Liana Montecinos shares her inspiring story from growing up in a Honduran village to serving as an immigration attorney
On Friday, Oct. 6, immigration attorney Liana Montecinos spoke to Blair students in the media center about her journey to becoming a successful immigration attorney in the U.S. From growing up in Honduras to coming to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant, Montecinos shared her inspiring story and offered powerful advice.
Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Neha Singhal and Latino Achievement Coordinator Maria Tanos invited Montecinos as a guest speaker to share her experiences and connect with Blair students. Montecinos gave her presentation entirely in Spanish, but student volunteers provided live English translations via headsets for students and staff members.
Montecinos led her presentation with a background on her early childhood in Honduras and the dangerous border crossing into the United States. During the presentation, she described the struggles, harassment, and abuse women faced in Honduras and the lack of opportunities available. At age 11, Montecinos left Honduras with a relative and embarked on a months-long journey to the United States.
Even after reaching the United States, Montecinos still faced challenges and barriers, but her perseverance proved to be far stronger. She worked diligently to learn English because she realized that the language was a prerequisite to all the opportunities that her new country could provide. Within two years, Montecinos was placed out of the ESOL program and began to prepare for high school.
In high school, she played several sports, joined a variety of activities, and took AP and IB classes to challenge herself. At this point, she began to realize that she had more control over her life and that with hard work, she could achieve great things. “[The] only person who could put limits on myself was me,” she said.
Throughout the presentation, Montecinos tried to encourage students who may be in similar situations as her high school self to take advantage of their resources within schools. She described applying for every possible college scholarship and utilizing her in-school support system to the fullest.
At about the time of her high school graduation, she found out that her deportation process had begun. Despite this, she committed to George Mason University and hoped for better tomorrows. Through a staff member at her university, Montecinos was able to connect with an immigration attorney to work on her case.
Montecinos was granted United States citizenship in 2016 and became an immigration attorney to serve families and children facing obstacles similar to her own. In addition to serving as an attorney, she works with youth and frequently visits schools to share her story.
Montecinos hopes her story will resonate with students and show them the importance of hard work, resiliency, and perseverance. “Don’t let fear get in front of your dreams,” she said.
Liana Montecinos’s presentation was given in Spanish. All quotes are English translations provided by student translators at the event.
Tejusvi Vijay. Hello! My name is Teju (she/her) and I'm a staff writer. Outside of SCO, I enjoy playing board games, watching Disney movies, and telling puns. More »