We are pleased to welcome Sofia Casini to our Austin office. Sofia will be working on the immigration team as the Detention Visitation Coordinator. She will be working with volunteer visitors and coordinating the Hutto Visitation Program.
Sofia Casini brings over 15 years of experience working with immigrants, refugees, and victims of trafficking. She also brings deeply personal experience, with her own father suffering detention and deportation 10 years ago due to unjust immigration policies.
Upon completing her BA in Cultural Anthropology Sofia moved to New York City where she worked as a Community Organizer for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and volunteered with local African and Latino immigrant rights agencies. She went on to pursue her MA in International Migration and Development in The Netherlands. Sofia then moved to West Africa, where she worked in partnership with the UNHCR and U.S. Embassies to help refugees escaping conflict resettle to the United States. Her responsibilities included conducting interviews capturing persecution testimonies and leading immigration officers throughout the West and Central African sub-region adjudicating refugee resettlement cases. Sofia returned to the U.S. three years later, moving to Austin in 2007 to serve as Director of Refugee Services of Texas. In 2010 she transitioned to Executive Director of AVANCE, a non-profit that works primarily with undocumented Latino women and children.
Desiring to have a more direct impact, last year Sofia began volunteering with women in the Hutto Detention Center and with grassroots political immigration campaigns, including the campaign to end “Secure Communities” in Travis County. She also chose to leave her E.D. position for a sabbatical in Colombia, Latin America, where she improved her Spanish and worked with internally displaced refugees. Now back in Austin, she holds part-time positions at both Grassroots Leadership and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, while volunteering with social justice issues facing undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers locally.