Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Immigration forum sheds light on variety of border issues

KINGSVILLE - October 06, 2006

Contact: Julie Navejar
kajam03@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

Many different topics concerning immigration of documented and undocumented workers will be discussed at a forum beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Borders, Boundaries and Frontiers: A Forum on Immigration Issues is sponsored by the Hispanic Heritage Committee and the American Democracy Project and will be held in ballroom A of the Memorial Student Union Building. The forum is free and open to the public.

The forum will be moderated by alumnus Dr. Jose Angel Gutierrez, attorney and political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Texas A&I University before going on to earn his master’s from St. Mary’s University, his doctorate from the University of Texas and his law degree from the University of Houston, Bates College of Law. He has done postdoctoral work at Stanford University, Colegio de Mexico, the University of Washington and Centro de Estudios Economicos y Sociales del Tercer Mundo in Mexico City.

Gutierrez was a founding member of the Mexican American Youth Organization and a founding member and past president of the Raza Unida Party.

The forum will begin with the panel discussion Issues Facing Students at 9 a.m. Past and present A&M-Kingsville students will discuss problems they have had coming to the United States to attend college. Javier Aldava is a 2004 graduate who was born and raised in Weslaco.

He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and now works for Texas Gas in Austin. Armando Martinez Talaquer is a graduate student in environmental engineering from Mexico. He just arrived at A&M-Kingsville and spent almost a year getting his paper work in order. They will be joined by J. Anthony Hinojosa, the university’s coordinator for Latin American Affairs.

Hinojosa also served as liaison for international agricultural programs between Mexico and Latin America for the agriculture programs of The Texas A&M University System. He was raised in Hidalgo County and Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, making him a product of two cultures.

The second discussion, Issues Facing the Federal Government, will begin at 10 a.m. This section will be led by Alonzo R. Pena, special agent-in-charge of the South Texas office of United States Customs and Immigration. Pena is a native of Falfurrias and received his bachelor’s degree from Pan American University. He began his law enforcement career as a state trooper in Alice.

Issues Facing Ranchers and Farmers will be the third discussion beginning at 11 a.m. It will be led by Pete De La Garza, Kleberg County Judge; David Douglas, area rancher; and John McClung, president of the South Texas Growers Association. De La Garza received his bachelor’s, master’s and administration certificates from Texas A&I University. He received his doctor of law degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He is serving his second term as Kleberg County Judge.

After a break for lunch, the forum will continue at 2 p.m. with a panel of county sheriffs entitled Issues Facing Local Law Enforcement Agencies. Participating in the discussion will be Santiago Barrera, Duval County Sheriff; Baldemar Lozano, Brooks County Sheriff; and Rick Flores, Webb County Sheriff.

Barrera is in his fifth term and is the first sheriff in Duval County to be certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education. He is a three-time director of the Sheriff’s Association and raises quarter horses.

Flores is a licensed Texas Peace Officer and law enforcement instructor at Laredo Community College Regional Police Academy. He received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Texas A&M International University and his master’s degree in sociology with a minor in psychology also from A&M International. He is currently studying for a graduate degree in public administration.

The final panel will begin at 3 p.m. and focus on Issues Facing Civil Rights Advocates. Participants in this panel include Linda Brandmiller, director of immigration services for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of San Antonio; Abner Burnett, attorney and director of the South Texas Civil Rights Project; and Dr. Manuel Flores, associate professor of journalism and student publications advisor at A&M-Kingsville and president of the Corpus Christi Independent School District Board of Trustees.

Brandmiller earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire; her master’s degree from Texas A&M International University and her law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law.

Burnett received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and his law degree from South Texas College of Law. He is a native of Odessa and has 17 years experience as a trial lawyer.

Flores joined the faculty at A&M-Kingsville this fall. He previously served in the same position at Del Mar College. He has served on the Corpus Christi Board of Trustees for 15 years.

He is an alumnus of the university, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Texas A&I. He did graduate work at the University of North Texas and received his doctorate from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

For more information about the forum, call 361-593-2776.

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