Isabel Garcia graduated from Pueblo High School in 1971. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and Political Science in 1975 and her Juris Doctorate degree in 1978 from the University of Arizona College of Law. In 1978, she accepted a Reginald Heber Smith Community Fellowship with the Texas Rural Legal Aid in Del Rio. Isabel began her legal career in 1980 defending the indigent as an Assistant Public Defender at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office then the Federal Public Defender’s Office. While a partner in Fajardo, Garcia, Gallegos & Bracamonte from 1986 to1990 she also served as Pima County Juvenile Court Judge Pro Tempore and as City Magistrate for the City of South Tucson.
Isabel was named in 1992 as the Director of the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office. Isabel has been recognized locally and nationally for her work including the Special Service Award by the Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Catholic Conferences in 1989. In 1990, she was appointed by the United Civil Rights Commission in Washington, D.C as Vice President of their Arizona Advisory Committee. She was the American Civil Liberties Union Honoree and featured speaker in 1993 at their “Those Who Take Risks” dinner.
In 2006, she received the National Human Rights Award, from the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos de Mexico, the first for someone not born nor living in Mexico. Isabel is the founder and Co-Chair of Derechos Humanos/Human Rights Coalition an organization advocating for immigrant rights and border issues.