Bessie Munoz is a Staff Attorney at the Young Center’s San Antonio office. Bessie graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law where she participated as a Student Attorney in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. She assisted clients seeking asylum, legal permanent residency and U Visa. During the summer of 2015, Bessie interned with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She also interned at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and at Texas RioGrand Legal Aid. Bessie was a staff writer for The Scholar Law Review on Race and Social Justice. During her third year in law school, she served on the The Scholar’s board as Symposium Editor and was a Research Assistant at the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. Bessie graduated from St. Mary’s University with her Master’s in Business Administrations and her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and International Business
1.What made you interested in the field of immigration law?
While some people deliberately choose to become attorneys and have always known what type of law they wanted to practice, I feel like I fell into their professions by accident. I have always been interested in immigration law and its complexity; mainly because of my own immigration experience. I was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, so immigration has always been a part of my life. However, it wasn’t until I worked at DeMott, McChesney, Curtright and Armendariz (DMCA) that I was exposed to other’s immigration experiences. I think the universe was intent on helping me realize the implications of my own experiences. After two months working at DMCA, I applied to law school with a desire to pursue a career in Immigration Law and I haven’t looked back since.
2.What drew you to the Young Center’s work?
Children are amongst the most vulnerable of the immigrant population, especially with the current immigration law and the privatization of immigration detention centers. This reality has turned the American dream into a nightmare. The Young Center gives a voice to the voiceless and demands dignity and respect for unaccompanied minors.
3. Who is your personal hero?
I do not have any one hero that I aspire to be like. Instead, there are a lot of people who have qualities I admire and hope to possess one day. Like Bob Dylan once said, “I think a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.” I admire individuals who have the strength to persevere, overcome obstacles and stand up for what they believe in.
4. What books are you reading for fun?
I am currently reading Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept for the second time. I have always enjoyed reading Coelho’s novels, which are almost poetic and beautifully written. His novels, such as Veronika Decides to Die, are truly inspiring and very heart felt.