Person

Emma Lozano

Image captured on C-SPAN
Occupation:

Pastor

Illegal Immigration Activist

For more information on the 2018 migrant caravans from Central America, see Pueblo Sin Fronteras and Centro Sin Fronteras

Emma Lozano is a left-wing activist, founder and president of the illegal immigration advocacy group Centro Sin Fronteras (“Center Without Borders”), executive director of migrant caravan organizing group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, and a pastor at the Lincoln United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois. Along with her husband, co-pastor Walter “Slim” Coleman, Lozano is involved in two other advocacy organizations closely connected with caravans of migrants in Central America seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.

Lozano is the sister of the late Rudy Lozano, a left-wing activist and community organizer in Chicago noted as a “fighter for immigrant [and] worker rights.”[1] She has called for “a moratorium to stop deportations” of illegal immigrants in the United States, saying that “We need to change America, we are all America.”[2]

Background and Radical Ideological Views

The Centro Sin Fronteras was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1987 by Emma Lozano, a pastor at the Lincoln United Methodist Church. [3]

Prior to founding Centro, Lozano was reportedly active in a left-wing organization in Chicago called Centro de Accion Social Autonomo (“Center for Autonomous Social Action,” or CASA). CASA has been described as “the self-proclaimed vanguard of an ethnic Mexican class-based revolution” following a Marxist-Leninist ideology. “CASA believed in a world without borders and, in addition to immigrant services and study groups, was also committed to trade union work.”[4] CASA was founded in Los Angeles, California in 1968 by activists Bert Corona and Soledad “Chole” Alatorre, as well as Emma Lozano’s brother, Rudy, who was referred to as “Compañero Rudy Lozano” (Comrade Rudy Lozano). Four years after Rudy was murdered in Chicago in 1983, Emma Lozano founded Centro Sin Fronteras in 1987, “a community organization dedicated to continuing Rudy Lozano‘s social justice work.” According to a 2016 thesis by a University of California, San Diego professor entitled “Sin Fronteras: Activism, Immigration, and the Politics of Belonging in Mexican Chicago, 1968-1986,” CASA followed a Marxist-Leninist ideology. “By stressing a ‘sin fronteras’ ideology,” according to the paper, “CASA pushed the terms of belonging in the United States, stressing connections between the ways in which Mexicans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border experienced exploitation fueled by American capitalism.” [5]

Additionally, CASA centers offered a range of classes, fiestas [parties], events, and other activities promoting Mexican history, pride, and cultural practices, including baile folklorico  folkloric dance]. As the organization expanded and its leadership changed in 1972, CASA transformed from a mutualista orientation to a Marxist-Leninist organization in defense of the Mexican immigrant worker.

. . .

CASA Chicago formed at the crux of a major transition within CASA‘s leadership, membership, and ideology at the national level. Soon after the formal creation of CASA Chicago in 1974, Bert Corona and others resigned because of stark ideological differences with the new, younger generation of CASA directors. The change in leadership transformed the organization from an immigrant serving organization into a revolutionary group committed to organize against U.S. capitalism that fueled undocumented Mexican migration and condoned labor exploitation. These latest members, a zealous group of college students, community organizers, and young professionals, strove to lead and build a national immigrant rights movement vis-à-vis CASA. Informed by far left politics: Marxist-Leninist thought, a communist ideology based on the theories of Karl Marx and Vladmir Lenin with an international worldview, they called for collective mobilization.

