Ana María Bazán, of Ana María Bazán Law Firm P.C., has been an immigration attorney for 16 years. When she’s not busy running her firm you can find her giving lectures and trainings on immigration law and mentoring other advocates. She sits on the board of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) and is active in the Queens Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
Is Queens your hometown?
I’ve lived all over the place. I was born in Queens, grew up in Peru, and I’ve been back in Jackson Heights since 1982. What I love most is the diversity of Jackson Heights. Walking on 37th Ave. from 85th St. to Little India on 73rd, you see Asian, South Asian, Latino, Jewish, Irish, Italian communities all represented. I think it’s a beautiful example of how immigrants enrich our city.
You’ve done so much to help immigrants in NYC. What case are you most proud of?
I did a low bono case for a woman seeking asylum who, if I lost the case, was going to be sent back to Guatemala and tortured and killed.
The judge we were facing had denied 84% of asylum cases, but in this case my client was granted asylum and now we’re bringing her four children from Guatemala to reunite with her. I feel really proud of the connection I made with this woman. When she comes to my office I feel really happy to help her.
How did you get involved with MRNY?
When I worked at the New York Immigration Coalition and conducted immigration trainings, I met members of MRNY who had developed themselves into inspiring leaders for immigrant rights. I developed a closer relationship to MRNY by conducting trainings in their facilities in Brooklyn because they didn’t have the Queens location yet. Then I joined the Queens housing committee and I became the madrina of the committee. I donated things for a bingo event they had and I kept being active with them, conducting trainings for tenants and MRNY’s immigration and housing staff.
What inspired you to give?
I’m an immigration lawyer, but I consider myself also an advocate of the community. I think Make the Road is one of the leading advocacy organizations that are really bottom-up. Some people don’t believe that if they organize they can make a difference, but I think instilling advocacy and organizing in people makes a huge difference. MRNY really helps the community become empowered and members become leaders themselves. That’s what I believe in.
Why should people become Sustaining Members?
I believe that teaching people to organize and empower themselves is the best tool to really change a system, and that’s 365-days-a-year work. The more money I make the more I’m going to give – and you should too!
Thank you, Ana María, for all you do for our communities! Got any hot tips for good eats in Jackson Heights?
Well I have to tell you this because I’m Peruvian. There’s a great Peruvian restaurant, Urubamba, you’ve got to try it.
See who else donates to Make the Road New York: