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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Attorneys reveal the truth about immigration at Common Experience event

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By
Guest speakers at the “Truth About Immigration” discussion event. Left to right: Yunuen Alvarado Bustos, Angelica Coronado, Mark Kinzler, Robert Painter and Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch.

Confusion and fear are among one of the many feelings individuals may feel when it comes to immigration. The combination of frequent policy changes and misinformation pushed by anti-immigrant groups can leave those who are undocumented with questions and uncertainty.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12 “The Truth About Immigration” Common Experience event provided a space for students to express their concerns and questions to immigration experts about the legal processes associated with immigration. A panel of three immigration attorneys from the Austin area as well as Angelica Coronado, director of Texas State’s Attorney for Students Office and Yunuen Alvarado Buston, journalism senior, offered their experiences and expertise with immigration law.
Texas State’s former part-time on-campus immigration lawyer, Mark Kinzler, was one of the featured guest speakers at Wednesday’s event. Kinzler began his role at Texas State October 2018 and departed from his position September 2019. As the university’s immigration attorney Kinzler assisted in naturalization, asylum and criminal-related immigration issues. Kinzler also played a role in coordinating the immigration discussion event.
Kinzler received his undergraduate degree at The University of Texas at Austin and law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregan. Kinzler said he has been working in immigration law for 14 years. He currently runs his own practice in Austin.
While at UT, Kinzler said he studied Spanish. He said once we moved to Oregan he noticed there were very few Spanish speaking law students. Kinzler said his ability to speak Spanish exposed him to immigration issues and motivated him to pursue a career in immigration.
He said while studying social justice law, he realized that the U.S. government does not provide immigrants with an attorney or legal services. He said the immigration process is complex and it is difficult to understand, especially for those with minimal education levels.
Kinzler said this realization was a turning point for him and sparked his drive to become an immigration attorney.
“The way the system works, if you don’t have an attorney the government is going to expect you to put on your own case,” Kinzler said. “It really blew my mind to know that a system like this exists and from that point on I was like this is what I have to do.”
With this year’s Common Experience theme of “Truth”, Kinzler said it was important for the university to do an immigration panel in order to shut down the misconceptions associated with immigration.
“In this field more than others there’s a lot of misinformation being pushed around and with the theme of ‘Truth’, immigration is the place where the light needs to shine,” Kinzler said.
During the event, students were separated into small groups. Each group was allowed 10-15 minutes with each guest speaker and was allowed to ask any questions they had about immigration such as policies, advice on becoming an immigration attorney, resources for immigrant students and more.
Robert Painter, managing attorney at American Gateways, was contacted by Kinzler to speak at the event. Painter has been practicing immigration law for a little under seven years. He sparked an interest in immigration while he was completing a human rights concentration in law school.
He said in law school a lot of what he had done was promote human rights ideals, but never actually used those ideals to help someone in a tangible way.
“Immigration seemed like a great way to bring those two concepts together because you’re applying international human rights with United States law to help an individual person,” Painter said.
Painter said immigration has been a constant news topic since the 2016 presidential campaigns. He said the news and the changing of policies have caused confusion about what immigration law is and how immigrants can immigrate legally. Painter said the “The Truth About Immigration” discussion event was a space for students to ask questions and receive clarification on immigration.
“I think events like these are a great opportunity for people who might be confused or want clarification to have a chance to speak to people who are well-versed in the field,” Painter said.
Angelica Coronado, director of Texas State’s Attorney for Students Office, was exposed to immigration law during law school when she interned for the Department of Homeland Security.
Coronado said her most recent experience is in non profit legal services. She said she was the Director of Family Detention for The Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), the largest non profit immigration service provider in Texas.
Coronado began her position as director of Texas State’s Attorney for Students Office September 2019. She said she hopes her role as director can help the immigrant population of students and students with immigrant family members.
“I hope I can give them the proper advice and explain the process to them so they can fully understand and have knowledge of the issues around them,” Coronado said.
Coronado said it was important for the university to provide an immigration discussion event in order for students to receive clarity on what is true and untrue about the immigration system. She said one of the purposes of the discussion event was to enlighten individuals on what immigration processes exist and how limiting it is to receive citizenship in the U.S.
“Everything is very specific and categorized,” Coronado said. “I think a lot of people don’t realize you can’t just get in line, because there might not be a line that exists for you.”
For more information on Texas State’s on-campus legal services visit https://attorney.dos.txstate.edu/.

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