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About me

My advocacy has earned me a positive reputation as a fierce advocate for immigrants’ rights. I have been committed to advancing the rights of immigrants for many years. My dedication to immigrants’ rights motivated me to develop an immigration law practice in California & New Mexico.


I have represented clients in all stages of litigation including numerous trials and appeals. Previously, I served as an Assistant Public Defender in Santa Fe, NM. Many of my clients were Mexican & Central American immigrants, including indigenus migrants from Latin America. My work as Immigration Counsel for the NM Public Defender Dept. included successfully addressing violations of equal protection and due process for non-citizen clients in the New Mexico criminal courts. My heavy caseload required me to appear in court almost daily for various hearings and I am very comfortable working in a court room as well as working with policy makers and government officials.


My advocacy includes presenting information, training, and education to diverse groups including attorneys, non-citizens, students & immigrants' rights activists. I have been invited to speak at universities, conferences, community organizing events, classes and the humblest of venues. I have advocated for immigrants' rights with policy makers and through invtation with media. Also, I have been a presenter at CLE seminars where I was invited to speak on immigration consequences of criminal convictions for the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (NMCDLA) & ethics & professionalism for the State Bar of New Mexico Immigration Section.


In 2011, I assisted the AILA Advocacy Dept. in Washington DC in collecting stories for the report, Immigration Enforcement Off Target: Minor Offenses With Major Consequences published on August 16, 2011. I have also published articles on Secured Communities, the "polimigra" and "crimmigration" issues for the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Assoc. (NMCDLA) at their invitation. I have educated local judges on issues of bond, departure control orders, immigration parole and other matters that are relevant to protecting the rights of immigrant clients in the criminal justice system.


My personal research interests include immigration & border studies, in depth study of the intersection of immigration and crime, human trafficking laws, migrants’ rights, indigenous rights, and international human rights law. My research was published by The United Nations Crime & Research Institute (UNICRI) & The Max Planck Institute in an article I co-authored entitled, Human Trafficking on the U.S. – Mexico Border: Is There a Nexus with Immigration Policies? Most recently I have written about indigenous migrants from Mexico in the United States and the legal issues that arise for these transnational groups. I have also published articles on "crimmigration" issues for the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Asscoiation.


My resume can’t fully describe more than twenty years of volunteerism and community service work in California & New Mexico. In the Mission District of San Francisco, I worked as a community organizer, educator and performing artist. Before working as a legal advocate I served Latino communities as a bilingual teacher in Montebello and Whittier, California. While working as a teacher in Los Angeles County, I received an award of recognition for my community organizing work against crime and environmental injustice in La Puente and Whittier from Los Angeles County Supervisor, Gloria Molina. In New Mexico I have volunteered with Los Amigos de Las Mujeres de Juarez and served on the N.M. Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force. Also, I was recently asked to serve as a Board Member for New Mexico immigrants' rights non--profit organizations & on school boards serving immigrant communities.


This enduring dedication to immigrant communities is also rooted in my own personal identity and experience. My mother is an immigrant from Mexico and my stepmother is an immigrant from China. I have lived in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Europe and Mexico City. My experiences living in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Mexico and Texas have also deepened my understanding of the issues facing immigrant communities in the U.S. and I am passionate about achieving positive results for all clients. Clients can relate to me and they trust me. My clients know that I am committed to winning their cases.




Languages spoken: Spanish, English, Mandarin

Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Immigration: 90%
    4 years
  2. Criminal Defense: 10%
    6 years

Attorney endorsements

11 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Ian M. Seruelo

    Carolina is a great immigration and criminal defense attorney. She is knowledgeable, creative, dedicated, and most of all, she is a passionate advocate.


    Ian Seruelo Immigration Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Mark M. Oxford

    I endorse attorney Carolina Ramos. Very knowledgeable and multilingual. What else you can ask from your immigration lawyer.


