Advocating for Immigrants

January 18, 2024 · By Nicole Jennings

Alexandra Lozano '08 has made it her firm's mission to take on — and win — the most challenging immigration cases.

This story originally appeared in Lawyer, Fall 2023.

During a mission trip to Belize with her church, Alexandra Lozano ’08, then 16, was staying in a small village when she met a local woman, who begged Lozano to take her child back to America.

Alexandra Lozano

“It was one of those moments that marks your entire life,” Lozano recalled. “I was never the same again. And now especially, as a mother, it’s heart-wrenching to remember that.”

Seeing the desperation in the woman’s eyes as she tried to find a better life for her toddler-aged son, Lozano knew right then and there that she wanted to become an immigration lawyer.

“I knew that if I could fight for undocumented immigrants, I’d be fighting for human rights,” Lozano said.

Fast forward to the present, and Lozano runs what she believes to be the largest humanitarian immigration law firm (serving survivors of trafficking and violence) in the country, with offices in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Houston, and Chicago. Throughout its nine years in business, Abogada Alexandra Immigration Law has helped thousands of clients in all 50 states win the ability to reside in the U.S. legally.

“We take cases that people say are impossible to win – people who have been deported and come back, people who have entered the United States unlawfully more than once,” Lozano said. “These are difficult immigration issues, and we tackle them head-on.”

In the past 18 months alone, the firm secured more than 6,000 work permits and more than 300 green cards for clients. Other immigrants come to Abogada Alexandra for travel permits, so they can return home to visit family members they have not seen in years without risk of being denied reentry.

“A couple months ago, I was able to return to my hometown in Guerrero, Mexico. I saw family that I thought I would never see again,” said Juan Arenas, who obtained permanent residency through Abogada Alexandra. “I feel like I was given a new chance at life.”

Lozano remembers a woman named Karla, who had been deported more than once after her abusive boyfriend forced her to cross the border illegally. Seven immigration lawyers told Karla her case was hopeless. But Lozano was able to help Karla through the Violence Against Women Act and the T Visa, which give legal residency to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, respectively. Now, Karla has worked her way up the ladder to become a manager at a McDonald’s, nearly finished her college degree, met a new man, and gotten married.

All the odds had been against Karla, but “she is a true American success story,” Lozano said.

Many people do not realize it, Lozano said, but undocumented immigrants are everywhere, working in hotels, restaurants, and more – the “invisible backbone of American society.”

“They just want to go to work, go home, they love their families, they go to church on Sundays,” she said. “But because of the immigration system, they have to sneak across the border, putting their lives at risk. They have to live under the radar.”

What solidified Lozano’s determination to fight for immigrants’ rights was her time at Seattle University School of Law, which included internships with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Seattle Immigration Court and an immigration law firm.

“I picked Seattle U Law because of its commitment to social justice,” Lozano said. “I believe that SU really walks the walk in that way and gives a lot of opportunities to really engage with social justice issues.”

To similarly inspire future Seattle U Law graduates, Abogada Alexandra created a scholarship fund for members of Seattle U’s Latinx Law Student Association. Last year, in honor of its eighth anniversary, the firm awarded eight scholarships.

 “Spanish-speaking attorneys are needed in every single area of practice,” said Lozano, who, along with her team, is fluent in Spanish.

Abogada Alexandra also provides internships.

Working for Abogada Alexandra is like being part of a family,” said Juan Diaz Cuenca, a senior paralegal at the firm. “We all have a common purpose.”

Lozano finds plenty of ways to give back through community service, such as holding free consultations around the region and providing immigration advice on social media.

“People deserve to be here legally, and if we can find any way to help them, we’ll try,” she said. “My mission is that all 11 million undocumented people have legal status. And I will not stop until then.”

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