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Repatriation expert keynotes immigration forum

A day-long immigration forum will feature thoughtful panel discussions, theatrical performances and a captivating keynote address on Friday, Feb. 3, at The University of Texas at Arlington. 

The Borders, Boundaries and Barriers: Expansive Thinking and Global Solutions event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will include discussions by scholars and activists about immigration control policies as well as theatrical excerpts on immigrant arrival stories.

Lori Baker, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives, Collaboration and Leadership Development at Baylor University, will give the keynote address “Forensic Identification of Deceased International Immigrants at the U.S./Mexico Border” from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

Baker is founding executive director of Reuniting Families, a program that aids in the recovery, identification and repatriation of undocumented immigrants who perish during migration into the United States.

She was a finalist for Texan of the Year in 2014 and her work has been featured by National Geographic, Scientific American, Discover Magazine, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, BBC, MSNBC and other media outlets.

Lori Baker

“I can’t imagine if my family was tasked with finding me in a foreign nation,” Baker said. “And so I can imagine what these families must be going through in trying to find information and being so desperate, and so little being done on our side of our border.” 

Panelists include:

  • Avi Chomsky, professor of history and coordinator, Latin American Studies, Salem State University
  • Wayne Cornelius, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of political science, University of California San Diego
  • Roberto Corona, human rights advocate and educator, Pueblo Sin Fronteras
  • Brianna Brown, deputy director, Texas Organizing Project

During lunch, National Geographic photographer, playwright and installation artist Dominic Bracco II will present a thoughtful portrait of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Bracco's work is a nuanced look at the American smuggling corridor, border culture and the historical conflicts that have shaped this region. 

According to the UTA Strategic Plan: Bold Solutions l Global Impact, the University is committed to research that supports health and the human condition, sustainable urban communities, global environmental impact and data-driven discovery. This presentation is part of “A Festival of Ideas” Research Institute sponsored by UTA alumnus Mustaque Ahmed and the College of Liberal Arts.

“Given the timeliness of the topic, we’ve invited experts from around the country to share perspectives and generate lively discussion around immigration,” said Elisabeth Cawthon, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “The day is sure to be thought-provoking for students and scholars alike in examining the impact immigration has on people, ideas and actions in the U.S.”

Borders, Boundaries and Barriers, held in the Bluebonnet Ballroom of University Center, is free and open to the public with breakfast and lunch provided. UTA welcomes the community and local school districts to attend.  

Visit: to RSVP to the event.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” institution. With a projected global enrollment of close to 57,000 in 2016-17, UTA is the largest institution in The University of Texas System. Guided by its Strategic Plan Bold Solutions | Global Impact, UTA fosters interdisciplinary research within four broad themes: health and the human condition, sustainable urban communities, global environmental impact, and data-driven discovery. UTA was cited by U.S. News & World Report as having the second lowest average student debt among U.S. universities. U.S. News & World Report also ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2017 Best for Vets list. 

                                                                                                       -- Written by Catherine Page