Chapter Two began in 2013, when Virginia returned to practice law after an 18-year hiatus spent as a graduate student, teacher, oral historian, and parent. She could not have predicted the chaotic, cruel, and heartbreaking nature of the period beginning in the summer of 2014 with the re-introduction of family “detention” (call it immcarceration); increase in imprisonment of asylum seekers; the adoption of “Zero Tolerance” as a means to forcibly take babies, toddlers, and older children away from their parents at the U.S. – Mexico border in 2018; the “metering” and “Remain in Mexico” policies that forced asylum-seekers to live in crowded shelters or encampments south of the U.S. border; and a series of rule changes and Attorney General opinions that attempted to eliminate asylum entirely. Virginia practiced removal defense almost exclusively, in her own practice as well as for a time at Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors, between 2013 and September 2021. She spent way, way, way too much time in immigration prisons, and continues to represent about twenty households still in various stages of removal proceedings. Virginia also shares the hard lessons of this period as a mentor at Vecina (vecina.org).
Virginia appreciates working as part of a strong and varied team, a new and splendid experience for someone who has mostly worked as a solo practitioner or in other very small settings. The culture at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law is one of mutual respect and full communication. It is exciting to work on a wide range of cases with knowledgeable, dedicated, and compassionate colleagues. There is a lot of love about working here!
As a lecturer at UTSA, Virginia currently teaches undergraduate courses in Mexican American Literature and in Feminist Literary Theory, and a graduate seminar on women’s writing in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latinx U.S.A.
But the most important part? Virginia and her husband Tom raised three kids. Unfortunately, they all live far away right now. Fortunately, they are all happily pursuing their own paths. Louis is a percussionist and composer. Becca, an MD, works crazy long hours in a combined internal medicine and pediatrics residency. Joey, a lawyer, and his wife Liana, who works in public health, are parents of a little person. Grandparenthood is a source of delirious joy and constant wonder for the recently renamed “Yinya” and “Tata.”