Dearra Godinez started her professional career as a civil litigator. She joined ILC as a bilingual (English/Spanish) immigration attorney, passionate about implementing what she had learned as a litigator into serving underrepresented immigrants, particularly including children, in rural Nebraska.
As an attorney, Dearra represented immigrants across rural Nebraska, specializing in humanitarian-based forms of relief. Her caseload was largely comprised of child clients and sponsors of unaccompanied children.
Dearra also worked with lawyers, judges, law enforcement agencies, schools, and other child advocacy and service agencies across Nebraska to provide education and advocacy resources that promoted an accurate understanding of immigration law and its intersection with family and juvenile law.
In 2017, ILC received a generous three-year grant to grow ILC’s impact across rural Nebraska. Dearra managed ILC’s onboarding and ongoing training for new staff as ILC expanded from 3 offices to 10 offices from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
As part of ILC’s growth, Dearra worked with the legal team to establish best practices for remote team management, technical training, community engagement and awareness, quality assurance, and client representation. In 2018, Dearra led the multi-state immigration legal response to a workplace raid in rural Nebraska.
Dearra joined ILC’s Leadership Team as the Director of Legal Services in 2020. In partnership with Team Leads and the Leadership Team, Dearra assisted in setting and driving organizational vision and operational strategy and in shaping and implementing ILC’s organizational infrastructure to support the realization of ILC’s strategic vision and goals.
Dearra now serves as ILC’s Senior Director of Operations, and she remains an integral part of ILC’s leadership team. In this operations role, Dearra will draw on her experience as a legal service provider, supervisor, and manager, to work with her ILC team to design, implementation, evaluate, and improve ILC programmatic operations. This includes integrating ILC’s legal and intake operations with ILC’s new social work program.
Outside of ILC, you will find Dearra spending time with her husband and best friend, Cesar, and their three children, Braxton, Amaya, and Ellys.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (2011)
U.S. District Court for the Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Oklahoma (2010)
Oklahoma City University School of Law
summa cum laude
University of Nebraska Kearney
Political Science, International Studies, Spanish
summa cum laude