Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Deborah is a 1976 graduate of Harvard/Radcliffe College (cum laude in Social Anthropology) and 1989 graduate of New York University of Law, where she received the Moncrieffe Award for outstanding scholarship in the area of race, values and the American legal process. Deborah began her legal career as a litigation associate at the Seattle office of Perkins Coie, specializing in consumer protection and unfair trade practice. Since 1993 she has primarily focused on asylum and deportation defense.
Combining her interests in consumer protection and immigration law, in 2014 Deborah cooperated with Rios & Cruz partner Manuel Rios to attack frauds perpetrated by non-lawyer providers of immigration related services, by bringing the first ever litigation under Washington’s Immigration Services Fraud Prevention Act. The successful completion of this pro bono litigation led the Washington State Bar Association, in 2015, to select Deborah and Manuel for its highest award, the “Award of Merit”
Deborah has been of counsel at Rios & Cruz since 2015 where she continues to work on challenging legal issues and theories in deportation defense, and on consumer protection cases, particularly those involving the fraudulent provision of professional services.
Her recent publications include “Want to End Notario Fraud? Take the law into your own hands.” (with Greg McLawsen, by American Immigration Lawyers Association, 11/22/17) and “Flat Fees: A Few Wrinkles” (with Greg McLawsen in NW Lawyer, 6/14).