Nancy Landa

Nancy Landa

Nancy Landa is an immigrant from Mexico who lived in Los Angeles for 19 years from the age of nine and became the first college graduate in her family. After Nancy graduated, she continued to be a productive citizen and dedicated her professional life to public service with her work with community organizations. She paid her taxes, become civically involved and encouraged others to do the same. As an undergrad student at California State University, Northridge, Nancy became a campus leader, encouraging students to integrate service –learning into their educational experience. As a board member of the campus Volunteer Council, she worked with hundreds of non-profit organizations in the Los Angeles area, including the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and Habitat for Humanity to develop meaningful long-term service projects for students groups. For her work in civic engagement, she received the CSU Students Recognized for Community Service award by the CSU Chancellor Charles Reed in 2002. In 2003, Nancy continued to her role as a leader when she became the first Latina president of Associated Students at California State University, Northridge. Nancy fought against budget cuts to California’s higher education system and successfully led student marches and advocacy efforts state-wide. After finishing her elected-term, Nancy earned a B.S. in Information Systems, graduating with honors. Almost immediately, she received a work permit allowing her to begin her professional career. Nancy worked for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to raise funds to support sustainable funding of hundreds of non-profits focusing on ending poverty, improving educational attainment in communities of color and providing a safety net for the L.A.’s most vulnerable residents. She then went on to support education, economic growth, and workforce development initiatives in the most underserved areas of Southeast Los Angeles County. She volunteered for the Obama campaign in the 2008 presidential elections. In 2009, Nancy began experiencing difficulties in renewing her work permit. Upon further investigation, she learned that her family case was fraudulently filed and had been closed without her knowledge. Upon becoming aware of the immigration scam, Nancy consulted several attorneys to find a solution to her situation. However, due the restrictions put in place by the current U.S. immigration system, there was nothing she could do but wait for some type of immigration reform that would provide her a pathway to citizenship. But before any legal relief became available, Immigration and Customs Enforcement found her first. On September 1, 2009, Nancy was detained by immigration agents and after being held captive for over 8 hours in a detention center without the right to a legal hearing, she was put on a bus back to Mexico with nothing more than the purse she was carrying when she was arrested. Nancy arrived at the San Ysidro-Tijuana border in the late hours of the day, in a city where she knew no one, without a place to stay. A few months after settling in Tijuana, Nancy filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals to revisit her case, but it was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and for being untimely filed. Nancy decided to stop further appeals upon advice of counsel due to the lack of relief available to Mexican nationals with deportation orders. She is barred from entering the U.S. for a minimum of 10 years and does not qualify for a tourist visa to visit the U.S. even if required by work. Nancy was forced to re-start her life from square one and now works in the private sector for a multi-national company in the manufacturing industry. Nancy continues to live in Tijuana with her parents and brother who were also detained and sent back to Mexico one month following her own deportation.

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