P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Maribel Hernández Rivera, 2009

Deputy National Political Director, Equality Division Director, ACLU

Maribel Hernández Rivera is an immigrant from Mexico

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a JD in Law at New York University (NYU)

Maribel Hernãndez Rivera (2009 Fellow) is District Director at Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Previously, she was executive Director of Legal Initiatives at New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs; supervising attorney at Immigrant Justice Corps; a civil rights staff attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and a commercial litigator with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

Born in Mexico, she came to Texas when she was 13. Her mother is a naturalized citizen and along with Maribel's older brother resides in Houston, TX. Maribel's younger brother is a petty officer in the United States NAVY and is currently deployed overseas. Maribel completed a JD/MPA at New York University and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.

During school, Maribel was an articles editor of the NYU Law Review and a member of the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Majoring in Social Studies, she graduated magna cum laude in her filed from Harvard University, where she held a Mellon Mays undergraduate fellowship and a Goldman Sachs scholarship for excellence. At Harvard, she was active in addressing issues of importance to Latinx students, serving as president of the local chapter of RAZA and Concilio Latino.

After graduation Maribel lived in Marseilles, France as a Michael C. Rockefeller Fellow. She later worked and interned in Mozambique first with the Clinton Foundation and then with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Maribel clerked in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals before working as a Fried Frank/ MALDEF Fellow in New York City where she represented individuals in immigration detention, submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the US government in the Arizona v. United States case, and joined a working group dedicated to increase representation of people in immigration detention.

  • MPA Domestic Policy | Princeton University 2010
  • JD Law | New York University (NYU) 2010
  • BA Social Studies | Harvard University 2004
Work History
  • ACLU, Deputy National Political Director, Equality Division Director | October 2021 - PRESENT
  • Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, District Director | February 2019
  • New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Executive Director of Legal Initiatives
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