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SPLC Names Efrén Olivares as Deputy Legal Director for the Immigrant Justice Project

MONTGOMERY, Ala – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) today named Efrén C. Olivares as the new Deputy Legal Director for the organization’s Immigrant Justice Project (IJP). Olivares, the first immigrant to assume the position, will officially join the SPLC on November 23 after serving as the Director of the Racial and Economic Justice Program at the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP). 

“For the past seven years, I have had the privilege of working on behalf of immigrant communities in Texas and along the border. I will be forever grateful to my coworkers, allies, and supporters, and especially to our clients, who inspire me every day to continue doing this work,” said Efrén C. Olivares. “I look forward to bringing both my personal and professional experiences to the Southern Poverty Law Center to continue working on behalf of immigrants and their families across the South.” 

Efrén led TCRP’s Racial and Economic Justice program since its inception and was on the frontlines of responding to cruel anti-immigrant attacks by both the Trump administration as well as by the State of Texas. 

“Efrén is a brilliant and creative lawyer, a skilled leader, a masterful story-teller, and a deeply thoughtful, compassionate, caring colleague and friend. In the past seven years, he has fought ferociously for the rights of immigrant families and for those in borderland communities,” said Mimi Marziani, President of the Texas Civil Rights Project. “Under his leadership, TCRP forced Texas to provide birth certificates to babies born to immigrant moms, blocked new construction of a border wall on our Southern border and, of course, played a leading role in stopping family separation.”  

“We’re thrilled to have Efrén take the helm of our immigration advocacy work at this critical moment,” said Margaret Huang, SPLC President and CEO. “As we work alongside communities to fight for the rights and dignity of all immigrants across the Deep South and beyond, we need experienced advocates like Efrén to guide this work.” 

SPLC launched its Immigrant Justice Project in 2004. Since then, the IJP team has grown to a team of more than 50 attorneys and advocates who are now at the forefront of challenging the Trump administration’s most repugnant anti-immigrant policies and fighting for the human rights of all immigrants.

IJP works on the ground in the immigration courts and detention centers to reveal systemic abuses and file impact litigation against those abuses. The Project is actively litigating for the rights of asylum seekers, guest workers, separated families and immigrants in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention to deportation pipeline. IJP also works in coordination with the SPLC’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, which provides pro bono legal representation to individuals in ICE custody across the Deep South. 

Read more about Efrén’s time at TCRP here.


The SPLC is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. Learn more about the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project here.

The Texas Civil Rights Project is boldly serving the movement for equality and justice in and out of the courts. We use our tools of litigation and legal advocacy to protect and advance the civil rights of everyone in Texas and we partner with communities across the state to serve the rising movement for social justice. We undertake our work with a vision of a Texas in which all communities can thrive with dignity, justice and without fear.