Commitment to Heritage and Profession
Meet the New LUM Immigration Clinic Assistant Director
by Andrea Axsom
The LUM Immigration Clinic would like to introduce its new Assistant Director, Monica Casanova. Monica’s primary roles include prospective client intake and helping clients navigate the immigration process.
Monica is a first-generation immigrant who was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States as an infant. She recalls how this experience “shaped me as an individual and as the Assistant Director. As a first generation, I felt ashamed that I was not born in the United States and if you would have asked me at 10 years old, I would grudgingly tell you or lie about where I was born.”
Her family was undocumented until President Reagan passed the Amnesty Law in 1986, allowing her family to come out of the shadows and live without fear. After the law was enacted, she remembers that “we were able to visit my grandparents in Mexico for the first time. I remember my mom running down a cornfield shouting for her mom, the first time we visited. It was my parents’ first visit in ten years.”
Monica’s childhood experiences allowed her to become who she is today and have fueled her passion for working in immigration. Monica is the first member of her family to graduate from high school and attend college, receiving a B.A. in Education and a master’s degree in Library Science and Public History.
Monica is a founding member of the Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies and a current board Vice President. She is also a first-time political candidate, running on the Democratic ticket for Tippecanoe County’s Council-at-Large seat.