Under any circumstances, moving to another country is a daring and deeply hopeful act. More so, when fleeing poverty and violence across a potentially hostile frontier. Immigrants are among our best, most resilient, most creative fellow humans.
The Democrats in Mexico City have a unique opportunity to hear from someone who is in the trenches, fighting for immigrants, defending those who cannot defend themselves.
Come for signature cocktails and a private, off the record, policy discussion with American Bar Association’s Immigration lawyer, Laura Peña.
Cost: MXN$250 + processing fees
Venue: Private home in Polanco. Details will be shared after RSVP and payment are received.
Payments go to offset event costs and support getting out the vote of American Democrats for Special Elections, Primaries and Federal, State and Local Elections in the United States.
Laura Peña is an immigration lawyer with a wide-range of legal and foreign policy experience. She is a former Obama appointee who served at the State Department from 2009 through 2012, focusing on U.S. policies impacting Central America. Shortly thereafter, Laura became an assistant chief counsel with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). She served as an immigration prosecutor in the tiny courtrooms of Los Angeles and San Diego from 2014 through 2016 during the “border surge” of migrant women and children. Following a brief period in private practice, Laura publicly disavowed ICE when the family separation crisis hit. In a widely-read op-ed published in print and online by USA Today, she criticized her former agency stating, “I became a lawyer because I believe in the rule of law and fundamental fairness, not to prosecute babies and send them traveling in planes alone...We are witnessing mass violations of constitutional and international laws that uphold the rights [sic] of children to live free from harm.” After eighteen years away from her border hometown, Laura felt called home to the Rio Grande Valley. She joined the Texas Civil Rights Project’s efforts to reunify families separated by the U.S. government. Based on nine months of on-the-ground family reunification efforts fighting for dozens of families, Laura authored the first comprehensive, non-governmental report on family separations. The report, “The Real National Emergency: Zero Tolerance & The Horrors of Family Separation,” was widely cited by news media outlets and introduced into the official record of Congressional hearings on family separations. Laura has been profiled by National Immigration Forum podcast Only in America with Ali Noorani and has appeared on national news media outlets including MSNBC to speak on the issue of family separations. Laura currently works as the pro bono manager for the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration. She is based at ProBAR, the ABA’s largest asylum project, located in the Rio Grande Valley. Laura lives in Brownsville, Texas with her blue heeler dog Dulce and frequently volunteers at the local refugee shelters to provide legal assistance to asylum-seeking families.