“Leaders Within the Immigration Justice Movement” took place at Seaver 100 from 6-8 p.m on Tuesday, March 26. The event was a part of Immigration Awareness Week, which was organized by Resilience, LMU’s immigration rights club.
After introducing the panel, the moderators prompted them to answer four questions. The questions and some of the panelists’ responses are shown below.
1. How are you personally connected to the immigration justice movement?
Bustamente: I am an immigrant, myself. It became really easy to get involved in the movement when it was something directly affecting me and my loved ones. It became really easy to find that interest in the field because it was something [I struggle with] every single day."
2. What issues do you see currently intersecting the immigrant narrative? What would you add/change?
Quintanilla: A big issue that we rarely talk about, that’s really intertwined with immigration and citizenship status, is domestic violence. For women, specifically those experiencing domestic violence, there’s very little resources that they have access to because of their citizenship status—there are so many more barriers that prevent them from seeking help.
Bustamente: The issue is the narrative itself. I feel like the folks that are in control of the narrative are not the people that are being directly impacted, so immigrants should be in control of the narrative.
Lujan: We are living in an institution that is, in itself, capitalist—that identifies people of color as disposable. “You don’t have a home. This is my land.” With someone identifying my grandmother and her home as movable, you’re worth nothing.
3. How did you become involved with doing work connected to immigration? Can you describe some of your work and how people can get involved with the work you are currently doing?
Robinson: When I came to Loyola Law School, despite [it] being one of the top public — interest law schools in the country, and despite [it] being a law school committed to social justice, we did not have an immigration clinic—we did not even have an immigration law society. So my co-director and I first started the immigration law society.
4. What are key takeaways you would like to give students here today?
Bustamente: I think my key takeaway, and maybe even a call to action, would be to ask you folks to get involved in any capacity you want to. Get informed. Spread that information.
Wolf: Find your community. Find folks who you can work with. Join organizations and know you don’t have to do this by yourself.
Perez: Realize the power of you in leading movements for social change.
The panel, chosen by AB Tucson, an immersion trip that focused on immigration and detention centers, included Leticia Bustamente, Dream Resource Center Project coordinator; Xugo Lujan, community organizer at Communities for a Better Environment; Dr. William Perez, a professor, researcher, author, and academic expert; Brenda Quintanilla, ASLMU vice president; Emily Robinson, co-director of Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic and Lydia Lopez Wolf, previous Resilience president and AB Tucson participant.