The on-campus immigration lawyer should be available full-time


Cameron Hubbard

Illustration by Cameron Hubbard

Laura Nunez, Opinions Columnist

After months of controversy and push from the student body, the Texas State University Dean of Student’s Office hired immigration lawyer Mark Kinzler in December 2018. Kinzler is only employed part-time, but his resources and knowledge are vital to the students and should not be limited.

The initiative to finding and hiring a campus immigration lawyer by the administration required some persistence from the student body and it took more than a year to fully accomplish. The span of events that led up to this decision was publicly showcased and ultimately altered the urgency and need for an immigration lawyer.

In late 2017, a resolution to bring an immigration attorney to campus was brought to the attention of Student Government. They held a meeting to discuss and vote upon the matter. Unfortunately, the resolution failed to pass by one vote. This outcome naturally stirred a negative reaction from the student body.

During the Connor Clegg impeachment debacle in early 2018, students organized a sit-in at the LBJ Student Center. They wanted to have their voices heard and demands from the university met. One of those demands was for the administration to hire an immigration lawyer.

Texas State announced they would actively search for an immigration lawyer to start by the fall semester of 2019 and have since hired Mark Kinzler. He has more than 13 years of direct immigration law experience under his belt and has a deep understanding of the rights and resources available to those who are undocumented.

Even though there was an obvious need for an immigration expert on campus, Kinzler was only brought on as a part-time attorney. The administration attempted to satisfy the student demands, yet they have still fallen short because they are limiting both parties from fully connecting since the immigration lawyer is not full time.

The program Attorneys for Students now currently has two attorneys on staff. Kama Davis is employed full-time and she specializes in landlord and tenant issues, while also handling a variety of other cases. Davis joined the team in August 2014 and she was offered a full-time position from day one. Both Kinzler and Davis bring quality and experience to the table. They also specialize in issues that directly cater to our student body; however, only one of them is employed full-time and that leads to a flawed dynamic within the program.

Roughly 53.4 percent of Texas State’s student population is made up of minorities, that accounts for more than half the student body. The fact the immigration lawyer is not working full-time creates an inconsistency with that information. Having full-time availability to knowledge and services regarding immigration law is extremely beneficial for the students, especially in this climate with undocumented immigrants being constantly slandered and targeted.

Texas State needs to make our immigration attorney a full-time asset to the university and the students need to fight for this to happen. Attorneys for Students is a service that is included in the Texas State tuition bill as a $105 student service fee. The consultations and presentations are provided by the attorneys at no out-of-pocket cost, but it’s still an expense the students pay for and should be kept at ultimate efficiency.

Texas State claims to make the undocumented and DACA recipient students a priority to the system. They make sure to have opportunities and resources available for them through their website and campus programs. To have an attorney specialized in understanding their direct concerns available full-time shouldn’t even be in question.

Texas State’s immigration lawyer needs to be working full-time. Otherwise, resources that are substantially beneficial to more than half of the student population are being limited.

– Laura Nunez is an advertising sophomore

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