Sam Houston State University’s Criminal Justice Department will host another Real Talk with CJ event on April 5 at 2 p.m. in the Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom.
The event will feature Attorney Emma Cantu, a member of the Law Firm of Arnold Lopez in Houston, who will speak on what it’s like to represent clients who face deportation.
Criminal Justice Communications Officer Beth Kuhles said this event is a way for current students to see professionals in their field of study.
“The vast majority of Cantu’s clients come from the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and she recently represented some of the children that crossed the Mexican border without parents or guardians,” Kuhles said. “Many of the clients are escaping gang violence and poverty in their homeland.”
As the 2016 presidential race becomes closer, individual issues will decide the fate of some candidates and the lecture series is an opportunity to get informed on one of the more controversial issues.
The 1990s were the first time in history when most immigrants came into the U.S. from other North American countries, a majority of them from Mexico. In the early 2000s the largest increase came from South American countries, both regions Cantu deals with regularly.
“The talk will not only cover Cantu’s daily experiences in the field but will assist students interested in becoming an attorney,” Kuhles said. “She will provide tips on what is needed to get into law school and the specialties within the legal field of immigration.”
In addition, Real Talk w/ CJ has ties to the common reader program.
“The College has dedicated this semester to addressing criminal justice issues from Enrique’s Journey, this year’s common reader at Sam Houston State University,” Kuhles said. “Throughout the year, we have hosted speakers that work with immigration issues throughout the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, victim services and courts.”
Since the Great Depression, the U.S. has grown every decade in the number of immigrants welcomed into the country and the 2010s are set to continue that trend.
According to the Pew Research Center, Illegal immigration has begun to trend downward for the decade and unauthorized immigrants are down to 3.5 percent of the nation’s population from a 2009 high of four percent.
More than 100,000 families from South American countries have illegally crossed the border since the beginning of 2014 according to The Washington Post.
The next and last Real Talk w/ CJ for this semester will feature Linsley Rivas from St. Jerome’s home for Children.
“Rivas is a lead case manager for St. Jerome’s Home for Children in the Houston area, which assists unaccompanied refugee youth from around the world to find a nurturing environment away from war, poverty and neglect,” Kuhles said.
Kuhles encourages students to attend as the speakers have valuable information for students who may enter this particular workforce.
“The diverse speakers share their daily experiences on the job with students as well as provide tips on how to start and advance their careers,” Kuhles said. “The informal sessions allow participants to ask questions about their areas of interest and to begin the process of networking to get a job.”
The lecture series is just one way to see SHSU’s dedication to provide numerous opportunities for its students in order to hear from a variety of voices on pressing issues, according to Kuhles.