According to Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, “The Centro [Sin Fronteras] has an international mission, addressing U.S. policies in Central America and supporting movements for social justice in Mexico. It also provides exchanges with communities in Santo Domingo, El Salvado, Cuba, and Mexico. Lozano led a delegation to Vieques, Puerto Rico, to stop weapons testing in the area.”[6]

In 2006, Centro Sin Fronteras supported the “Child Citizen Protection Act” introduced by Rep. José E. Serrano in the hopes that the effort would “result in the legalization of undocumented immigrants who are parents and have previous deportations, even if future legalization measures exclude people with prior deportations.”[7]

According to a 2007 article in Voice of Revolution, a publication of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization, Lozano said (screenshot available here): “This country has exploited undocumented labor for over a century and grown rich off of it. We are not asking for anything. We are demanding our rights.”[8]

Lozano is affiliated with Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR), a group “which grew out of the mass movement to Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners,” according to its website.[9] Angela Davis is a far-left activist and former member of the Communist Party USA. Lozano, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, and La Familia Latina Unida are listed as endorsers in August 2015 of the group’s “Mass March and Protest Demonstration for Civilian Control of the Chicago Police” (document available here). Also listed as endorsers are Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Angela Davis, Black Lives Matter, Communist Party USA, Walter “Slim” Coleman (her husband), and Workers Center for Racial Justice. [10]

Anti-U.S. Views

In 2003, Lozano made radical statements regarding relations between the United States and other countries in the Americas at a rally at which Pueblo Sin Fronteras joined pro-illegal immigration organizers for the Immigrant Workers Freedom Rides in order to “push the State of Illinois to become an Immigrant Freedom Zone.” She said: [11]

“We won’t give up until we have equal rights and live a life with dignity. Legalization is not enough – we want to make a new America, one that accepts and treats all of the inhabitants of our continent as equal citizens. We ride for freedom from our oppressors and we don’t say, ‘please, accept us, we are good workers,’ and make contributions, and wave the U.S. flag. We know our history – 1/2 of the entire United States was originally Mexico. We have every right to be here.”

“We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us, We’re not democrats or republicans [sic] – we’re Pueblo Sin Fronteras and were bringing the Virgin of Guadalupe to confront the so-called Statue of Liberty. We want justice now.”

Also in attendance at the rally was Elvira Arellano, a Mexican-born illegal immigrant to the United States arrested by immigration authorities in 2002 for working under a false Social Security number.[12] Her deportation was reportedly stayed “[t]hanks to community pressure and a private bill introduced by Congressman Luis Gutierrez.”[13]

Activism

Centro Sin Fronteras

In 1987, Emma Lozano founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Centro Sin Fronteras (“Center Without Borders,” officially the Centro Sin Fronteras Community Services Network) in Chicago, Illinois.[14] She remains president of the organization; her husband, pastor Walter “Slim” Coleman, is the organization’s program chairman and board treasurer.[15]

Lozano and Centro have been involved in a number of demonstrations and protests with other left-wing groups, most notably the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in April 2016.[16] Lozano is a member of the LULAC Illinois state affiliate’s immigration committee, and the Centro has extensive connections with LULAC.[17] The organization advocates against deporting immigrants living in the United States illegally, a “moratorium on all raids,” comprehensive immigration reform “that provides legalization for the 12 million” illegal immigrants in the U.S., and a “renegotiation of NAFTA and other trade and financial agreements” to better suit the interests of Mexico.[18]

Pueblo Sin Fronteras

Emma Lozano is also listed as executive director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an organization noted for its involvement in organizing caravans of Central American migrants to enter Mexico and the United States illegally.[19] Pueblo Sin Fronteras is a member of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a left-wing coalition of immigrant activist groups.[20]

Pueblo Sin Fronteras has reportedly organized roughly 1,000 migrants in caravans to attempt to enter the U.S. and Mexico without prior authorization since 2010, primarily from Honduras and El Salvador:[21]

“The idea behind an organized group journey is to alleviate some danger on the long trip, through the simple principle of safety in numbers. Pueblo Sin Fronteras has its own organizers to handle logistics, and each individual is responsible for their own provision of food, water, and funding for transportation, should it be necessary. Groups are created by Pueblo Sin Fronteras; each composed of about 15 individuals under one leader. Five groups are then organized into a sector. This is how the caravan is structured and maintains order as the group moves northward.”

