2019 Keynote Speakers

2019 Building Bridges Conference

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Julissa Arce:

Julissa Arce is an immigration advocate and author of My (Underground) American Dream, her incredible true story as an undocumented immigrant who became a Wall Street executive. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street working for Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, and had seemingly achieved the American Dream—yet she was not part of what defined American. Julissa immigrated to America from Mexico at the age of 11 and was undocumented for almost 15 years, some of them spent rising to prominence on Wall Street. She made national and international headlines when she revealed that she had achieved the American Dream of wealth and status at Goldman Sachs while undocumented. She is a political commentator, speaker, and best-selling author. She was named one of People en Español’s 25 Most Powerful Woman of 2017. She is a leading voice in the fight for social justice, immigration rights, and education equality. At the podium, Julissa shares her incredible true story of reaching the top of the corporate ladder as both a Latina woman and an undocumented immigrant.


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David Scott FitzGerald:

David Scott FitzGerald is Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations, Professor of Sociology, and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. His research analyzes policies regulating migration and asylum in countries of origin, transit, and destination. FitzGerald’s forthcoming book, Refugee Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers, analyzes how governments in North America, the EU, and Australia try to keep asylum seekers from reaching their territories.


His previous books include Culling the Masses: The Democratic Roots of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas, which challenges the widely held view that in the long run democracy and racism cannot coexist and shows that democracies were the first countries in the Americas to select immigrants by race, and undemocratic states the first to outlaw discrimination. This work won the American Sociological Association’s “Distinguished Scholarly Book Award.”