By Ana Negoescu, CARECEN
Last month CARECEN’s citizenship team grew after we welcomed Stephanie Lopez, our new Citizenship Specialist. Stephanie is currently providing paralegal assistance to our legal team in the area of naturalization and supporting brief services. In January she will begin required training and take the necessary steps for becoming our second Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)Accredited Representative. Once accredited, she will manage her own case load and represent citizenship clients before USCIS. Stephanie will also assist with organizing and conducting our naturalization information sessions and workshops by working closely with our partners and our citizenship and legal directors. She will play a vital role in integrating our citizenship instruction and naturalization application services by coordinating with our citizenship education team and ensure our students have all the information needed to complete their application for naturalization.
Stephanie was born and raised along the El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico border. She graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). At a very early age, she discovered a passion for giving back to her community and since then has made a strong commitment to public service. She is particularly dedicated to fighting for the rights of immigrants and children. In El Paso, she worked at the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project where she assisted immigrant victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes in applying for immigration relief. Stephanie also served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children who have been abused or neglected and now find themselves caught in the middle of intimidating court proceedings. While in school, she was heavily involved on campus and in her community. She participated in the Bill Archer Fellowship Program in Washington, DC and in the Law School Preparation Institute at UTEP. She volunteered with numerous organizations in El Paso such as the USO, the Salvation Army, the El Paso Child Crisis Center, and the El Paso Bar Association. Today, she is thrilled to be back in the nation’s capital and is excited to be a member of the CARECEN family.
Stephanie aspires to be an immigration attorney, a career interest sparked by her eagerness to make a big difference in people’s lives. As daughter of immigrants, growing up on the border, she has experienced first hand the immigrant struggle and the hard work it takes to achieve dreams. For her, working in the area of citizenship is especially meaningful, because she has witnessed the sense of accomplishment and pride that naturalization brought to her parents, who recently went through the process.
In her free time Stephanie loves to explore D.C. and its diversity, run and dance cumbia. Welcome Stephanie!