Pueblo Sin Fronteras is closely connected with the Lincoln United Methodist Church, where Lozano is a pastor.[22]

IFSCO Systems Arrests (2006)

Following the arrest in 2006 by federal immigration officials of 1,187 non-U.S. citizens employed by IFCO Systems, a wooden pallet producer, illegal immigrant Elvira Arellano went on a 22-day hunger strike “principally to tell [President George W.] Bush to reform the current immigration policies and to keep families together, for workers [sic] rights and an end to deportations.” [23] In 2001, Arellano formed the activist group La Familia Latina Unida (“The United Latin Family”) as an expansion of the Centro Sin Fronteras. [24]

During the protest, Lozano called for “a moratorium to stop deportations” of illegal immigrants in the United States. Lozano said she planned to lead two activist campaigns: “one for mass citizenship training for undocumented immigrants, and another for mass voter registration.” Lozano said, “We need to change America, we are all America.” [25]

Involvement with Other Activist Groups

On January 12, 2015, Lozano participated as a moderator in a town hall meeting at the Lincoln United Methodist Church in Chicago. The meeting was entitled, “Targeted Fraud: How Predatory Practices and Pyramid Schemes Impact Latino Communities.” Julie Contreras, an activist for the Illinois state affiliate of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), also participated as a moderator. Opening remarks were performed by Danny Solis, city alderman for Chicago’s 25th Ward. Attendees to the panel included LULAC national executive director Brent Wilkes, Make the Road New York activist Francisca Montana, Cook County commissioner (and former far-left mayoral candidate) Jesus Garcia, and National Consumers League executive director Sally Greenberg.[26]

A November 17, 2014 letter addressed to “DREAMers” (recipients of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act) noted that Pueblo Sin Fronteras/La Familia Latina Unida had “helped 400 first time applicants and 200 renewal applicants apply/reapply for DACA” (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive program) with a “100 percent success rate.” The letter also stated that the groups hosted “DACA sessions” at the Lincoln United Methodist Church, where Emma Lozano is a pastor. [27]

Activism in Washington, D.C.

In March 2010, Lozano spoke on immigration reform legislation before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in her capacity as executive director of Centro Sin Fronteras and as a representative for the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois (clipped speech available here). [28] Lozano demanded Congress pass an immigration bill co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham (SC) providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the United States.[29]

The National Press Club event was hosted by the Center for Community Change and its immigration project, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Other speakers included Linda Sarsour of the New York Immigration Coalition, Pramila Jayapal of OneAmerica Brent Wilkes of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRAL) branch in Los Angeles.[30]

Campaign Activism

2016 Presidential Election

In October 2014, Emma Lozano led a petition campaign to convince Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez to run for president in the 2016 election. According to an email obtained by the Washington Times, Lozano told supporters that “we will march and run our own Latino independent candidate for president of the United States.” When a staffer for Rep. Gutierrez announced that the congressman wasn’t interested in running for president, Lozano responded that “we’re obligating him to run, we’re not asking him. We’re in a war and when you’re in a war you fight. We’re drafting him.”[31]

2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Election

Lozano endorsed Democratic gubernatorial nominee J.B. Pritzker during the 2018 Illinois governor race, saying that “I have been a supporter from the very beginning and I am still proud to have endorsed him.” Because the endorsement was written on Lincoln United Methodist Church letterhead in Lozano’s capacity as a Methodist pastor, the endorsement is possibly a violation of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from endorsing candidates for public office. Full text of the endorsement (document available here): [32]

I know JB, his values and how he’s built his campaign. I have been a supporter from the very beginning and I am still proud to have endorsed him. He is a leader that doesn’t only talk about diversity and inclusion, he lives it. He proved this when he chose Juliana Stratton as his running mate, a known advocate for criminal justice reform. I know that JB cares for our communities, listens to people that have been left behind, and has plans to lift all of us up. He has been to my church to speak with the families in my congregation several times. He personally knows their stories and hardships. I have full confidence that he will be a champion for our community and our issues. I also know that he is the best candidate to beat failed Governor Rauner. I look forward to spending the final days of the campaign working to send JB Pritzker and Juliana Stratton to Springfield so they can move our state forward.

