October 2022 Meeting

The AAUW Corpus Christi Branch held a meeting on October 1, 2022, at the YWCA, starting at 10:30 a.m.  We had 24 members in attendance, plus one member who joined the meeting via Zoom.  Dr. Catherine Cox, President, welcomed everyone, and Dr. Vickie Natale, Finance Officer, gave an introduction of our seven new members.

Program Vice President, Dr. Mary Sherwood, introduced our speakers, Debra Rodriguez and Heather Moretzshon, who are local immigration attorneys with a firm that handles every aspect of immigration law from family and employment-based cases to deportation and asylum cases.  Heather earned her undergraduate degree in international relations, and since her father is an immigration lawyer, she had an introduction to the field of immigration law at an early age.  Heather has previously worked in Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Brazil, and Japan.  Debra relayed that her path to this specialized field of law was not as direct.  She graduated and passed the bar exam in California, so when she moved to Texas, she was limited to practicing federal law.  However, after her first case dealing with immigration law, Debra said that she was hooked and that it was a joy to work in a field that helps bring families together.

Debra and Heather talked about their experiences handling immigration cases, particularly as they relate to women and children.  In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed, and it provides protections for immigrant women and victims of crime.  To learn more about VAWA, including the “U” visas for victims of crime, the “T” visas for victims of severe forms of trafficking, and “self-petitions” under the law, check out this fact sheet from the American Immigration Council.

President Catherine Cox thanked our speakers for their informative and insightful presentation.  Vice President Mary Sherwood presented Debra and Heather with an appreciation gift – two beautiful ceramic bowls handmade by our member Janet Blanke.

Speaker Debra Rodriguez, Vice President Mary Sherwood, President Catherine Cox, and speaker Heather Moretzshon