Cynthia Hernandez

Ms. Hernandez is the Director of the Afghan Legal Representation Project (ALRP) and leads a dynamic team of attorneys and caseworkers who help Afghan clients file applications for Asylum, Temporary Protected Status, Re-Parole and Special Immigration Visas and/or other kinds of relief.

Ms. Hernández began her legal career as an attorney for the United States National Labor Relations Board. She also spent several years as a union attorney and was later appointed by the United Nations as a criminal defense attorney for trials and appeals stemming from the war crimes and atrocities that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. While working with the United Nations, Ms. Hernández was part of a legal team led by former United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

In 2021, she was selected to be an expert for the Justice Rapid Response organization, the only global facility providing rapidly deployable experts specialized in international criminal and human rights investigations. The Justice Rapid Response Expert Roster consists of an exclusive list of approximately 700 experts, worldwide.

From 2018 to 2022, Ms. Hernández was the Chief Special Investigator for the Los Angeles City Fire Department where she oversaw its Professional Standards Division, which is responsible for conducting the Department’s internal affairs investigations.

From 2008-2018, Ms. Hernández was selected by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to perform an oversight role for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. In 2010, she established the monitoring team for the Los Angeles County’s Probation Department and also served as the Chief Attorney and worked collaboratively with the US Department of Justice regarding custodial issues of juveniles.

As an independent monitor, Ms. Hernández ensured allegations of on-duty and off-duty misconduct involving personnel were investigated in thorough, fair and effective ways. Her primary monitoring role was to evaluate internal affairs investigations, assess use of force incidents, including canine deployments, Taser use and officer-involved shootings. She also assessed the ability of those investigations to ensure individual accountability, systemic and policy reform and best practices.

In 2009, Ms. Hernández was appointed by the United States Department of State as an expert and was part of the Mérida Initiative Assessment Team in México where she participated in meetings in Mexico City with senior management from the Asuntos Internos (Internal Affairs) unit of the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (the Inspector General for Mexico’s federal police). She assessed the organization’s structures, responsibilities, and efforts to deter, detect, investigate, and punish corruption and administrative misconduct committed by members of the federal police.

Before her legal career, Ms. Hernandez was a bilingual elementary school educator. She earned a BA from the University of California, San Diego and attended the University of Nairobi, Kenya and la Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico. She earned an MA in Education from Claremont University and a JD from the University of Southern California. She speaks Spanish and Swahili.