Governor declares Texas will not accept Syrian Refugees

Las Americas Responds to Greg Abbott

El, Paso, TX, November 17, 2015: Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center declared extreme disappointment and disagreement today with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s letter to President Obama regarding Syrian refugees.  In the letter Abbott states that Texas will not accept Syrian refugees with no grounding in reality or in current Federal law.

“State governors have no power to refuse refugees,” said Linda Rivas, Directing Attorney for Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.  “This issue is defined in Federal law and the States have no powers to make any such binding decision.”

Greg Abbott’s personal politics should have no influence on the decisions of these federal entities.

As a nearly 30-year-old organization that fiercely advocates immigrant rights in court, Las Americas is happy to continue to serve immigrants from all over the world.  Most recently we have won an asylum case for a young man who was a political prisoner in his home country of Sudan.  We continue to fight for immigrants in need, regardless of their nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks, Las Americas implores our community to forsake fear mongering and anti-Muslim sentiments.

“We must remember that El Paso is a refuge for many immigrants of many faiths and different countries that contribute to our diversity, culture, economy and even our own safety,” explained Rivas.

El Paso is home to a strong and sizeable Latino population, and includes large Lebanese and Syrian communities as well.  Vietnamese and even Indian populations also contribute to El Paso’s diverse communities of immigrants.  That is something that all of El Paso should be incredibly proud of.

If you believe you may be eligible for immigration benefits, Las Americas accepts walk-ins on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Thursdays of every month from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on a first-come, first-served basis.  Las Americas also serves detained immigrants and urges family members of detainees to contact us for a consultation.

Our Mission

Las Americas’ vision is that of a country where all immigrants have access to high quality legal representation based on the principle of justice and human rights.

Las Americas’ mission is to see this vision realized by providing high quality legal representation to immigrants and by advocating for human rights.

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In Memory of Sister Liliane Alam

 

 

Sister Lilian AlamSrLilianA_MUG (100x150)

December 5, 1947 – April 26, 2015

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is deeply saddened to report the passing of former Executive Director, Sister Liliane Alam.

Sister Liliane was a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary order of nuns and served as Executive Director of Las Americas from 2001 to 2007. During her tenure she skillfully guided Las Americas out of major financial insecurity; spearheaded a fundraising campaign to purchase our current office building at 1500 Yandell; and gained local and international recognition for our work to defend detained immigrant children, asylum seekers, and victims of violence. Sister Liliane’s leadership and spirit of service touched countless lives in the Las Americas community. She inspired volunteers, staff, and clients alike with her unwavering dedication to compassion and charity and was well-respected by many. In 2007, Sister Liliane was named a Las Americas Border Hero in honor of her extraordinary service to Las Americas, immigrant survivors of violence and persecution, and the El Paso community.

Sister Liliane was born in Lebanon and was an economist by training. She spoke four languages fluently. After leaving El Paso for New York in 2007, she continued in her work to advocate for global human rights there. She served on a number of institutional boards and worked for the United Nations which required frequent travel to UN headquarters in Geneva. Sister Liliane is remembered for her nurturing humor, her devoted servant leadership, and her courage against injustice.

“Sister Liliane was my first window into the extreme importance of the work we do on behalf of immigrants. Her death is a huge loss to the immigrant advocacy community. She will be greatly missed,” said Pamela Genghiní-Muñoz, Las Americas’ Board President.

Sister Liliane died in New York City on April 26, 2015. A public memorial service is scheduled for Thursday, May 21, 7:00 pm at St. Pius Church. El Pasoans are invited to pay their final respects and celebrate Sister Lilian Alam’s legacy of service to our community.

Thank you for your life of service, Sister Liliane Alam. Rest in peace, with love and gratitude from your Las Americas family.

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Las Americas Response to Judge Hanen’s Order of Temporary Injunction

El Paso, TX- February 17, 2015- U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen’s Order of Temporary Injunction is a disgraceful action taken by the court.  In what seems like a purely politically motivated response that lacks sound legal reasoning, Judge Hanen has created apprehension, fear, and confusion for millions of immigrant families who were already in the process of preparing to move forward with their applications for Deferred Action.

The El Paso – Las Cruces community of immigration providers has been working since November to educate our immigrant community about the benefits of this type of deferred action, eligibility requirements, and notario fraud (unlicensed practice of law).

Las Americas will move forward with already planned community presentations during which we will address this new hurdle.  It is important to understand that this barrier is temporary.  The Department of Justice has already announced an intent to appeal Judge Hanen’s decision.  Some reports suggest that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals could hear this case en banc in a few weeks, while others estimate that arguments could come as late as July or August.

