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Secretary Napolitano today announced that Maria Odom has been appointed as the new Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman. Ms. Odom brings substantial knowledge of immigration law and valuable experience working with community partners to address challenges with immigration and citizenship services. As Ombudsman, Ms. Odom will lead the Ombudsman’s Office as they continue to provide assistance to the public, while also recommending ways U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can improve the delivery of immigration services and benefits.
Ms. Odom most recently served as Executive Director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), since September 2009, where she led a national network of community-based immigration programs. Early in her career, Maria served in a number of roles in the U.S. Department of Justice, including positions at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and as counsel for the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service. Maria also practiced immigration law in the private sector for many years. A native of Puerto Rico, Ms. Odom holds a Bachelor’s degree from The Florida State University and a Juris Doctorate from Mercer University in Georgia.
Ms. Odom replaces January Contreras who departed earlier this year. Debra Rogers, who has been serving as Acting Ombudsman will serve again as Deputy Director of the Ombudsman’s Office.