In anticipation of Trump’s speech later tonight, elected officials and immigration experts are readily available to press to fact check and discuss the administration’s unconscionable attempts to use taxpayer money to build an unpopular border wall for a self-manufactured border crisis. For interview requests, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Veronica Escobar (TX-16):
Rep. Veronica Escobar is a third-generation El Pasoan who represents the the 16th District of Texas. Veronica is proud to have served as County Judge where she was able to have an extraordinary impact on the lives of El Pasoans. Judge Escobar has been a strong voice for the values of Border communities – tackling issues like cross-border trade and immigration, and communicating about the vibrancy of the U.S.-Mexico Border. She has testified before many state and federal committees, including the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. Judge Escobar served two terms as El Paso County Judge, and previously served one term as County Commissioner for Precinct 2.
Before serving El Paso as an elected official, Judge Escobar was Executive Director for Community Scholars, a local non-profit organization that hired high school students to do public policy research and produce reports about El Paso’s challenges and opportunities. She also served as the Communications Director for Mayor Raymond Caballero and was a faculty member at the University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College. She has served as a volunteer on a number of boards, both in El Paso and for the state of Texas.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice:
Founder and Executive Director of America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund. Before founding America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund, Frank served for 17 years as Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, one of the nation’s premier immigration policy organizations. He is one of the nation’s leading spokespersons for immigration reforms. During the 1980’s, Frank served as Executive Director of Centro Presente, a local organization working with Central American refugees in the greater Boston area, and was a co-founder of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee (MIRA) Coalition. His career started with work on refugee rescue and resettlement for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants in Asia and the United States.
Ur Jaddou, Director, DHS Watch and former Chief Counsel to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:
Ur is Director of America’s Voice’s DHS Watch and is also an adjunct professor at American University School of Law. She served as Chief Counsel to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from July 2014 to January 2017 where she provided legal counsel to the agency and interacted with the DHS General Counsel and other immigration component counsel. She was previously responsible for developing and executing congressional strategy for the U.S. Department of State as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Legislative Affairs. Earlier, Ur was Chief Counsel to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senior Counsel to Representative Zoe Lofgren. Ur is a graduate of UCLA Law School and Stanford University.
Tyler Moran, Director, The Immigration Hub:
Tyler has been with the Immigration Hub since its founding and has 20 years of experience developing and implementing immigration policy. She previously served as Senior Policy Advisor to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada where she managed immigration policy and strategy for Senate Democratic leadership and the Democratic Caucus. She was previously the Deputy Policy Director for Immigration at the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Obama where the immigration team managed the development and implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the President’s immigration reform bill in 2013. Prior to working in government, Tyler worked for the National Immigration Law Center, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition and taught high school at the Tilton School.
Kerri Talbot, Director of Federal Advocacy, the Immigration Hub:
Kerri Talbot works with non-profit organizations and Congress on policy and legislative advocacy to promote fair treatment of immigrants and refugees. She was previously a Partner at the Veng Group where she assisted non-profit organizations and businesses including the National Immigration Law Center, Deloitte, Human Rights First, and the Women’s Refugee Commission with immigration policy advocacy. Kerri previously served as Chief Counsel for U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey for five years. She staffed the Senator on the Gang of 8 and assisted in writing the comprehensive immigration reform bill which passed the Senate in 2013. Kerri previously worked at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Rights Working Group, Break the Chain Campaign, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Physicians for Human Rights. She graduated from Harvard Law School and Tufts University.
Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration Policy, Center for American Progress (CAP):
Prior to joining American Progress, Tom served as chief counsel on the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. In that capacity, Tom devised and executed strategies for immigration-related hearings and markups before the Committee on the Judiciary and legislation on the House floor. He has advised members of Congress and congressional staff on all areas of immigration law and policy.
Prior to his time at the Judiciary Committee, Tom worked as the immigration detention staff attorney at the National Prison Project, a part of the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU. There, he represented detainees in class action and individual challenges to unlawful conditions of confinement and twice testified before Congress. He previously represented asylum seekers in judicial and administrative proceedings with the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Kimba M. Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Tom holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from the Yale Law School.
Lia Parada, Director of Government Affairs, Center for American Progress (CAP):
Lia Parada focuses on women’s economic security and reproductive health; race and ethnicity; immigration; and criminal justice. Parada has more than a decade of legislative experience, including working with congressional House and Senate leadership members and staff; senior policy staffers at the White House; and key advocacy organizations engaged in critical policy fights.
Prior to joining American Progress, Parada was the legislative manager at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In this role, she worked closely on the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch and the nomination of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Parada was also a liaison to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
As deputy campaign manager for legislation and policy at the Alliance for Citizenship, Parada was the chief legislative advocate for the national coalition to pass comprehensive immigration reform, leading to former President Barack Obama’s executive actions on Deferred Actions for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Parada also served in the U.S. House of Representatives as legislative assistant to former Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus. In this role, she advised Rep. Becerra on immigration and was his primary liaison to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She also played a key role in passing the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in the House in 2010.
Philip E. Wolgin, Managing Director of Immigration Policy, Center for American Progress (CAP):
He directs American Progress’ research and publications on immigration and has helped lead the team’s work on a diverse set of issues, such as immigration reform, child refugees at the United States’ southern border, border security, executive action, rebuttals to nativist claims about immigrants, and E-Verify. Wolgin has directed reports on a range of subjects related to immigrants in America, from studies on the daily lives of the undocumented through the “Documenting the Undocumented” series, to producing the first-of-its-kind analysis of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. At American Progress, he has held the positions of senior policy analyst and policy analyst, both on the Immigration team.
