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cristina matias mendoza

BIA ACCREDITED REPRESENTATIVE

Cristina works as a trilingual (Mam, Spanish, and English) speaking paralegal and accredited representative at SJC. Cristina started working at SJC in August 2014 and has worked in many different roles, including receptionist, Mam interpreter, and legal assistant.

Prior to SJC, Cristina volunteered at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant interpreting for Mam speaking individuals at their USCIS interviews. Having immigrated to the United States from Guatemala as a child, Cristina is a rare asset in her fluency in the Mayan language Mam, as well as Spanish and English.

Raised in Oakland with the memories of hardships in Guatemala, Cristina has been passionate about immigrant rights and justice from an early age. Originally interested in becoming a nurse to provide healthcare to the citizens of Guatemala, she changed paths and was more interested in immigration law.

As a staff member at SJC, Cristina has learned a lot about the legal process and the role of an attorney. She aspires to one day become an attorney herself. Outside of work, she spends her time at church as part of a group her family created to aid recent Guatemalan immigrants. By reading the Bible in Spanish and Mam, she supports their transition while helping them learn Spanish.

Cristina is thankful for the family she has found at Social Justice Collaborative; for their support, knowledge, and collaboration. When she wakes up in the morning to go to work it doesn’t feel like work, but an opportunity to help those to whom she so closely relates. This is her favorite part about working at SJC.