Closeup of Luis Cortes Romero.
Luis Cortes Romero

Dreamer, University of Idaho Law School graduate, and Seattle immigration attorney Luis Cortes Romero will present “This Case is My Story: The Supreme Court Argument to Preserve DACA” at 7 p.m. Monday, March 2 in the CUB Junior Ballroom. Hosted by the Common Reading Program at Washington State University, the program is open to the public at no charge.

Since March 2018, Cortes Romero has been a managing partner at Immigrant Advocacy and Litigation Center, PLLC, in Kent, Wash. and since 2012 an executive board member of the DREAM Bar Association. This past November, he was one of six attorneys at the table in front of the U.S. Supreme Court arguing to continue protection against deportation of people brought to the U.S. as children.

“A lot is at stake for me individually,” he told a CNN reporter days before the court date. “I will be looking at nine individuals who will ultimately decide whether my clients will be deported—and me with them.”

“We look forward to Luis’s presentation, as its topic ties very closely to this year’s Common Reading book, Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World,” said Karen Weathermon, Common Reading director. “We expect to learn how his personal story intersects with his immigration work.”

Co-sponsors of the Monday lecture are the League of Women Voters of Pullman, WSU Crimson Group, WSU Undocumented Initiatives, and University of Idaho College of Law.

Mexican born, American educated, local ties

Cortes Romero came to America at age one with his parents from Mexico. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, he didn’t understand that he was an undocumented person until the eighth grade when his parents said he couldn’t go on a field trip to Europe with classmates. In fact, he couldn’t get a driver’s license or get financial aid to go to college either, they said. His younger siblings had a different situation since they were born in the U.S. His father was deported in 2004.

But he did go to college at a community college, going on to earn a bachelor’s degree at San Jose State University. He studied law at the University of Idaho, graduating in 2013 with his juris doctorate degree. While on the Palouse, he was a legal intern at the Catherine Mabbutt Law Office in Moscow, Idaho, a prosecuting board member of the Latah County Youth Accountability Board, a legal intern and tribal-court-appointed special advocate with the Nez Perce Tribe, and a student advocate for Moscow High School, according to his LinkedIn profile.

While in law school in 2012, Cortes Romero was one of 800,000 people covered by U.S. President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which could prevent deportation. The threat arose again in fall 2017 when the current presidential administration announced the DACA program would end in March 2018. Within two weeks, six DACA recipients filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, with Cortes Romero, just 31, as one of the lawyers representing them. On Nov. 12, 2019, the case went before the Supreme Court. The nation is still awaiting the court’s decision.

Second lecture March 3

The day following at noon in Bryan 308 on the Pullman campus, Cortes Romero will present information on the actual court base, hosted by the Foley Center.

The WSU Common Reading Program is part of the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement, in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President. Each year, first-year and other students use a common text in numerous courses, and are invited to presentations, film showings, guest lectures, and more on topics related to the selected book.