Christie Turner-Herbas served as a Human Rights Scholar from 2007-2008. Today, she is the Deputy Director of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a Houston-based non-profit that works to protect the basic human rights of refugee and immigrant children in the United States.
Turner-Herbas recounts that her role as a Scholar at the Center gave her “an excellent foundation in the practical applications of human rights law.” After graduation, she undertook a one-year fellowship in women's rights, and has been practicing in the immigration law sphere in the ten years since.
While at the Rapoport Center, Turner-Herbas helped coordinate a week-long fact-finding delegation to Brazil, part of a multi-year project on Afro-descendant and indigenous land rights in Latin America. Reflecting on how the experience shaped her personal and professional development, Turner remarked, “I still often think of that research trip with pride. It pushed me to dig deep outside of my comfort zone and challenged me to test my own perceptions of what I could achieve. It was incredibly challenging to organize an investigative research trip and coordinate meetings with various stakeholders from different sectors of society. Accomplishing that feat step by step gave me the confidence to push harder in the work I do even today, as I work to address the family separation crisis.”
Turner-Herbas received a BA in International Relations from Tufts University and a JD from the University of Texas School of Law. While in law school, she focused primarily on immigration and political asylum, working during her summers for Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services and for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, both in Washington, D.C. In this latter position, where she was a Rapoport Summer Fellow, Turner-Herbas monitored the detention of refugees and asylum seekers in prison-like immigration detention facilities. In addition, she worked for the Political Asylum Project of Austin and took both the Transnational Worker Rights and Immigration clinics at UT Law.