 of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. Her work also has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, BBC News, Associated Press, Rolling Stone Magazine, Teen Vogue, la Repubblica, and on Univision and Telemundo, among others. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and she has written for the Los Angeles Times, InStyle Magazine, Forbes, USA Today, Washington Times, The Hill, among others. Her scholarly writings, published by Oxford University Press, the Forced Migration Review, and Springer Publishing, have focused on the intersection of international and immigration law.

Christina has worked to introduce and pass several state and federal laws such as the Dignity Not Detention Act in California (passed 2017) and a bill to abolish private prisons in California (passed 2019) as well as and the Detention Oversight Not Expansion (DONE) Act in Congress, introduced in both houses in 2018 and 2019.

Christina is a member of the California State Bar.


Newly Released Recordings Capture Abuse in Immigration Detention
This week Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) released seven audio recordings and videos documenting arbitrary use of solitary confinement, sexual assault, physical abuse by federal agents, prolonged detention, retaliatory transfers, and other aspects of life inside U.S. immigration detention...
Do so many immigrants need to be detained?, WORLD Magazine
Detention Contention, WORLD Magazine
TRUST Didn't Help
“These immigration detention facilities almost operate outside of U.S. law,” said Christina Fialho, the co-founder of CIVIC, an organization that seeks to expose abuses in detention facilities. “If you’re a non-citizen in immigration detention, you’re not afforded many of the safeguards of the constitution. Because these facilities are so isolated, people don’t have access to people that can advocate on their behalf.”
Expansion of Adelanto immigrant detention center underway
"Holding immigrants in privately run detention centers doesn't benefit anyone but the companies that manage them," said Christina Fialho, whose organization, Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement, operates visitation programs at 32 immigrant detention facilities. Fialho, whose group organized a protest outside the Adelanto facility Monday, said its remote location 40 miles north of San Bernardino makes it difficult for families and attorneys to visit.
Watchdog: Feds Are Muzzling Us for Reporting Alleged Immigrant Detainee Sex Abuse
Now, ICE "is asking us to choose between our First Amendment rights and visiting our friends in detention," Fialho says. "This is not a choice any democracy should ask its people to make."
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US suspends visitation programs at 3 immigrant facilities in Southland
In the article, Christina Fialho, an attorney who heads an organization that represents dozens of visitation groups nationwide, alleged that some transgender ...
ICE Suspends Visitation Program At Three Immigration Detention ...
... Irvine and Adelanto – was an attempt to silence blogger Christina Fialho, who is co-founder of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement.
Christina Fialho
Staff training varies dramatically from one facility to the next, with many facility officers receiving no specialized training on immigration policies and how to work  ...
Christina Fialho
Christina Fialho is the Co-Founder/Executive Director of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC). She is a current recipient of an ...
Detained U.S. Veteran on Hunger Strike at Eloy Detention Center ...
John Ferron, a U.S. veteran and father of eight, is on his seventh day of a hunger strike at the Eloy Detention Center, a for-profit immigration detention center in ...
Who Is Overseeing Immigration Detention? | Christina Fialho
Staff training varies dramatically from one facility to the next, with many facility officers receiving no specialized training on immigration policies and how to work  ...
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