The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) has appointed Maria M. Odom, a renowned immigration attorney, as executive director.
Recognized in the immigration field for her legal experience and abiding commitment to immigrants, Odom brings to CLINIC a vast knowledge of the world of immigration law, including successful litigation in the areas of removal defense, detention, and asylum. For the past year she has been the principal attorney and owner of Odom Immigration Law Group, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I am delighted to have hired an executive director of the caliber of Maria Odom. Maria comes to CLINIC with a strong background in providing legal services to the indigent and proven leadership in executive, financial, human resources, and public relations management. She brings a heart for the Catholic Church’s social mission to migrants and their families,” said Most Reverend Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento and chair of CLINIC’s board of directors.
“She has worked for many years in defending and serving immigrants in our nation. I look forward to working with her to continue to promote social justice and the Church’s teachings and fulfill CLINIC’s mission of enhancing and expanding the delivery of immigration services to low-income and vulnerable immigrants,” said Soto.
A native of Puerto Rico, who herself relocated to the United States at the age of 16, Odom began her career at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in 1997. She has served in a number of government positions including as counsel for the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). She is a former partner in the known and respected Georgia immigration firms Kuck Casablanca & Odom, LLC, and Antonini, Odom & Sullivan, LLC.
Odom has been recognized by several business and community groups for her pro bono work on behalf of vulnerable immigrants, particularly children and asylum seekers facing deportation. At the local level, she has served as liaison with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has previously served as a member of the National Detention and Removal Liaison Committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Odom has also served as a faculty member for continued legal education and AILA legal seminars and as a mentor for fellow immigration attorneys in Atlanta and in the Southeast. In 2008, she was selected by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as Hispanic Businesswoman of the Year.
“It is an honor to follow Mark Franken and Don Kerwin and join the CLINIC family,” said Odom. “CLINIC is a recognized leader in the immigration field and I look forward to working with the board, its staff of experts, and CLINIC affiliates to continue to provide resources and excellent legal representation to the most vulnerable immigrants in our country. As we strive for and inch closer to the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform, I am proud to stand with CLINIC in an honest dialogue with our leaders and members of our communities. I am prepared to discuss and nurture our shared values of compassion, respect, and hope, all of which have been extended to immigrants in this nation for many, many years.”
Odom holds a Juris Doctor from Mercer University and a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Florida State University. She and her husband Douglas are the proud parents of two children, Thomas and Emilia. Odom will take up her new position Dec. 1.