Aissa Olivarez, Staff Attorney

Aissa Olivarez is the Staff Attorney at the Community Immigration Law Center (CILC). She joined CILC in August 2017 and as a part of the organization provides deportation defense. Aissa has represented many clients in removal and bond proceedings, and appeals.

Prior to joining CILC, Aissa was a Staff Attorney at the Pro Bono Asylum Representation Children’s Project (ProBAR), where she represented unaccompanied minor children who were placed in removal proceedings by the Department of Homeland Security in Harlingen, Texas. During law school, Aissa participated in the Immigrant Justice Clinic and the Defenders Project at the University of Wisconsin Law School. In September 2018, Aissa was awarded the Belle Case LaFollette Award by the Wisconsin Law Foundation for her work with under-served communities.

Aissa earned her B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. She was a first grade teacher for 4 years in the Austin Independent School District before deciding to pursue her law degree. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in May 2016, where she was an active leader in the Student Bar Association and served as president of the Latinx Law Student  Association. During her tenure at UW, she received accolades such as the Barbara B. Crabb Prize, the LLSA Comunidad Award, the Ray and Ethel Brown Award, the Public Interest Scholar Award as well as the Children’s Justice Project Fellowship, among others. Aissa lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and daughter.

Leah Durst-Lee, Legal Services and Development Coordinator

Leah Durst-Lee is the Legal Services and Development Coordinator at the Community Immigration Law Center (CILC). She joined CILC in September 2017 and provides legal assistance, fundraising, marketing, and volunteer and intern management.

Prior to joining CILC, Leah was Domestic Violence Outcome Measures Project Manager at the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, where she coordinated between 17 domestic violence agencies and the research entity to collect longitudinal data from DV survivors. Leah managed the collection of over 700 surveys, and trained over 300 counselors, court advocates, and shelter managers in the ethics and proper collection of data and survey implementation. She assisted with the evaluation of data and co-authored research publications.

Leah earned her B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Loyola University – Chicago, graduating Magna Cum Laude, where she was awarded a research fellowship with the Center for Urban Research and Learning to work on urban issue research projects, such as food access, collective organizing, housing, and domestic violence. Leah was the recipient of the Kale Williams Award for Exceptional Work in Promoting Human Rights and Social Justice.

Prior to university, Leah worked for five years as Volunteer Coordinator training and leading youth on international humanitarian trips to China, India, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Spain and Morocco, and was stationed one of these years in Mexico.

Leah lives in Madison with her husband and in her free time studies Korean and fundraises for Fairhaven School for Children with Disabilities in Alexandria, Egypt.