It Started with a Conversation
January 5, 2018
Ruth Reese-Lane ’92 has always been curious. She has a natural interest in the human experience—the story—inspired by her upbringing.
Growing up in El Paso, Texas, a town nestled along the northern border of Mexico, Lane enjoyed listening to her neighbors and peers. In a town with much Latin influence, she grew up learning Spanish and English, while experiencing unique cultures. This drove her interest in community, and she began asking questions, such as, “What does a community look like, act like, sound like?”
When it was time to select a college, Lane wanted an experience that fostered community. She ultimately found that place at Scripps.
Eager to meet her peers, Lane joined Model U.N. and the Chicano Studies Center. She also became a tour guide for the College and was a member of Voces Unidas, a 5-College newspaper featuring Latin voices and stories. “I was drawn to meetings hosted by Amnesty International,” she says, “and I was inspired by the students, faculty, and staff who joined International Place’s weekly lunches and discussions.” Lane’s views of the world shifted, and she began to see how current events impacted global societies. By her sophomore year, Lane chose to major in international relations and focused her studies and involvement around Latin America and its economic development. Her Scripps experiences—and the stories shared by friends and faculty—shaped her values and interests. After graduation, she returned home and committed to making a difference in the place where her interest in community began—El Paso.
Lane began her career in the Catholic Diocese, working with the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services in El Paso. There, she served as the outreach coordinator with their antidiscrimination program established by the office of late Texas governor, Ann Richards. “This was a great experience!” Lane says. “I interacted with individuals who developed policies impacting immigrant members of our community.” The work inspired her to help immigrant community members craft a path toward U.S. citizenship. Lane moved to Dallas and continued her work with immigration legal services as an accredited representative, earning a master’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at Arlington and a law degree from Southern Methodist University along the way.
Currently, Lane serves as an immigration attorney in her own private practice. “We work with people from around the world,” she says. “We see everyone—businesses, families, and individuals—seeking safety.” Lane says that Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, are in a particularly tough position, with great uncertainty as Congress clashes over the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Amid the uncertainty, Lane offers some advice to Scripps students and families.
“Through these difficult times, you have a great deal of support from communities around the world,” she says. “We recognize that there is a sense of fear, and it’s important to seek legal counsel before taking any action, including moving or leaving the country. In some cases, there are available resources and other actions that can be taken.”
Lane applauds the young activists who have worked to raise awareness of the DACA program and support the Dreamers. “It is important to continue the dialogue around these issues,” she says. “We need to hear immigrant stories and continue to acknowledge and respect their human, economic, and cultural contributions.”
Scripps College seeks support from alumnae, families, and friends. Gifts to the Immigration and Civil Rights Emergency Fund allow students to seek legal counsel and pay for court fees. Visit our giving page to make a difference today. The College also offers many resources for students and families affected by changes to the DACA program. For more information, visit the Dean of Students website.