In conservative and anti-immigrant areas, it may not be possible to pass sweeping sanctuary laws that prohibit collaboration between local law enforcement agencies and ICE. This is especially true if anti-sanctuary statutes like Texas’ SB 4 and Florida’s SB 168 prevent such measures by state law. However, many of us are fighting back against ICE enforcement in all kinds of new and creative ways that connect criminal justice reforms and immigrant rights. This webinar will provide organizers and advocates with information about how to effectively strategize in “red” regions to build successful campaigns, create policy platforms and limit ICE’s reach in our communities.
Carolina Canizales, Senior Texas Campaign Strategist, Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Carolina is the Senior Texas Campaign Strategist at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. She supports local Texas groups combat the ongoing collaboration between federal immigration authorities and local law enforcement. She has worked to advance immigrant youth rights for the past nine years and led deportation defense work for five years at a national and local level.
Prior to joining ILRC, Carolina served as the Program Coordinator for the UTSA Center for Civic Engagement, where she increased the civic scholarship and meaningful community involvement for the entire UTSA community. She also oversaw all communications for the Community Services division at the university.
From 2012 to 2016 Carolina led United We Dream's Deportation Defense Program. This program trained and empowered local communities to defend their rights, stop unjust deportations, and challenged ongoing collaboration between local police and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). Under Carolina's leadership, the program helped more than 500 families facing deportation, and held four congressional briefings in both the U.S House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to bring awareness of the deportation problem in immigrant communities.
In 2015, she helped establish the first national and volunteer-led hotline to track raids, checkpoints and other enforcement actions in major immigrant communities, while providing callers with Know Your Rights and legal services information. In the same year, she initiated the strategy and campaign plan to end the 287(g) agreement between the Harris County Jail and ICE.
Carolina has co-authored Deportation Defense: A Guide for Members of Congress and Other Elected Officials (2014) and Ending Local Collaboration with ICE (2015).
In 2012, Carolina graduated from the University of Texas-San Antonio with a B.A. in Communications. She also completed a master's in public administration program at UTSA in 2019. She is fluent in Spanish.
Lena Graber is a national expert on the role of local police in immigration enforcement and the use of ICE detainers. She has spent more than a decade supporting organizers and lawyers around the country to fight unfair and often illegal detention of immigrants, and to push for pro-immigrant local policies. Lena spearheads ILRC’s national work combatting immigration enforcement and providing comprehensive advocacy resources and trainings to the immigrant rights movement. In the last several years, Lena has written and consulted on local and state-wide sanctuary policies in dozens of states and trained hundreds of organizers and policymakers to better understand and dismantle the machinery of detention and deportation. Lena joined the ILRC in 2013, and she has co-authored several ILRC publications including Motions to Suppress: Protecting the Constitutional Rights of Immigrants in Removal Proceedings; FOIA Requests and Other Background Checks; DACA: The Essential Legal Guide; and Parole in Immigration Law.
Prior to the ILRC, Lena was a Soros Justice Fellow at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, where she supported campaigns against local law enforcement involvement in deportations and litigated ICE detainer issues in federal courts. She also worked at the National Immigration Forum doing federal advocacy on immigrant rights and border policy.
Lena graduated with honors from the George Washington University Law School, where she served on the journal for International Law in Domestic Courts. She earned her B.A. in history from Wesleyan University. Lena is a member of the California bar and she speaks Spanish.
Anita Gupta is a staff attorney based in Austin, Texas, where she focuses on policy work in Texas at the local and state levels. This includes developing and cultivating local partnerships with community-based organizations, elected officials, and law enforcement agencies to advance immigrant and criminal justice policies throughout Texas and developing unique legal strategies that support those policies. She serves as an expert and thought partner to community based-organizations and local government officials on issues related to the intersectionality of immigration and criminal justice, such as SB4, 287(g) and other policies that impact immigrants in Texas locally. Anita also contributes to the ILRC’s Attorney of the Day program, practice manuals and advisories, and webinar trainings. Prior to joining the ILRC, Anita worked in private practice in Austin, specializing in removal defense and humanitarian-based immigration relief. She also worked at American Gateways, one of the largest immigration legal service providers in Central Texas. Before moving to Texas, Anita was a staff attorney in the Immigrant Legal Defense project at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) in Chicago, where she represented low-income immigrants in a variety of matters before the Chicago Immigration Court, USCIS, and ICE. Anita has extensive experience with several types of immigration cases, including asylum, cancellation of removal, waivers, adjustment of status, family-based petitions, DACA, U-visas, VAWA, TPS, naturalization, and more.
Anita obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she earned her law degree from DePaul University in Chicago. During law school, Anita participated in DePaul’s Asylum and Refugee Law clinic, and she interned at the Legal Assistance Foundation and the National Immigrant Justice Center. Anita is admitted to the Illinois bar, and she serves on the executive board for the South Asian Bar Association of Austin. She speaks Spanish.
Xochitl is a queer, Chicana/Latina organizer, lawyer, educator and movement builder with over 15 years of experience in grassroots organizing, media and policy advocacy, and training and technical assistance, mostly focused on ending criminalization in Black and Latino communities. Xochitl has experience working in diverse communities in California, New York, Louisiana, and Georgia.
Her past experience includes co-directing Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) a statewide, membership-based organization building the power of the parents of incarcerated youth in Louisiana to fight for justice for their children and families; and co-founding and directing Safe Streets/Strong Communities, an organization born post-Katrina, dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system of New Orleans.
Prior to this, Xochitl was a Soros U.S. Justice Fellow working with Grassroots Leadership to implement southern strategies for radical criminal justice reform by linking community organizing and the law. She has also worked as a juvenile defender in the Bronx and a media strategist with We Interrupt This Message.