Photo of Lizzett Rodriguez Pena

Lizett Rodriguez Peña

  • Hosted by California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.
  • Sponsored by U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime
  • Service location California
  • Law school University of San Francisco School of Law
  • Issue area Immigrant Victims and Hate Crimes Victim's Rights Enforcement
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Crime Victims Justice Corps

The Project

This Fellowship will increase community awareness by conducting culturally competent outreach and trainings that inform vulnerable populations such as LGBT and indigenous immigrant victims in rural and agricultural areas of California about their legal rights and access to legal services. This Fellowship will also provide access to trauma-informed legal services and representation to hate crime victims and immigrant victims with meritorious claims for immigration relief, including LGBT and indigenous victims with U/T/VAWA visa applications. Furthermore, the Fellowship will increase holistic support by partnering with local community resource providers to address the client’s legal, education, healthcare, economic and other needs, to help break out of the cycle of exploitation, abuse and wage theft within LGBT, indigenous and other victims of crime.

Lizett will investigate hate crimes and potential civil claims, such as wage, retaliation, and harassment claims, and provide legal representation to advance such claims through administrative proceedings before the Labor Commissioner, Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints, or through negotiation with employers, and/or civil actions. She will also investigate and provide representation in applications for temporary immigration relief through the U-Visa, T-Visa, or VAWA-Visa programs for immigrant victims of certain serious crimes and domestic violence.

As a first generation Latina immigrant and proud daughter of migrant farmworkers, Lizett is dedicated to using her migration experience of living in migrant camps and two countries, Mexico and the United States, to advocate for the most marginalized and exploited rural workers. Through her prior work and life experience, Lizett has developed transferrable and practical legal skills that will allow her to connect with the clients when investigating their hate crime claims and potential civil claims to provide them with effective legal services. In addition, Lizett’s cultural competency and bilingual skills will help develop bilingual legal materials and resources that can be used when assisting LGBT and indigenous immigrant victims with their immigration and employment issues.

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