Annual Constitution Day observance at Centenary focuses on immigrant rights

SHREVEPORT, LA — Immigration attorney and Loyola University New Orleans adjunct law professor Kathleen Gasparian will join the Centenary community via Zoom to mark Constitution Day on Thursday, September 16 at 11:15 a.m. Gasparian will deliver a brief presentation, “Know Your Rights/Conozca Sus Derechos: A Guide to Non-Citizen Rights Under DACA,” (Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and then facilitate a Q&A with Centenary students, faculty, staff and interested community members.

Constitution Day commemorates the ratification of the United States Constitution in September 1787 and is celebrated across the country with local events focused on constitutional history and citizenship. Gasparian’s talk will focus on examining the constitutional rights granted to various non-citizen groups in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, dependent visa holders, Green Card holders, and asylum seekers.

Centenary students, faculty, and staff may gather in person for the Zoom presentation in the Centenary Room in Bynum Commons. Non-Centenary participants can join via Zoom at (meeting ID: 821 4629 8897).

Gasparian’s path to law school and a career as an immigration attorney began while working in the International Student Affairs office at Loyola University New Orleans, which inspired her to pursue a law degree through Loyola University’s evening program. She has served as a judicial law clerk for the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Oakdale, Louisiana, and also spent more than a decade in private practice. In 2014, Gasparian founded PB&J: Pro Bono and Juveniles, a program that connects immigrant children with pro bono legal representation. She is active in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and is a frequent speaker at AILA and other continuing education legal conferences.

Anne-Marie Bruner-Tracey, Assistant Dean for Global Engagement; Dr. Chris Ciocchetti, Professor of Philosophy; and Dr. Amy Friesenhahn, Assistant Professor of Political Science, are sponsoring the “Know Your Rights” event for Constitution Day.

“Our system depends on people and their advocates knowing their rights,” said Ciocchetti. “We all need to support each other, and, to do that, we need to know what rights we have. For this Constitution Day, we chose to look at the rights of immigrants under DACA and other regulations. There are a lot of myths and rumors surrounding immigrants' rights. We plan to dispel some of these myths and show the power of the law to protect people and communities when they are supported by a broader community that knows their rights. Immigrant students, faculty, and staff are valued members of Centenary's community. We all need to know their rights.”


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