PAPA Noticiero No. 15 Pages 8-9

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PAPA Noticiero No. 15 Pages 8-9


Asylum Seekers


The first page contains an article within an issue of PAPA's newsletters calling for the organization of the Hispanic community in Austin in order to gain political power and rights to protect their members. The second page contains the end of an article detailing the personal account of Jamir, a refugee who fled to the United States because of the persecution he faced for his sexual orientation. The last section explains how PAPA helped Jamir's case. The second page also contains two images; one listing the 1998 PAPA Board of Directors and then another which is advertising a fundraising event. [Image Description: On Page 8 besides the article titled “From Shamrock to Sombrero,” there is a simple lineart image of a hand grasping a 3-leaf clover. It is faintly transposed on itself half an inch below it and to the right. On Page 9, there is two boxes to the right of the article on Jamir’s case. The first is titled “1998 PAPA Board of Directors” and it lists the following names and positions; Kelly Inselman, President. Sara Hardner León, Treasurer. Saúl Murcia, Secretary. Thomas Esparza. Barbara Griffin. Toya Haley. Laurie Hines. D’Ann Johnson. Walter Long. Caitriona Lyons. Laura Martínez. Virginia Raymond. Luis Humberto Yax Patzan. Below this box there is a bigger box with line art of square spirals on the border. The text is written in a thick, cursive font and is spaced within the box like a flyer. It states the following; “Please join us for our 2nd Annual Benefit: A World Music Celebration and Salsa Dance Contest. Featuring the Latin Jazz, Salsa and Traditional Music of… Tamasha Africana The Gypsies Ta Mére. Thursday, October 29, 1998, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Miguel’s La Bodega. 415 Colorado St. Admission-$10. Dance Contest-$5/couple.”]


Karen Lalley
Chinwe Obianwu


Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin


Political Asylum Project of Austin


Oct. 1998


Nidia Salamanca
Hamza Bouderdaben


American Gateways, current link to the organization's page on 4/12/2023 is







Text Item Type Metadata


Page 8


by Karen Lalley

It was said that they were “nothing more than dogs,” a group forever subject to their innate natures. They would never rise above their base pursuits of “vicious excitement” and “animal pleasures.” They lied, cheated, and stole. They drank too much. Their children were “undisciplined, uninstructed, inheriting the stupidity of centuries of ignorant ancestors.” They were incapable of assimilation and foolishly clung to their native language. Worse, they came in the millions. Whole cities became virtually overrun with them.

Still, they worked hard. They came to America to survive. They were given the dangerous, demeaning jobs that the native-born would not take. Eventually, employers came to depend on their labor. They could pay them less. And they were expendable. If they tried to organize or if they were hurt on the job, there was always hundreds and thousands of others the employers could exploit. As the lowest on the ladder they were both a boon and a bane to the country.

Sound familiar? As advocates to the immigrant community, we know well the stereotypes we fight against everyday.Except these are not contemporary images. This is how the Irish were viewed when they first arrived and the basis of a chapter in Ronald Takaki’s book, A Different Mirror. Ironically, the US now celebrates is Irish ancestry. St. Partick’s Day has become virtually a national holiday. There are now millions upon millions of Americans who can trace their ancestry back to Ireland. So many, in fact, that there are now more Irish descendants in the US than there are Irish in Ireland.

The key to this remarkable success? They turned the stereotypes on their heads by becoming organized. The Irish took hold of positions of power in politics, unions, the police and fire stations. Takaki points out that, “As voters, they consciously cultivated and promoted ‘Green Power.’”

Today, legalization and naturalization are central to access to power. As it has done with asylum seekers in the past, PAPA has become an important factor in challenging the anti-immigrant tide that has swept the country. Beyond providing assistance to indigent immigrants seeking political asylum, PAPA also provides services for those who wish to petition their family members or who are applying to become Legal Permanent Residents. PAPA further helps Permanent Residents to naturalize. Earlier this spring, PAPA Board of Directors approved changing the financial guidelines to allow us to accept clients for these services who make up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. This has allowed us to direct our resources to a broader base of individuals; those who cannot afford a private attorney. By making these services available, PAPA continues its mission to “provide resources to the immigrant community so that they can become advocates for themselves.” 

Eventually, the “Irish question” became so much of a non-issue that most of us are unaware that it once existed. It is hoped that in the years to come, we will celebrate the traditions and cultures of our newly arrived neighbors, and we’ll forget, too, there ever were such misconceptions and fear.

  • Karen Lalley began with PAPA as a part-time volunteer in 1996. In 1997, she became the agency’s full-time paralegal. In November, she will be returning to Omaha, Nebraska where her family currently resides.

Page 9

… continued from page 4

last visit, the police ransacked his home, physically assaulted his mother, and seized several personal items in an attempt to locate him. Jamir immediately fled to Russia and then the U.S. with his partner who had completed his work in Russia. Winning political asylum for Jamir is more than just obtaining an opportunity to start life anew in the United States. It also means that he can continue to maintain the close relationship with the family he has developed here. For the first time, he has received invaluable reassurance that what has occurred in the past was a horrible abuse of his human rights and that he will not be forced to face that persecution again.

With the help of PAPA, he was able tot ell his story and provide consistent and compelling testimony at the hearing before the asylum officer. Obtaining a grant of asylum at the interviewer level for a case based on sexual orientation is yet another wonderful accomplishment for PAPA in its efforts to provide legal representation for immigrants in Central Texas.

  • Chinwe Obianwu is a third-year law student at The University of Texas at Austin Law School. Ms. Obianwu was a summer intern at PAPA and continues to volunteer with us representing a battered immigrant woman under the VAWA Act of 1994.

1998 PAPA Board of Directors

Kelly Inselman, President

Sara Hardner León, Treasurer

Saúl Murcia, Secretary

Thomas Esparza

Barbara Griffin

Toya Haley

Laurie Hines

D’Ann Johnson

Walter Long

Caitriona Lyons

Laura Martínez

Virginia Raymond

Luis Humberto Yax Patzan

Please join us for our 2nd Annual Benefit:

A World Music Celebration

And Salsa Dance Contest

Featuring the Latin Jazz, Salsa and Traditional Music of…

Tamasha Africana

The Gypsies

Ta Mére

Thursday, October 29, 1998, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Miguel’s La Bodega

415 Colorado St.


Dance Contest-$5/couple


Original Format

Two pieces of 8x11 paper


Karen Lalley Chinwe Obianwu, “PAPA Noticiero No. 15 Pages 8-9,” Hidden Histories UT-Austin, accessed July 12, 2024,

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