About Lily Gutierrez
Lily Gutierrez, a native El Pasoan and accredited immigration representative, was a vital figure in the Catholic Church's work with newcomers for 40 years, working at CLINIC since its inception in 1988 until 1998 and subsequently serving two terms on its board of directors from 2001 to 2007. Her legacy includes the countless individuals she helped immigrate to the United States, the families she reunited who now have made their lives in the United States because of her assistance, the foundation she laid for CLINIC’s network, the charitable immigration programs she established, and the working relationships she nurtured with immigration agencies nationwide.
Lily was well-known and well-loved throughout the country. She began her career as an immigration legal-service provider with the U.S. Catholic Conference. A familiar face at the ports of entry, she welcomed newly arrived immigrants processed through the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, upon their first entry through the El Paso ports.
She led the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees arriving in El Paso in the late 1970s and became a national expert in the resettlement process throughout the next three decades. She played a lead role in the refugee resettlement program in El Paso, welcoming people from Ethiopia, Cuba, China, Iraq, Iran and many other countries.
Her message was always clear: people are more important than laws; migration is a reality, especially in the U.S.-Mexico border region; and no matter their reason for migrating or immigration status, the human dignity and rights of people must be protected at all costs. CLINIC has chosen to honor Lily’s legacy by extending (in her name) the work she did so devotedly to create charitable immigration programs through the nation.