As Congress deadlocks over immigration reform, immigrant advocates have won battles on the state and local level. Immigrant leaders in more progressive environments have scored victories on issues from tuition equity and limiting ICE detainers to driver’s licenses and municipal IDs. Immigrants have also successfully fought back against restrictive proposals in less welcoming areas. This panel will discuss how these victories were won and what further work can be done as the federal stalemate continues. Speakers:
- Petra Falcon, Promise Arizona -- "Petra Falcon is the Executive Director of Promise Arizona (PAZ), whose mission is to recruit, train and support a new generation of leaders from across the state to build a new Arizona, one that allows all residents to achieve their full potential (or promise). Ms. Falcon is a veteran organizer, activist and community leader with a long record of developing powerful grassroots strategies. Falcon grew up in the Grand Canyon State as a fourth-generation Arizonan. She first began working in Arizona in a sweatshop in Glendale as a young girl of 13. From her earliest experience she learned the value of access to education and opportunity, and the social inequities and violence that result from the systemic denial of such opportunities. During her organizing career, Falcon spent 10 years organizing in border communities in southern Arizona, working with immigrants and farm workers. She has devoted her life to ensuring and expanding access to opportunities for the underserved, having achieved significant victories over her 25 years organizing within faith, Latino, and immigrant communities in Arizona and the Southwest. Her work has included traditional grassroots organizing, institutional capacity building, faith community engagement and electoral organizing. Over the past two and half decades, she has established her reputation as a trusted and respected professional and leader among community advocates and organizations across the state including Yuma, Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. Falcon was an organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation from 1990 to 2009. Most recently, Petra Falcon served as the Southwest Regional Director for the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign and in that capacity, oversaw state directors, district directors, grassroots organizers, consultants and hundreds of volunteers across the states of Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Texas. She helped to pioneer a new model of youth organizing through “Movement Building” trainings that have dramatically expanded youth participation in public life. Since 2010, Promise Arizona has registered over 54,000 new voters and catapulted thousands of leaders across the state and country. Many of those leaders have gone to lead organizations, managed campaigns, and even ran for elected offices. Falcon leads by example and practices organizing by developing leadership and capacity in communities. Petra Falcon is dedicated to serving the community. She leads by example, and practices organizing by developing leadership and capacity in and among community members. Her organizing philosophy serves as a steady hand that guides her staff in providing community members with the tools, skills, methods, and the discipline necessary to develop their own leadership skills ultimately empowering themselves to build power and capacity to achieve meaningful change."
- Joseph Villela, Senior Policy Advocate, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) -- Joseph Villela is CHIRLA’s policy director. His significant experience and knowledge of the local, state and federal legislative process, has helped the immigrant community gain representation and advocacy strength for laws and regulations pertaining to access to health services, income support programs, and immigrant and civil rights. He attended UCLA in 2005.
- Marika Dias, Managing Attorney, Make the Road New York -- Marika Dias is the Managing Attorney at Make the Road New York, where she also coordinates the immigration legal services and LGBTQ legal support. Marika maintains an active caseload of immigration cases, predominantly working with immigrant youth in Stat
- Fred Tsao, Policy Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights -- Fred Tsao is ICIRR’s senior policy counsel. In this position, he provides research and analysis of changesin immigration-related policies and procedures to ICIRR members and allies, and assists with the coalition's legislative advocacy efforts. He also provides technical support, trainings, and presentations on immigration-related topics to service providers, immigrant community organizations, and others who work with immigrants. A self-described “recovering attorney,” Fred practiced law at the Rockford office of Prairie State Legal Services, where he worked after receiving his law degree from the University of Michigan. He has also worked with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation, and the Missouri Public Interest Research Group.