About Marisa DeFranco

Who am I?  

I am the granddaughter of immigrants, and now I am an immigration attorney, a leader in my field. My grandparents were from Sicily and Northern Italy, all of them coming for the American Dream, with little more than the clothes on their backs. The same dream of freedom that my husband’s parents sought when they left China.

What I do?  

I work with immigrants, businesses both large and small, children in state custody, and survivors of violence. I have first-hand experience advocating for clients who are affected by federal law—fighting to uphold those laws that deliver justice. I am serious about my clients’ business, and I am serious about the business of the people of the 6th District.

Why am I running?  

We in the Sixth District are working hard every day, while Congress is hardly working. I am running to ensure that everyday people have the opportunity and the access to that American Dream. I am running to put the government back into the hands of the people, NOT the powerful elite who currently own and operate the system.

I am running for Everyday People, the ones —

  • Who show up to work every day
  • Who put in the 8, 9, 10+ hours every day
  • Who are the engine of the economy and this country

What will I do for the people of the Sixth District?  

The U.S. Congress needs to start doing the people’s business instead of stalling it. I have a track record of delivering real solutions to people’s real world problems. I will be a voice for everyday people who have no voice.


I am running for Congress to ensure that we actually live up to our American ideals …that we are and shall always be a government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people. Lincoln did NOT say a government of the powerful elite, by the powerful elite and for the powerful elite.

The powerful elites are taking the hard-earned dollars of the people and lining the pockets of their too-big-to-fail pants, and we will not allow our democracy to be purchased by an insular group out of touch with the real world.

It is time that we give truth to the words, “With Liberty and Justice for All.” That liberty and justice that my grandparents sought, to come and breathe free, work hard, and live the American Dream.

Women. We are 51% of the population, and we will not be denied equality any longer. We are done waiting patiently, working just as hard as men for only ¾ the pay, and being a paltry 18% of the United States Congress, and an even smaller percentage in the board room.

We will not be patronized, and we will not allow our most private issues to be used as political footballs. We want equality. And we want it now.

Security. We can have both liberty and security. We are great enough and smart enough to do it. Anyone who says we cannot is wrong. Recent events have opened the door for this discussion, let us be brave enough to make it a meaningful one.

We must fight for equality and economic justice And we must win, so we can say to all who live here, it is with liberty and justice for ALL.


Marisa was a recipient of a national award for her pro bono work; she received the National Legal Aid & Defenders Association’s Beacon of Justice award in October 2010.

Marisa was published as a contributor to the ABA’s book, The Road to Independence: 101 Women's Journeys to Starting Their Own Law Firms in July 2011.

In July 2011, Marisa was named a 2011 Top Woman of Law by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, chosen for her outstanding accomplishments in the legal community and was honored in September at their 4th annual event.


Marisa served as Chair on the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Immigration Section Council from 2008 to 2011. She also served as Chair of the New England Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), as well as a liaison to a Federal Government agency and as a Director on the AILA National Board of Governors.


As part of the Women’s Bar Association Legislative Policy Committee and Mass NOW, she worked on a range of legislation from insurance discrimination to contraceptive coverage, and in her practice, she has represented immigrant women who have fled from their abusive marriages to U.S. Citizens and served as a mentor to practitioners in the field. She also previously served as the VP of Legislative Policy for Massachusetts NOW, as well as the Violence Against Women Task Force Chair.


During law school, Marisa worked in the Staff Attorney’s office at the First Circuit Court of Appeals and as a Victim’s Witness Advocate in the Cambridge District Court as part of Suffolk’s Battered Women Clinic. In 2008, Ms. DeFranco was appointed a Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.