Former Miami Judge Ada Pozo is a powerful Latina, fierce immigration attorney, and current co-host of Kevin O’Leary’s CNBC show, “Money Court.”
“One thing led to another and next thing you know, I’m sitting in Telemundo studios in Miami, filming next to Mr. Wonderful,” Ada said.
On “Money Court,” Ada advises people dealing with financial disputes — some worth millions of dollars. “Not only are we helping them, I think we get a chance to educate the public,” she said.
Ada comes from a long line of public servants in Cuba. As an attorney, media personality, and former judge, she’s supported and represented countless individuals.
“My parents came in 1959. They were refugees from Cuba. They came fleeing the Castro dictatorship like so many others. My grandfather was actually the mayor of Havana when Castro came in and took over. And my father was the country’s equivalent of the surgeon general,” Ada said. “He was a doctor who was at the top of his game and he had to pick up and come here with nothing — just the shirt on his back, basically. He barely spoke English.”
Ada’s dad delivered dry cleaning by day and learned English at night. He went to the University of Miami and became a doctor here in the U.S. Her mom was an actress in Cuba, and seamstress in the U.S. They were able to help Ada and her sister go to college for their undergraduate and law degrees.
“My father passed away 15 years ago, but he did get to see me become a judge. He put my judicial robe on me at my investiture and it was pretty special,” she said.
During Ada’s undergraduate years, she took an internship at the Miami-Dade County public defender’s office that set her on her path: “When people were explaining things to me on the first day, I wasn’t listening to a word they were saying because I was just so excited to be there.”
Later on, Ada went to law school and returned to that same public defender’s office as a trial lawyer. “I used to laugh that I grew up at the county jail because I really did. I was 20 when I started, and by the time I left, I was married with my oldest son already,” she said.
After she was a Miami-Dade County court judge, Ada gravitated towards immigration law: “I fell in love with being able to help clients that I empathize so much with. So many of my clients reminded me of my own parents that were here. Not because they wanted to feed off the system or commit crimes, but because they had to flee their homes. Some were going to be persecuted or killed. For reasons as simple as being gay or being the wrong religion.”
As a mother, Ada worried about her kids losing touch with her family’s Cuban roots. “They didn’t experience the struggles of a parent who couldn’t help them with their homework because they didn’t speak the language,” she said. “But they are proud of being Hispanic. And I’m proud of them for not forgetting who they are, even though at times it wasn’t the popular thing to be.”
Now, both of her kids are in college. They speak Spanish, and are a part of Hispanic student organizations. Ada misses them, and recently said goodbye to her daughter when she left for college. “I’m counting the days down till Thanksgiving,” she said.
Until then, she’ll continue fighting for individuals as an immigration attorney, and giving financial advice to all of America on CNBC’s “Money Court.”
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