Board Q&A: Luis Parra

Nov. 7, 2023
Luis and Cecy Parra

Luis and Cecy Parra

Luis Parra was raised in Nogales, Arizona, and is an Army veteran with deep roots in the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands. The first in his family to graduate from college, he majored in psychology at the University of Arizona. Later, he earned a law degree and has been practicing law for 21 years. He lives with his family in Rio Rico and owns a business immigration law practice in Nogales, Ariz. Luis is the founding chairman of the Kino Border Initiative and a six-year member of the SBS Advisory Board. Recently, he was appointed vice chair and talked about how he hopes to contribute to the board's vision and continue his commitment to the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands community.

How are you involved with the University of Arizona?

In addition to being an SBS board member, my wife and I have led SBS-sponsored faculty excursions to the Santa Cruz River, and to the eastern side of Nogales, Sonora, where we invited professors to present on the history of the region.

What motivated you to take this role?

Initially, I wanted to give back to UArizona because that’s where I graduated from, and I wanted to be involved with SBS because history and anthropology were my interests. After practicing law for several years, I felt compelled to step up and join the board. I’m passionate about preserving and promoting the history, heritage, and sustainability of our Arizona-Sonora Borderlands region. The College of SBS understands that it’s about more than just being neighbors — it’s understanding the complexities of how we are tied at the hip.

Has your work in immigration law informed your deep concern and advocacy for immigrant and asylum communities?

U.S. Immigration Law and Policy has influenced me significantly. Particularly about how push and pull factors directly impact the plight of South American immigrants. I used to evaluate geopolitics from the standpoint of someone who never spent much time outside Arizona. As a member of the American Immigration Law Association and a 15-year immigration law practitioner, I benefit from the research and advocacy of this organization and my colleagues. Further, my travels to the Middle East, South America and Mexico have helped me understand that immigration issues are not always black and white.

What key initiatives or projects do you hope to champion during your tenure as vice chair?

First and foremost, this role will be a collaborative effort, which means I will assist our chair in whatever ways she thinks are best to reach our main goals and priorities. Secondly, I want to continue recognizing the humanity of Southern Arizona's immigrant and asylum communities and support research on their socioeconomic impact.

How do you hope to impact the SBS Advisory Board as vice chair?

I want to have a more active voice and help strengthen the ties between SBS and the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands community. I want to contribute to the outlook of what SBS considers in its promotion of and impact on that community. One way we can do that is by making sure that SBS-sponsored projects and festivals always include folks from the Borderlands at the table.



This story was included in the fall 2023 Developments newsletter.