2018 Midterm Election

Lozano, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, and La Familia Latina Unida endorsed Democratic congressional candidate Marie Newman in the 2018 midterm election, who lost her bid in the Democratic primary for Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District in March. The endorsement read: “For too long, the 3rd [Congressional District] has had anti-immigrant and anti-women’s health representation. And it’s time for a strong progressive like Marie to represent the true values of the community” (screenshot available here). [33]

References

  1. Bachtell, John. “Rudy Lozano remembered as fighter for immigrant, worker rights.” People’s World. June 13, 2013. Accessed October 16, 2018. http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/rudy-lozano-remembered-as-fighter-for-immigrant-worker-rights/
  2. “Rally fights deportation: Keep families together.” People’s World. June 9, 2006. Accessed October 16, 2018. http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/rally-fights-deportation-keep-families-together/
  3. “The History of La Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras.” Centro Sin Fronteras. Accessed October 15, 2018. https://fluenglish.wordpress.com/about/
  4. Vicki L. Ruiz. Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. Indiana University Press, 2006. https://books.google.com/books/about/Latinas_in_the_United_States_set.html?id=_62IjQ-XQScC
  5. Myrna Garcia. “Sin Fronteras: Activism, Immigration, and the Politics of Belonging in Mexican Chicago, 1968-1986.” University of California, San Diego. March 23, 2016. Accessed December 4, 2018. https://escholarship.org/content/qt70k0j7t5/qt70k0j7t5.pdf
  6. Vicki L. Ruiz. Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. Indiana University Press, 2006. https://books.google.com/books/about/Latinas_in_the_United_States_set.html?id=_62IjQ-XQScC
  7. Amalia Pallares, Nilda Flores-Gonzalez. ¡Marcha!: Latino Chicago and the Immigrant Rights Movement. University of Illinois Press, 2010. https://books.google.com/books/about/Marcha.html?id=k5aMf4Vpt8oC
  8. Namwiinga Simwiinga-Khumalo and Heather Cottin. “May Day Actions for Immigrant Rights Announced.” Voice of Revolution. March 30, 2007. Accessed December 4, 2018. http://usmlo.org/arch2007/2007-03/VR070330.htm; screenshot: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2018/12/Emma-Lozano-US-Marxist-Leninist-Organization-2007.png
  9. “Home.” Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Accessed December 4, 2018. http://naarpr.org/
  10. “Mass March and Protest Demonstration for Civilian Control of the Chicago Police.” Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. August 27, 2015. Accessed December 4, 2018. http://naarpr.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/August27_2015_Endorsers.pdf; document: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2018/12/caarpr-endorsements-2015-emma-lozano.pdf
  11. Teo Reyes. “Chicago Immigrant Workers ‘Get on the Bus’ For Freedom Rides.” Labor Notes. September 30, 2009. Accessed November 9, 2018. http://labornotes.org/2003/09/chicago-immigrant-workers-%E2%80%98get-bus%E2%80%99-freedom-rides.
  12. “Mom filled with worry, pride as son fights her deportation.” CNN.com (via WayBack Machine). November 15, 2006. Accessed October 15, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20061115184625/http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/11/15/migrant.mom.ap/index.html
  13. Teo Reyes. “Chicago Immigrant Workers ‘Get on the Bus’ For Freedom Rides.” Labor Notes. September 30, 2009. Accessed November 9, 2018. http://labornotes.org/2003/09/chicago-immigrant-workers-%E2%80%98get-bus%E2%80%99-freedom-rides.
  14. “The History of La Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras.” Centro Sin Fronteras. Accessed October 15, 2018. https://fluenglish.wordpress.com/about/
  15. Pueblo Sin Fronteras Community Services Network. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016. Accessed October 15, 2018.
  16. Wieland, Phil. “LULAC protests alleged police profiling in St. John.” NWI Times. April 8, 2016. Accessed October 15, 2018. https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/lulac-protests-alleged-police-profiling-in-st-john/article_1e4c4ea8-2dd3-5fcc-8d9a-2c8580daecdb.html
