Join Center For Houston's Future Webinar: How to Have Difficult Conversations about Immigration

Please join Center for Houston’s Future on Tuesday, November 17, at noon CT, for a panel discussion on How to Have Difficult Conversations about Immigration (and still be speaking after).

It is clear immigration will continue to be a major issue in the coming year, and many of us have friends and family with different perspectives. Thanksgiving is coming up, and whether you break bread in person or virtually, you can use these ideas to structure that conversation. 

We will share useful facts, and talk about what to say and how to say it when facts don’t resonate. 

This panel continues the work we’ve been doing in partnership with Rational Middle MediaNew American Economy and Rice University’s Baker Institute Center for the United States and Mexico the past several years to advance the conversation about immigration policy and its economic impact at local, state and national levels. We will screen a short video from Rational Middle Media, and Chelsie Kramer of New American Economy will share insights on messaging gained from their recent work with chambers of commerce. 

Please register here to join the panel. Zoom sign in information will be sent to registered participants. 

Register Now


Moderated by:


The panel will be moderated by Laura Collins, Director, George W. Bush Institute.

Laura previously served as the Director of Immigration Policy at the American Action Forum. She has experience in politics, working as a Senior Research Analyst at the Republican National Committee for the 2012 election cycle and in the Texas House of Representatives for the 82nd Legislature. A former practicing attorney, Laura earned a JD from The University of Texas School of Law and a BBA from the University of Oklahoma. She has written and spoken extensively on immigration policy.


Panelists include:


Zaira Garcia is the Texas State Director for, a bipartisan political organization that believes America’s families, communities, and economy thrive when more individuals are able to achieve their full potential. Zaira’s involvement in the immigration debate began at a very early age as a result of witnessing multiple instances of injustice against her undocumented parents and their mixed-status family. Zaira is a University of Texas at Austin alumna with a dual degree in Government & Sociology.

Candy Marshall is president of TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for DREAMers. Before joining TheDream.US, Candy was the CHRO at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and oversaw then became Director of Operations for the Global Health Programs. Previously, Candy was executive VP and general counsel at a Pacific Northwest technology firm. She currently serves on the board of the Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Institute and the National College Attainment Network (NCAN). TheDream.US provides scholarships to dreamers, including hundreds of Houston area students, primarily at UH Central and UH Downtown.

Dan Vallone is director of More in Common USA, whose mission is to understand the forces driving us apart, to find common ground and help to bring people together to tackle our shared challenges. They develop communication strategies that can unite people across the lines of division and strengthen people’s sense of belonging and identity. Prior to joining More in Common, Dan worked on education policy and innovation at the state and national level. Previously, Dan served six years active duty as an Army infantry officer, with one tour in Afghanistan. Dan graduated from West Point and earned an MA in Contemporary China from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on a Fulbright Scholarship and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2020 More in Common launched an 18-month research project in Texas focused on identifying values and beliefs which cut across lines of difference. Findings will be released in early 2021.


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