Panel Discussion: How to Have Difficult Conversations on Immigration
It is clear immigration will continue to be a major issue and many of us have friends and family with different perspectives. Thanksgiving is coming up, and whether you break bread in person or virtually, you can use these ideas to structure that conversation.
Panelists shared useful facts and discussed what to say and how to say it when facts don’t resonate.
This panel continues the work we’ve been doing in partnership with Rational Middle, New American Economy and Center for the United States and Mexico (CUSMX) at Rice University’s Baker Institute to advance the conversation about immigration policy and its economic impact at local, state and national levels.
Laura Collins serves as Director, Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. Ms. Collins previously served as the Director of Immigration Policy at the American Action Forum. She has experience in politics, working as a Senior Research Analyst at the Republican National Committee for the 2012 election cycle and in the Texas House of Representatives for the 82nd Legislature. A former practicing attorney, Ms. Collins earned a JD from The University of Texas School of Law and a BBA from the University of Oklahoma.
Zaira Garcia is the Texas Director for FWD.us, a national advocacy organization founded by Mark Zuckerberg primarily focused on immigration and criminal justice reforms. Her involvement in the immigration debate began at a very early age as a result of witnessing multiple instances of injustice against her undocumented parents. Since then she has played an active role in advocacy based activism, most recently carrying out national level issue advocacy campaigns in Texas during politically sensitive fights. She hopes to continue fighting for practical policies designed to strengthen communities and fight injustice. Zaira graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a dual degree in Government & Sociology.
Candy Marshall is the president of TheDream.US – a national scholarship program for Dreamers. Candy came to TheDream.US after serving 8 years as a leader at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As chief human resources officer, Candy led the expansion of the foundation and then joined the Global Health Programs where she led the implementation of a comprehensive plan to implement and improve the effectiveness of the Foundation’s 25+ global programs with over 500 people and a $3.0B annual budget. Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, Candy worked spent over 10 years in the software industry as outside legal counsel to a number of Pacific Northwest software companies, including 9 years as a software executive where she led numerous initiatives to position the company for increased growth and global competitiveness. Candy is a philanthropic leader in the Pacific Northwest. She is immediate past-Chair of the Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation Board of Trustees and serves as an advisor on the Advisory Committee for the YUSA Strategic Initiatives Fund. She has previously served on a number of other non-profit boards including the Washington Global Health Alliance, the Seattle Arts and Sciences Academy, the YMCA of Greater Seattle, and Seattle City Club.
Dan Vallone worked on education policy and innovation at the state and national level. Previously, Dan served six years active duty as an Army infantry officer, with one tour in Afghanistan. Dan graduated from West Point and earned an MA in Contemporary China from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on a Fulbright Scholarship and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Dan lives in New York City.