Date: Sunday, November 22, 2009
Speakers: Karen McCreary, Executive Director of the ACLU of Utah and Mark Alvarez, Immigration Attorney
Karen McCreary’s professional legal experience includes over a dozen years as associate and senior associate general counsel for the University of Utah. She has also worked as general counsel for the Western Governors University, has been an associate attorney at a private law firm, and a judicial law clerk for Federal Court Judge David Winder. In addition to her legal career, McCreary has been involved in a variety of service activities, including international relief work in Africa and India, migrant worker education and advocacy in Alabama, and instruction and counseling for at-risk youth. Among other volunteer positions she has held, she is a past-president and current board member of the Salt Lake City chapter of Amigos de las Americas, an elder and deacon at the Wasatch Presbyterian Church, and a trustee of Prescott College in Arizona. McCreary, who grew up in Colorado, received an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, a master of arts from the University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies, and a law degree from the University of Utah. She has called Utah home for over twenty-five years.
Mark C. Alvarez has degrees in law and economics. He has practiced immigration law in Maryland and Utah. In 2003, the Utah State Bar named Mark the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. Mark has written articles in English and Spanish for publications including The Selective Echo, The Salt Lake Tribune, El Mundo Hispano and La Prensa Times. In 2005, Mark received a Telly Award as a co-writer of El Sueño Americano, a 50-minute Spanish-language film dealing with what new Americans should know about immigration and the police. From February 2004 through December 2006, Mark worked as Administrator of Minority Affairs for Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. Mark lived in Mexico City from June 2007 to April 2009.
Karen and Mark will be discussing many aspects of Utah’s immigration debate, and pulling apart some of the common myths and misconceptions that arise within that debate. Karen will be discussing, in particular, some of the serious civil liberties implications of ill-conceived anti-immigration policies and legislation (such as potential invasions of privacy for citizens), as well as the legal precedents that establish constitutional rights for non-citizens. Mark will discuss how some of the actions we take as communities to curb or punish illegal immigration can actually negatively impact public safety and economic development, rather than improve our communities. Karen and Mark will also touch upon the prospects for future federal comprehensive immigration reform, the impacts of Utah’s omnibus anti-immigration law SB81, and where Utah fits into the national landscape of anti-immigration efforts.