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Headshot of Gladys Marcos

Gladys Marcos

  • Hosted by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location McKinney, Texas
  • Law school Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law
  • Issue area Human Trafficking and Victim’s Rights Enforcement, Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Gladys (she/her) will provide bilingual immigration services focused on labor trafficking and exploitation in rural Texas while creating a lasting program that continues legal advocacy focused on immigration.

In 2020, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received over 3,500 contacts in Texas, with 1,488 being from victims themselves. Victims of labor trafficking are exploited through force, fraud, and coercion; their lack of legal status is used as a tactic to ensure submission. The strategic targeting of immigrants and the lack of access to legal aid make rural counties in Texas the perfect environment for traffickers to grow their operations.

As a daughter of immigrants and a person whose family members still fear being deported, Gladys learned firsthand about the immigrant experience, which may be filled with discrimination and abuse, but that never manages to shut down the determination for a better life. Through this determination, Gladys now has the privilege to utilize the law to advocate for immigrants, which she hopes to do for as long as she is able.

Fellowship Plans

Gladys will provide legal aid to immigrant trafficking victims facing violence-related issues in rural counties served by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas’ offices in McKinney, Denton, Amarillo, and Lubbock. The project will bring relief to clients through U-Visas, Violence Against Women Act self-petitions, and T-Visas in rural counties and communities where many immigrants reside. To further increase accessibility and positively impact both immigrants and survivors of trafficking, Gladys will digitize resources for clients and staff in both English and Spanish. Concurrently, she will collaborate with local nonprofit and faith-based organizations that can identify and understand specific local needs to provide holistic legal services.

My work at my law school’s legal clinic has shown me that my passion stems from direct client work. Through my Equal Justice Works Fellowship, I will continue developing this skill while directly empowering the immigrant community in rural Texas.

Gladys Marcos /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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