Olivia Peña oversees the Harlingen, Houston, and San Antonio teams where staff are appointed as the independent Child Advocates for unaccompanied and separated children in immigration custody.
Deputy Program Director, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
Olivia Peña is a Deputy Program Director in the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights Harlingen office. She oversees the Harlingen, Houston, and San Antonio teams where staff are appointed as the independent Child Advocates for unaccompanied and separated children in immigration custody. In addition to supporting and guiding her teams, Olivia helps develop the organization’s national Child Advocate program, advocate for the rights and best interests of children in collaboration with the policy team and collaborate with nonprofits and activists across the Rio Grande Valley. She is a 2019 Fellow of the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute and one of H&I’s Real Heroes. To advance the rights and protections for immigrant children, Olivia has spoken with members of Congress, the press, and at national and international conferences. Before joining the Young Center in 2014, Olivia served as a Student Attorney in the Immigration Clinic at the University of Houston Law Center, where she worked on humanitarian parole, asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile status, Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals, and Adjustment of Status applications. Olivia earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center and her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas in Brownsville/Texas Southmost College.