Emilia C. Bañuelos
EMILIA Bañuelos was born in Tecate, Baja California, México to Serafín Bañuelos and Ofelia Bañuelos. She is the fourth out of seven children in her family. Bañuelos came to the United States at the age of four and began attending school at Peoria Elementary in Peoria, Arizona in the year of 1974. After graduating from Peoria Elementary, she attended Peoria High School in Peoria, Arizona. Bañuelos was involved in many activities at Peoria High School and worked full-time to help provide for her six siblings (three brothers and three sisters). Her mother worked in the fields and her father worked as a gardener at Dysart High School. She graduated from Grand Canyon University in 1990 receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Bañuelos then went on to study at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and received her Juris Doctorate in 1993. While in law school, she worked for Community Legal Services, Farmworkers Program, Brown and Bain Law Office, and sole practitioner, Herman Quiroga, before she set out to start her own law practice in 1995. Bañuelos has participated in numerous immigrant rights organizations throughout her legal career.
She was the founder of several groups working for social justice for immigrants as well as a volunteer for established national organizations. Her activism arose out of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform Act (IRIRA) and its subsequent criminalization of immigrants throughout the United
States. In 2002, Bañuelos worked with dedicated high school teachers and students to form "CADENA", the cursor volunteer group that eventually branched out to several DREAM ACT support groups that exist today. Bañuelos has been an attorney for more than 20 years, an activist for 25 years, a strong Cesar Chavez-inspired student of the Movimiento Campesino and the United Farm Workers (UFW) since she was a young fieldworker, a breast-cancer survivor, and most important to her, the pillar of her family.
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