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Rochelle Garza is a fronteriza and lifelong fighter for the border communities of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. She believes that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, everyone deserves a fair shot to get ahead.
 

Rochelle was raised in Brownsville, Texas, the sister city to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She is the daughter of two public school teachers.  Rochelle’s mother was raised by a WWII veteran and a hard-working mother who became the manager of a municipal credit union after raising three children.  Rochelle’s father was raised on a farm by an immigrant mother and a father whose family had worked the land for multiple generations.  Her father became a teacher, a lawyer and then served South Texas as an elected State District Judge for 21 years. Together, they taught Rochelle to have faith, work hard, and that every person is deserving of dignity and respect.

At a young age, Rochelle learned firsthand how broken our healthcare system is.  Her oldest brother, Robby, suffered a brain injury during childbirth and grew up with disabilities.  Rochelle watched her parents work tirelessly to ensure Robby had the care he needed.  Her mother left teaching to care for Robby.  Access to affordable health care was absolutely critical.  But time after time, Robby was denied coverage for his most basic needs, even a wheelchair lift to get him to school. Like so many families across Texas, Rochelle knows what it’s like to make sacrifices for the health of her family. 

So she became a lawyer for the people — fighting for children, immigrants, and families as a civil rights lawyer. She fought to keep families together during Donald Trump’s devastating “zero tolerance” immigration policies of family separation and denying access to asylum. She knows what it’s like to represent the interests of everyday Texans as they interact with our legal system — from representing parents seeking child support to defending people’s due process rights.

Rochelle has fought for reproductive rights for immigrant teens in detention, including the Garza v. Hargan case in which Rochelle was the guardian for Jane Doe, a pregnant 17-year-old denied the right to choose. A month-long legal battle ensued when Donald Trump staged an unprecedented intervention to try to stop Jane from making the decision that was hers alone to make.

On Jane’s behalf, Rochelle fought in courts in Texas and Washington, DC.  She even took on Justice Brett Kavanaugh for deciding against Jane and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who tried to meddle in the case. And she won — giving Jane and many others like her the opportunity to exercise their lawful rights and the chance at a better life.  The decision has had a lasting impact.  Teens in immigration custody are now given the “Garza Notice,” informing them of their right to access abortion free of obstruction and retaliation.  In September 2018, Rochelle testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Garza v. Hargan case and the impact it had on Jane Doe.

Rochelle is active on county and state-wide boards, including Jane’s Due Process, the State Bar of Texas’ Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality Committee, and the Cameron County Bar Association.  Rochelle has also received national, state, and local recognition for her work.

At the local level, she served as a board member of the Moody Clinic, a rehabilitation services provider for children with disabilities, was a member of the Sombrero Festival’s Marketing Committee, an organization that hosts a celebration of the binational relationship between Brownsville and Matamoros during Charro Days, and was the Chair of the Ethics Advisory Commission for the City of Brownsville. 

Rochelle was a staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas and a managing partner of Garza & Garza Law, PLLC. Rochelle graduated from the University of Houston Law Center and from Brown University with honors.  She lives in Brownsville with her husband, Adam, and their dog Ramses. On the weekends you can find her at family cookouts, enjoying South Padre Island and local parks and resacas.