Wolgin is active in local Washington, D.C.-area immigration and refugee causes and serves on the national board of directors of the refugee organization HIAS. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as International Migration Review and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, as well as in online publications such as The Huffington Post.
A native of New Jersey, Wolgin earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.A. from New York University.
Scott Shuchart, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (CAP):
Scott Shuchart is a senior fellow at American Progress. From 2010 to 2018, he was the senior adviser to the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he worked extensively on immigration enforcement, detention and custody, and border security, with an emphasis on data-driven analysis to identify civil rights and civil liberties violations. While at DHS, Shuchart led efforts to ensure that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities initiative and other programs respected civil rights and avoided racial profiling.
Prior to joining the federal government, Shuchart was a litigator at Altshuler Berzon LLP in San Francisco and Boies Schiller and Flexner LLP in New York. He then taught at the Yale Law School Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic from 2008 to 2010. Shuchart holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a bachelor of philosophy from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Lorella Praeli, Deputy National Political Director, ACLU:
At the ACLU, Lorella defends the rights of immigrants and refugees and builds power to develop, reaffirm, and vastly expand pro-immigrant measures in states and localities of resistance.
She was the National Latino Vote Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Prior to joining to the campaign, Lorella served as Director of Advocacy and Policy of United We Dream, the country’s largest immigrant youth-led organization, where she led the advocacy campaign to implement DACA, and was part of the team that persuaded the Obama administration to protect four million undocumented Americans through Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.
Lorella got her start in Connecticut, where she co-founded and directed CT Students for a Dream and led the organization’s efforts to pass and implement tuition equity for undocumented students. She immigrated from Ica, Peru to New Milford, Connecticut with her family at the age of ten, where she grew up undocumented. Lorella graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from Quinnipiac University.
Cecilia Wang, Deputy Legal Director, ACLU:
Cecillia Wang is a deputy legal director at the national ACLU and directs the Center for Democracy, which encompasses the ACLU’s work on immigrants’ rights, voting rights, national security, human rights, and speech, privacy and technology. She is a past director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project and a nationally recognized expert on issues at the intersection of immigration and criminal law, including state anti-immigrant laws, racial profiling and other unlawful police practices relating to immigration enforcement. She has taught immigration law courses as an adjunct lecturer in law at Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley.
Cecillia is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer with two decades of years of experience in civil rights and criminal defense. She has been an ACLU lawyer since 2004, after beginning her career with the ACLU as a fellow in 1997-98 and then working as an attorney with the federal public defender’s office for the Southern District of New York and at the San Francisco law firm of Keker & Van Nest, LLP. While in private practice, Cecillia was appointed to the federal Criminal Justice Act indigent defense panel for the Northern District of California.
Cecillia is a 1995 graduate of the Yale Law School, where she was an articles editor for The Yale Law Journal. She served as a law clerk to retired Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the Supreme Court of the United States, working in the chambers of Justice Stephen G. Breyer, and to Judge William A. Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1992 with an A.B. in English (with highest honors) and Biology.
Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center:
Marielena Hincapie has helped NILC grow to be one of the nation’s premier immigrants’ rights organizations, strategically using a combination of litigation, policy, communications, and alliance-building strategies to effect social change. She is a frequent lecturer at national and international conferences, addressing issues of migration, and she works closely with emerging leaders in the social justice movement. In the past she has successfully litigated law reform and impact-litigation cases dealing with the intersection of immigration laws and employment/labor laws.
Before joining NILC, Ms. Hincapié worked for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco’s Employment Law Center, where she founded the Center’s Immigrant Workers’ Rights Project. She holds a juris doctor degree from Northeastern University School of Law and served on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration. Currently, she is a member of the Welcome.US board of directors and serves as board chair of the Indivisible Project.
Ms. Hincapié immigrated as a child from Medellín, Colombia, to Central Falls, Rhode Island. She is the youngest of 10 children.
Tania Chavez, Fund Development & Systems Strategist at La Unión Del Pueblo Entero (LUPE):
Tania is an immigrant from Veracruz, Mexico with a background in Student Affairs who discovered the world of organizing at the Latino Leadership Initiative through the Harvard Kennedy School-Center for Public Leadership. Chavez founded the Minority Affairs Council–a student-led organization that harnesses the talents, abilities, and determination of the RGV youth. Chavez continues to advocate for college access for students regardless of immigration status. In 2012, Chavez joined La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), where she implemented LUPE’s first health initiative, Health on Wheels, to bridge the gap in rural healthcare access for low income & immigrant families living in the colonias. Currently, Tania serves as the Strategist for, an immigrant rights organization in the US-Mexico Border in a region known as the Rio Grande Valley.
Efren Olivares, Racial & Economic Justice Program Director, Texas Civil Rights Project:
Efren Olivares handles and supervises cases in state and federal court involving institutional discrimination, constitutional violations, immigrants’ rights, disability and economic rights, among others. He represents clients in state and federal courts, including on appeals, as well as before international human rights bodies. Efrén immigrated from Mexico to Texas with his family at the age of 13, and is devoted to advocating for the constitutional and human rights of immigrants and their families.
Efrén joined TCRP’s South Texas office in 2013 after working at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and at Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP (now Norton Rose Fulbright) before that. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (summa cum laude) and Yale Law School.