This brief detour should be viewed as a delay and not a complete dissolution of the expanded benefits that were announced for immigrant children and families on November 20, 2014.  It is also important to note that the DACA program as originally announced will continue; only the DAPA program and the DACA expansion were targeted by this injunction.

If you believe you may be eligible for these benefits or would like more information please join us for our DACA/DAPA workshop on March 7, 2015 starting at 10:00am. We will address any updates to this injunction and advise people accordingly. 

Additionally, Las Americas accepts walk-ins on the 3rd Thursdays of every month from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on a first-come, first-served basis at 1500 E. Yandell in El Paso, TX 79902.  Telephone: 915-544-5126

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Las Americas’ 14th Annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner

14th Annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner

Las Americas will be hosting its 14th Annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner on Thursday, March 14, 2013.

Local El Paso Celebrities wait on tables and compete for the most tips. This is one of two major fundraisers for Las Americas so that it may keep its doors open to serve the neediest of immigrants.

It will take place at St. Pius in the Msgr. Arturo Banuelas Community Center located at 1050 N. Clark, El Paso, TX  79905.

The dinner will begin at 6 pm.

Tickets are $45 or $450 for a table of ten.  A $5 raffle ticket is also included in the price of the ticket.

Our celebrities have been graciously accepting their invitations! Who will be waiting on your table?!

2013 Celebrity Waiters

(as of publication) 

Andres Muro, EPCC

Patrick Manning, Reporter KFOX News

Dr. Mark Lusk, UTEP

Emma Acosta, City Representative District 3

Hal Marcus, Artist

Judge Veronica Escobar, County Commissioner

Dr. Yolanda Leyva, UTEP

Eduardo Beckett, Esq., Immigration Lawyer

Lesley Lopez, Prima Ballerina

Rabbi Larry Bach, Border Interfaith

Steve Ortega, City Representative District 7 &

Candidate for Mayor of El Paso

Josh Zuber, Reporter KFOX News

Rich Martin, Las Palmas Medical Center

Susie Byrd, City Representative Distric 2

Carlos Clugy-Soto, Cima Hospice

Dora Reyes, Singer with Azúcar

Sergio Saenz, EPCC

Susie Byrd, City Representative District 2

Martha Mejia Maidi, Orthodontist

Paul Cicala, Sports Anchor with KVIA ABC 7

Roxie Samaniego, of White, Samaniego & Campbell, LLC.

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2012 Border Heroes Awards Dinner

Judge Salazar Mendoza,  West Paul Cosgrove, Rev. Alexia Salvatierra

THE HONORABLE MARIA SALAS MENDOZA AND WEST P. COSGROVE TO BE HONORED AS “BORDER HEROES”

The Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center 2012 Border Heroes Awards Dinner will take place October 20, 2012 at Temple Mt. Sinai, 4408 N. Stanton Street, El Paso, TX 79902 from 6-9 pm.

The Board of Directors of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is proud to announce that the annual Border Heroes Awards will go this year to two longtime community leaders who have dedicated their lives to making our border a more just and humane place, the Honorable Maria Salas Mendoza and West P. Cosgrove.

Judge Maria Salas Mendoza, is the president of the El Paso Bar Association, District Court Judge of the 120th Judicial District Court, and a member of the El Paso Community Justice Council. She is a tireless advocate on behalf of women and children in the borderland. Judge Salas Mendoza is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law and received her undergraduate degree from Harvard-Radcliffe College.

West Paul Cosgrove has been a border activist for the past seventeen years. He is the founder of Project Puente and Casa Puente. West has been involved in numerous community activities along the borderland, but most recently organized We the Border: Envisioning a Narrative for Our Future in conjunction with Border Network for Human Rights. West recently moved to the Nogales, AZ-Nogales, Sonora border to work with the Kino Border Initiative.

Alexia Salvatierra, is the keynote speaker this year. She was the Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice—beginning as the director of CLUE in Los Angeles and then as the first CLUE-CA director. CLUE-CA was the initial lead agency for the New Sanctuary Movement, in which congregations in 37 cities around the country accompany and support immigrant workers and their families facing deportation

Tickets are $100 each or a table of 8 for $800. Checks may be made to Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.

For more information or to buy tickets please call Katie Hudak, Executive Director at 915-544-5126, ext. 22 or email: katieaniahudak@las-americas.org.

Download the Border Heroes 2012 Flyer

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Our work to provide legal services for low-income immigrants and to advocate for human rights for all is made possible by donors like you.

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