    Mark Oxford Immigration Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Casa Cornelia Law Center

2760 Fifth Avenue
Suite 200
San Diego, CA, 92103

Casa Cornelia Law Center

2760 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA, 92103



NMAuthorized to practice law200902/14/2012
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Dean's AwardUniversity of New Mexico School of Law2009
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Director, Victims of Crime ProgramCasa Cornelia Law Center2016 - Present
Director of Human Trafficking ProgramCasa Cornelia Law Center2015 - 2016
Attorney at LawImmigration Law Office of Carolina Martin Ramos2015 - 2015
Asst. Public Defender, Serious Violent FeloniesLaw Offices of the Public Defender2014 - 2014
Attorney of CounselJohn Lawit, P.C.2012 - 2012
Owner & Managing AttorneyJusticia Digna, LLC2012 - 2015
Managing Attorney Family Based Immigration DivisionLaw Office of John W. Lawit2012 - 2012
Immigration AttorneyLaw Office of Emilio J. Huerta2012 - 2012
Assistant Public DefenderState of New Mexico Public Defender Department2010 - 2012
EducatorWhittier City School District1999 - 2005
EducatorMontebello Unified School District1997 - 1999
Association namePosition nameDuration
American Bar Association (ABA)Member2016 - Present
San Diego North County Bar AssociationMember2015 - Present
San Diego County Bar AssociationMember2015 - Present
Indian Law Section, NM State Bar Assoc.Board Member2014 - Present
New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association (NMHBA)Board Member2013 - Present
New Mexico Bar Association, Immigration SectionCurrent Chair & Board Member2012 - Present
El Centro de Igualdad y DerechosBoard Member2012 - Present
Kern County Bar AssociationMember2012 - Present
American Immigration Lawyers AssociationMember2011 - Present
New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers AssociationMember2010 - Present
State Bar of New Mexico, Indian Law SectionMember2009 - Present
State Bar of New MexicoMember2009 - Present
International Law Students' AssociationVice President2007 - 2008
National Native American Law Students AssociationMember2006 - 2009
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Non-Citizen Defendant DUI Case Dismissed After Deportationall charges dismissed dismissed & immigration consequences avoided
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
TelemundoDue Process Violations In Artesia, New Mexico2014
For the Defense (New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association)The Criminalization of Migration in New Mexico2013
For the Defense, New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (NMCDLA)Are Your Clients Disappearing in the Polimigra Abyss?2011
For the Defense, New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (NMCDLA)Challenging Bail Determinations for Non-citizens in New Mexico2011
United Nations Crime & Research Institute (UNICRI) and the Max Planck Institute, from Fear, Oct. 2008, at 16Human Trafficking on the U.S. – Mexico Border: Is There a Nexus with Immigration Policies?2009
LIMON: Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion NewsletterUNM Latin American & Iberian Institute Hosts Fo- rum with Director of the United Nations Interre- gional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)2008
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of New Mexico School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor2009
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
¡Bocón!Women & Children Refugees From Central America Detained in Artesia, NM2014
The Family Law Client in the Context of Immigration LawThe Situation in Artesia - Updates and what the New Mexico Legal Community Can Do To Help2014
New Mexico's Criminal Justice System: A View From the TrenchesDecriminalization of Prostitution2014
Latino U.S.A. with Maria Hinojosa on Natl. Public Radio (NPR)Sex Workers' Rights & Latinos in the Sex Indiustry2014
Bench & Bar Conference, 2014 Annual Meeting, Justice at StakeCrimmigration in New Mexico2014
Asilo Humanitario en Questión Debido a Procedimientos de ICEDue Process Issues for Women & Children Detained in Artesia, New Mexico2014
Criminal Issues in ImmigrationDevelopments in Case Law Related to "Crimmigration" with Dan Kesselbrenner2013
17th Annual National Latina/o Law Students Association (NLLSA)Crimmigration Practice2013
DIA Training on DACADeferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)2012
The Border: Closer to Home than You Think, Conference Las Vegas, New Mexico, October 2011Immigration & Law Enforcement2011
Immigration Truth & ConsequencesImmigration Consequences: Controlled Substances & DUI2011
Immigration Law CLE, New Mexico Bar Association, October 2011Representing the Foreign National: Issues in Professionalism2011
Immigration Symposium: Dispelling Myths and Raising AwarenessHuman Rights & Anti-Trafficking Legislation2008
Immigration Symposium: Dispelling Myths & Raising AwarenessHuman Trafficking Legislation & Immigration Policy2008
Women Braving Violence ConferenceAre law school creating advocates to end Violence Against Women or are they creating bureaucrats?2007