2019 Open Borders Conference Speakers

(For additional conference details, see the conference information page and program.)

Keynote Speakers:

Michael Huemer – Dr. Huemer is a professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado. He is the author of more than sixty academic articles on epistemology, ethics, metaethics, metaphysics, and political philosophy, as well as six books, including Skepticism and the Veil of Perception and Ethical Intuitionism, The Problem of Political Authority, Approaching Infinity, Paradox Lost and Dialogues on Ethical Vegetarianism.

Satsuki Ina – Dr. Ina is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento. She was born in the Tule Lake Segregation Center, a maximum security concentration camp for Japanese Americans during WWII. She has a private psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in the treatment of community trauma. A community activist, writer and filmmaker, she has produced two award-winning documentary films about the WWII Japanese American incarceration: Children of the Camps and From a Silk Cocoon.


Guadalupe Ambrosio is the Co-Executive Director at the New York State Youth Leadership Council – the first undocumented youth led organization in New York. She is a community organizer and educator, born in Mexico City and raised in the Bronx. She is a leading Immigrant Rights Organizer and Fat Liberation activist.

Alina Das is a Professor of Clinical Law at NYU School of Law, where she co-teaches and co-directs the Immigrant Rights Clinic. She and her clinic students represent immigrants and community organizations in litigation and advocacy to advance immigrant rights locally and across the country. She graduated magna cum laude with an AB in government from Harvard University, and graduated cum laude from NYU Law as a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar with a joint MPA from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Services. Das is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing her outstanding teaching and legal advocacy.

Ben Ehrenreich is a freelance journalist and novelist who lives in Los Angeles. His has published extensively in LA Weekly and the Village Voice, and his journalism, essays and criticism have also appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, The Believer, and the London Review of Books. He has reported from Afghanistan, Haiti, Cambodia, El Salvador, Mexico and all over the United States. In 2011, he was awarded a National Magazine Award in feature writing for an article published in Los Angeles magazine.

Jerson Giron Ramirez is an activist and migrant from Honduras. He was part of an organized caravan that passed through Mexico City on its way to the United States. After surviving immigration detention, he received support from the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP) of New York City. He is an outspoken and tireless advocate for migrants’ rights and has become actively involved in the Sanctuary movement since relocating to New York City.

Anu Joshi is the Senior Director of Immigrant Rights Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition where she leads the organization’s work on issues relating to immigration status and enforcement. She has worked for over seven years in the immigrant rights movement, including with the Center for New Community in Chicago and the American Immigration Lawyers Association in Washington, D.C. She is a native Californian and has her Masters in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley.

Niloufar Khonsari is the founder of and an immigration attorney at Pangea Legal Services in California. She works with individual clients to uplift their voices, lead their own public campaigns, connect with grassroots organizers, and reclaim some of their freedom. As a prison abolitionist, Nilou advocates for state bills like AB 32 that will shut down private prisons, including ICE facilities, in California. Nilou is a former Fulbright Fellow in Sierra Leone (’10) and a graduate of Georgetown Law School (’09). Originally from Iran, Nilou migrated to the United States at the age of 12 and was undocumented in her early teenage years.

Daniel Morales is an associate professor of law at the University of Houston. His research addresses the legal problems that arise because immigration law acts on noncitizens, yet is made by and for the citizenry. His scholarship has appeared in leading law reviews, including the N.Y.U. Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, and Wake Forest Law Review. Prof. Morales graduated magna cum laude from Williams College and received his J.D. from Yale Law School.

Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz came to the United States over twenty years ago as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and became a U.S. citizen in 2002. Ordained as a Roman Catholic Priest in 1995, he is now a Lutheran minister. He has worked for decades to advocate for the needs and demands of migrant populations. He has been a leader, organizer and co-founder of the modern new sanctuary movement in New York City.

Nandita Sharma is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her research focuses on the intersection of nationalism, racism and the politics of human migration. Nandita is an activist scholar who has long been active in feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist and No Borders movements. She has written numerous journal articles and book chapters and is the author of two books:  Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of ‘Migrant Workers’ in Canada and Home Rule: National Sovereignty and the Separation of Natives and Migrants (coming in February 2020).

Kristina Shull is a public historian and interdisciplinary scholar specializing in race, foreign relations, immigration control, and prison privatization in the modern United States. She received her PhD in History from UC Irvine, and teaches courses on race and mass incarceration, U.S. and the World, Cold War culture, climate change, and migration. Shull is the creator of IMM Print and Climate Refugee Stories, and in 2016 she was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations for her work in immigration detention storytelling.

Jacqueline Stevens is a professor of political science and received her PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1993. She conducts research on political theories and practices of membership since antiquity. Her current research on deportation law has been the basis of successful lawsuits challenging government misconduct. Professor Stevens’s work has appeared in Political Theory, the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Political Philosophy, Social Text, Third World Quarterly, The Nation magazine and the New York Times

Emily Tucker is a Supervising Attorney and Teaching Fellow in the Federal Legislation Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center. She has spent the last decade working with grassroots groups to organize, litigate, and legislate against the criminalization and surveillance of poor communities and communities of color. She served for six years as the Senior Staff Attorney for Immigrant Rights at the Center for Popular Democracy, and prior to that she was the Policy Director at Detention Watch Network. Her primary area of legal expertise is the intersection between the immigration and criminal justice systems. She earned her BA at McGill University, a master’s in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School, and her JD at Boston University Law School.

Jillian Lane White is an Afro-Indigenous cultural organizer and media maker living in Brooklyn on occupied Lenape land. Her political and artistic identity has been greatly influenced by the works of queer feminists of color like Gloria Anzaldúa, Barbara Smith, and Audre Lorde; multi-disciplinary creative documentarians like Zora Neale Hurston; and the many generations of ancestors and spirits that use(d) their creativity to ensure our collective healing and survival.

Open Call Presenters:

Heather Alexander
Aki Hirata Baker
David Brotherton
Margarita Garcia Rojas
Edwin Grimsley
Anna Levy
Marianne Madoré
Sara Ortiz
Juliana Perez Calle
Javier Porras Madero
Nicholas Rodrigo
Raquel Saenz
Sarah Tosh
Olivia Woldemikael