Immigration Expert Joins Texas State Office of Attorney for Students
Sandy Pantlik | February 7, 2019
In December 2018, the Texas State University Dean of Students Office hired Mark Kinzler, an attorney with immigration expertise to provide resources regarding immigration issues to the university community, with an emphasis on serving undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, often called Dreamers.
Kinzler has been involved in immigrants’ rights law for 13 years. He says his primary goal at Texas State is to serve students, be a voice for them and counsel them on how to resolve whatever immigration issues they may have.
“I can help with everything from initial advice to putting documents together,” said Kinzler. “While I’m not able to represent students in court, I can often help them prepare their own cases. Because immigration is such a hot topic, misinformation spreads, and so does fear. The ‘grapevine’ doesn’t always provide the best advice, so I want to make sure students know their rights and how to use that knowledge. They deserve to be armed with all the facts they need to make good decisions for themselves.”
Throughout his years in immigration practice, Kinzler has gained a deep understanding of the challenges faced by immigrants in the U.S., and particularly the unique problems faced by the undocumented community.
“I have spoken with many young people who didn’t even realize they were born outside the U.S. Children often come over at 1-2 months old, so they literally have no idea,” said Kinzler. “They go to mom or dad at 16, trying to get their birth certificate to apply for a driver’s license. Imagine beginning the process to apply for a driver’s license – a typical rite of passage for an American teen – only to be told for the first time in your life that you’re not actually a U.S. citizen. It’s pretty jarring news. The issue is magnified when the question of going to college enters the picture.
“Texas State is a diverse, open-minded community, but I want to continue moving the needle towards greater inclusivity. Knowing the stories of immigrants, understanding the barriers and challenges they face and supporting their aspirations to invest in our university and society, can only help. I hope I can raise awareness on that front.”
Consultations are free for students. For more information, visit Kinzler’s office on the fifth floor of the LBJ Student Center, call (512) 245-2370 or email LegalHelp@txstate.edu