  17. “Town Hall Meeting: Targeted Fraud: How Predatory Practices and Pyramid Schemes Impact Latino Communities.” LULAC. January 2015. Accessed October 15, 2018. http://old2018.lulac.org/assets/pdfs/Fraud_Town_Hall.pdf
  18. “The History of La Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras.” Centro Sin Fronteras. Accessed October 15, 2018. https://fluenglish.wordpress.com/about/
  19. “Rally fights deportation: Keep families together.” People’s World. June 9, 2006. Accessed October 16, 2018. http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/rally-fights-deportation-keep-families-together/
  20. “Our Member Organizations.” National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Accessed October 16, 2018. https://ndlon.org/about-us/members/
  21. Lefante, Isabella. “Pueblo Sin Fronteras.” Protocol Magazine. May 12, 2018. Accessed October 16, 2018. https://www.protocolmagazine.org/single-post/2018/05/12/Pueblo-Sin-Fronteras
  22. Teo Reyes. “Chicago Immigrant Workers ‘Get on the Bus’ For Freedom Rides.” Labor Notes. September 30, 2009. Accessed November 9, 2018. http://labornotes.org/2003/09/chicago-immigrant-workers-%E2%80%98get-bus%E2%80%99-freedom-rides.
  23. “Rally fights deportation: Keep families together.” People’s World. June 9, 2006. Accessed October 16, 2018. http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/rally-fights-deportation-keep-families-together/
  24. “The History of La Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras.” Centro Sin Fronteras. Accessed October 15, 2018. https://fluenglish.wordpress.com/about/
  25. “Rally fights deportation: Keep families together.” People’s World. June 9, 2006. Accessed October 16, 2018. http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/rally-fights-deportation-keep-families-together/
  26. “Town Hall Meeting: Targeted Fraud: How Predatory Practices and Pyramid Schemes Impact Latino Communities.” LULAC. January 2015. Accessed October 15, 2018. http://old2018.lulac.org/assets/pdfs/Fraud_Town_Hall.pdf
  27. “A Letter to the DREAMers.” We Are Not Dreaming Anymore. November 17, 2014. Accessed October 16, 2018. https://wearenotdreaminganymore.wordpress.com/tag/daca-for-all/
  28. “U.S. Immigration Policy.” C-SPAN. March 8, 2010. Accessed November 16, 2018. https://www.c-span.org/video/?292415-1/us-immigration-policy&start=1846
  29. Julia Preston. “At Rally, Call for Urgency on Immigration Reform.” New York Times. March 21, 2010. Accessed November 16, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/us/politics/22immig.html
  30. “U.S. Immigration Policy.” C-SPAN. March 8, 2010. Accessed November 16, 2018. https://www.c-span.org/video/?292415-1/us-immigration-policy&start=1846
  31. Stephen Dinan. “Hillary’s Hispanic problem: Immigration activists recruit Gutierrez to challenge Clinton in 2016.” Washington Times. October 7, 2014. Accessed December 4, 2018. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/7/immigration-activists-court-luis-gutierrez-for-pre/
  32. Tina Sfondeles. “Pritzker vows to fight racial discrimination suit, calls it campaign ‘craziness.’” Chicago Sun-Times. October 18, 2018. Accessed December 4, 2018. https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/pritzker-fight-racial-discrimination-lawsuit-craziness-strattin/; document: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2018/12/emma-lozano_jb-pritzker-endorsement-letter.png
  33. “Endorsements.” Marie Newman, Democrat for Congress. Accessed December 4, 2018. https://www.marienewmanforcongress.com/endorsements/; screenshot: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2018/12/Emma-Lozano-Marie-Newman-endorsement-2018.png

Connected Organizations

  1. Centro Sin Fronteras (Non-profit)
    Founder and President
  2. La Familia Latina Unida (Non-profit)
    Supporter (via Pueblo Sin Fronteras)
  3. League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) (Non-profit)
    Activist and Supporter
  4. Pueblo Sin Fronteras (Non-profit)
    Executive Director
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