Campus immigration lawyer leaves position after less than a year

Headshot of newly appointed Director and Attorney for Students Angelica Coronado. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Attorney for Students

Headshot of newly appointed Director and Attorney for Students Angelica Coronado. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Attorney for Students

Ziek Sanchez

Attorney Mark Kinzler has left his position as a part-time on-campus immigration lawyer, returning to his private practice of immigration law.

The Austin-based immigration lawyer joined Texas State’s Attorney for Students Office early October 2018. While with AFS, Kinzler and other staff attorneys offered students free legal advice. Kinzler specialized in immigration issues.

Prior to taking the position, the job was unavailable at Texas State. Beginning in 2017, the lack of an on-campus immigration lawyer sparked campus activists protests and a year-long process of establishing an attorney position for students.

After Kinzler accepted the position, the student body expressed desires to make the position full-time. According to Texas State Human Resources, Kinzler only held the position for 11 months and never achieved full time status. He left his position Sept. 20.

Kinzler said he needed to better aid clients at his practice who are dealing with increasing immigration-related issues. Working at Texas State and his private practice made the weight of both jobs feel full time.

“I enjoyed working for the school and feel I helped a lot of students, but things came to a point where the situation for asylum seekers was becoming worse and worse; I couldn’t turn my back on my private practice,” Kinzler said. “I was sad about it, but I felt like I needed to use my skill set to help people the current administration is trying to tear down.”

Issues Kinzler tackled while at Texas State involved naturalization, asylum, criminal-related immigration matters and marital issues.

Kinzler returning to his private practice full-time changed the status of the AFS office.

Angelica Coronado joined Texas State Sept. 23 and took the position of director and attorney for students. Coronado will be absorbing Kinzler’s duties as an immigration lawyer for students.

Coronado is a graduate from St. Mary’s University School of Law and holds a jurisprudence law doctorate. Prior to her joining Texas State, Coronado gained experience in immigration law through working with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

“After graduating from law school, I spent most of my primary work years working for RAICES; the legal issues there are similar to ones this position will entail,” Coronado said.

Additionally, Coronado is qualified to provide advice on minor divorce issues and misdemeanor criminal offenses.

The year-long process to acquire Kinzler on campus was one issue Student Government played a large role in. With the position’s duties now allocated under a separate title, members of Student Government continue to show concern for a better solution.

Corey Benbow, student body president, said immigration laws are very unique and affect sizable portions of the student population. He said it is vital to have someone specifically equipped to help students.

“I don’t think having Angelica Coronado taking over Kinzler’s duties is efficient enough for the short term or long term,” Benbow said. “From what I can see, Student Government’s sentiment on the issue is about the same in saying we need to have a full-time immigration attorney and we needed that last year.”

More information on immigration law at AFS can be found at attorney.dos.txstate.edu.

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