The LUM Immigration Clinic is also blessed to have as a volunteer Dr. Ileana Cortes Santiago who shares her expertise to foster community and equitability. She describes herself as
“the daughter of agriculture, Puerto Rican home cooking, Spanish verses, and a complex family that I love.”
Dr. Cortes currently assists the LUM Immigration Clinic with its newsletters and social media. Her association with the LUM Immigration Clinic started when she was a Ph.D. student at Purdue studying literacy and language education. Even though she has since moved to the Washington, DC area she still has strong ties to the greater Lafayette community. She is a former communications manager for a national immigration justice non-profit and currently works at an international development agency. Susan Brouillette, the LUM Immigration Clinic director summed it up this way,
“In addition to having a servant’s heart, Ileana is an extremely gifted writer and graphic artist and we are incredibly fortunate that she has chosen to share the gifts of her time and talents with the LUM Immigration Clinic.”
Dr. Margaret Hass grew up in Lafayette and graduated from Jefferson High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and European Studies from Amherst College in Massachusetts, a Master’s in International Literature in Germany, and a PhD in Cultural Studies in Italy and India. Margaret speaks seven languages (Arabic, Farsi, French, German, Italian, Spanish, French & Yiddish) and currently teaches writing at Ivy Tech Community College, Lafayette and English at the International Center, West Lafayette. Her partner, Vinayak, is an assistant professor in statistics at Purdue University.
Margaret’s interest in immigration issues started as a student at Jefferson High School. Many of the families of her friends struggled with citizenship issues and lived with anxiety day to day. Later Margaret was able to observe through the work of her sister Charlotte, an immigration lawyer, how “difficult and depressing” the process to earn citizenship is, particularly for undocumented Mexicans living in the US.
In early 2016, Margaret found the LUM Immigration Clinic through the LUM website and immediately set up a meeting with the director, Susan Brouillette. Since that initial meeting, Margaret has been a teacher for the LUM Citizenship Classes for three terms and was involved in the inaugural DACA Workshop. Margaret shared that
“LUM is a perfect fit for me. I’m able to help people with their issues related to their status, assist in the process to gain citizenship, and most importantly help reduce the day to day anxiety felt by their entire family.”
Margaret has since completed the COIL training with CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.). COIL (Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law) is an intensive six-week course which provides immigration law advocates and new practitioners with an overview of core immigration law concepts as well as allowing them to practice skills necessary to be an effective advocate. Susan Brouillette shared that
“volunteers like Margaret make it possible to do many of the vital programs at the LUM Immigration Clinic. Margaret, in particular, has been such an important part of our team. Her passion and experience are a blessing to the families we serve.”