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Immigrants Of The Day: Catalino Tapia of Mexico, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Cuba, and Nora Demleitner of Germany

by Kevin R. Johnson

Catalino Tapia (Mexico)

Catalino200 We learned about our Immigrantof the Day from a NPR reportCatalino Tapia crossed the border from Mexico into the United States 40 years ago with a sixth-grade education and only $6 in his pocket. He became a legal resident and raised a family by working in a donut shop, a machine shop and then plant nurseries, before starting his own gardening business.

But Tapia, 63, always had his eyes on the future, especially for his children's education. Even before his first child was born, he says he was saving money for them to go to school. Tapia's youngest son attended UCLA and then went onto to the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He is now a lawyer in Los Angeles.

Tapia wanted to do something to help the less-fortunate children in his community in Redwood City, south of San Francisco. His son suggested Tapia start a foundation that would give scholarships to students. It took a year and a half to prepare the legal documents, but then the Bay Area Gardeners Foundation was born. Tapia sent letters to his clients asking for donations. To his surprise, he raised $10,000 in two weeks. And the donations kept coming in, with $75,000 raised so far. But the foundation also needed startup money, so Tapia approached the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Program Officer Manuel Santamaria says his foundation was impressed with Tapia's approach.   And the success continues.

The Foundation does not ask the immigration status of the scholarship applicants.  Undocumented students, who are not eligible for federally-subsiddized financial aid, have benefited from the Foundation scholarships.

November 21, 2007 | Permalink

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Cuba)

Illeana_roslehtinen Our Immigrant of the Day is the Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, U.S. House of Representatives (FL-18) Miami, Florida.  A childhood refugee from Cuba, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has emerged as a powerful voice in her South Florida community.

A Repoublican, Ros-Lehtinen served in the Florida House of Representatives and in the Florida Senate before her election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989, replacing Claude Pepper.  Upon her election, she became the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban-American elected to the U.S. Congress.

For Ros-Lehtinen's voting record on immigration, which earned her a "0" rating from the restrictionist Federation for American Immigrtaion Reform, click here.  Unlike Senator Barack Obama, she voted against the Secure Fence Act.

Ros-Lehtinen earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Florida International University. In 2004, she received her doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Miami.

December 18, 2007 | Permalink

Nora Demleitner (Germany)

Demleitner Nora V. Demleitner, who left her native Germany in 1986 as a teen to pursue college and law school in the United States, was named earlier this week as the ninth dean of Hofstra University School of Law. Demleitner, who had been serving as interim dean, becomes the first woman to lead the law school.

Prior to joining the Hofstra Law faculty, Demleitner taught at St. Mary's University School of Law. In 1992-93, she served as clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. when he sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Demleitner testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Alito's confirmation.

Demleitner grradted from Bates College and Yale Law School; she also earned a L.LM. in international and comparative law at Georgetown. She teaches and writes in the areas of criminal, comparative, and immigration law. She is a managing editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, and serves on the executive editorial board of the American Journal of Comparative Law. Demleitner is the lead author of Sentencing Law and Policy. Her articles have appeared in the Stanford, Michigan, Minnesota, and many other law reviews. Demleitner has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School, University of Freiburg, Germany, St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, and the Sant' Anna Institute of Advanced Research in Pisa, Italy. She has also been a visiting researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Germany, funded by a German Academic Exchange Service grant.

For a news story on Demleitner's recent appointment as the Hofstra dean, click here.

December 19, 2007 | Permalink

These posts were orginally posted on the ImmigrationProf Blog here, here and here.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog .

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.