Over the past several years, there have been many changes to the immigration system. However, the following experts and influencers have been working to make sense of the changes and find solutions that will benefit everyone. They are committed to making sure that the country’s immigration system is focused on making the most effective possible use of its resources.
In 2000, Juan Escalante and his family fled from Venezuela after the election of Hugo Chavez. Due to the mishandling of their case, the Escalante family lost their immigration status. Juan was eventually able to get back his status through the program known as DACA, which provides temporary protection from deportation. As a member of the national and state advocacy groups for the protection of immigrants, Juan is currently working to advocate for immigration legislation that will benefit everyone. As the Digital Campaigns Manager of a DC-based organization called FWD.us, Juan is working to advocate for criminal justice reform and immigration legislation.
Alida Garcia is a public affairs and political strategist who has experience working with various groups and organizations on issues related to Latino civic engagement. She is currently the Vice President of Advocacy for FWD.us, which was created by Mark Zuckerberg, to push for comprehensive immigration reform.
Comedian and actor Maz Jobrani has built a successful career in America, appearing in a variety of films, shows, and comedy shows. Using his platform to speak on numerous social issues, Maz has made it a point to speak up on topics such as racism, inequality, and immigration. Having grown up in an immigrant family, Maz utilizes his experiences to bring light to various biases, often using his comedy to do so.
Doug Rand is the founder of Boundless, a tech company that helps families navigate the immigration process more easily and economically. For over six years, Doug was a part of the Obama White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. He was responsible for overseeing the administration’s efforts to promote high-skill immigration, entrepreneurship, innovation, and the commercialization of federal research.
Ali Noorani is an activist who is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of The National Immigration Forum, a nonpartisan advocacy organization that works with various groups to promote the value of immigration. As a teenager growing up in California, Ali was able to forge strong relationships with people from different backgrounds. This has served him well as he has been able to build effective coalitions.
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah
As the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Krish is dedicated to helping the country’s most vulnerable immigrants. Prior to holding her current title, Krish worked at the White House, where she served as the Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama. She also worked at the State Department, where she was the Senior Advisor under Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
When she was a child, Krish and her family fled Sri Lanka due to the civil war. She has since dedicated her life to helping other families who have been forced to leave their homes.