Jessica was born and raised in the border town of Laredo, Texas. When her older sister needed urgent medical care that was only available in the United States, her parents immigrated here to start a new home for the Cisneros family. Her dad picked fruit and started his own trucking company to make ends meet and ensure his two daughters could make it through high school.
As a kid, Jessica saw firsthand that too many of the laws written miles away in Washington, D.C. weren’t written to protect people who looked like her.
She grew up watching her parents work hard and struggle to keep a small business afloat, and she's seen her family and community continue to struggle with many of the same challenges today: lack of access to health care, too few job opportunities, and a broken immigration system.
Jessica made a commitment at an early age to become an advocate for families like her own and protect the rights of immigrants and working people.
Jessica attended Dovalina Elementary and Christen Middle schools and excelled at Early College High School in Laredo and graduated as valedictorian. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, where she specialized in immigration law.
For her leadership and commitment to keeping immigrant families safe and together, Jessica was awarded the Texas Law Fellowships Excellence in Public Interest Award, the Pro Bono Award, the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students’ Association’s Spirit of Community Award, and the Dean's Achievement award for most outstanding student in the field of Immigration Law.
During her time in law school, Jessica served as a Pro Bono Scholar and worked with UT faculty to create the Women in Immigration Detention Assistance Project, which assisted asylum seekers at the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, and she clerked at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in San Antonio, Texas.
After graduating, Jessica crafted her own one-year fellowship at Brooklyn Defender Services with plans to learn from their first-in-the-nation public defender model for people in immigration court and bring it back to South Texas.
Jessica's vision to implement what she learned back to her community hit a road-block by the name of Henry Cuellar. Jessica learned that many of the problems she had hoped to confront as an attorney were directly caused by the policies set by our leaders in Washington — while her congressman was doing very little to speak up for the needs and concerns of families back in South Texas.
In June 2019, with the support of her community, Jessica launched her campaign to challenge Rep. Cuellar, who is an anti-choice, anti-labor, pro-NRA Democrat who voted with Donald Trump and the Republicans almost 70% of the time last Congress.