WASHINGTON, DC -The Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund are pleased to announce that Esther Olavarria has joined American Progress as Senior Fellow for Immigration.
Esther comes to CAP/CAPAF from the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, where she served as senior advisor for government and external relations. Prior to joining UNHCR, she was chief immigration counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) on the Senate Judiciary Committee. From 1998 to 2007, she served as Senator Kennedy’s principle advisor on immigration, border security, and refugee policies and legislation, including comprehensive immigration reform. Esther began her career as an immigration attorney in Miami, FL, working at several non-profit organizations. She co-founded the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center and supervised the direct service work of that organization. She also worked at Legal Services of Greater Miami as the directing attorney of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Pro Bono Project, and at the Haitian Refugee Center, as a staff attorney.
Esther was born in Cuba and grew up in Miami. She is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law. She is fluent in Spanish.
As Senior Fellow, she will lead the Center’s work on immigration and refugee policy.