Christina Fialho

Christina Fialho

Founder of Freedom for Immigrants (formerly CIVIC)

2012 Global Fellow

At this very moment, more than 32,000 men, women, and children are detained by the U.S. government in jails and prisons for not having proper documentation. While lacking papers is not a crime, immigrants are often imprisoned for months–sometimes years–with little connection to the outside world. While over 80 percent of detained immigrants are unrepresented by legal counsel, many also are denied access to family and community support. Freedom for Immigrants ends the isolation and abuse of persons in immigration detention by building and strengthening community visitation programs across the United States.


Christina Fialho is a social activist for immigrant rights and the daughter of an immigrant. She has assisted in defending immigrants from detention and deportation before the U.S. Immigration Courts, and she has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Detention Watch Network, and her scholarly publications focus on the intersection of immigration law, constitutional law, and international human rights. Prior to starting Freedom for Immigrants, she co-founded the first immigration detention visitation program in California.