Join us tonight on Heart to Heart at 9 pm EST (6 pm PST).

On Heart to Heart this Sunday will be three women who together uncover the laws, policies and practices that women face when they are stuck in a difficult circumstance of being in an abusive relationship and having questionable immigration status.  If you heard our first immigration show, join us for a part two of this discussion.  
Please join Shirley and Maria as we explore with our guests the challenges these women are confronted with as they try to leave their abusers, the difficulties of navigating the legal, criminal justice, and immigration systems and the impact this has on the family unit, especially the children.  This Sunday’s Scales of Justice Show uncovers the laws, policies and practices that women face when they are stuck in a difficult circumstance of trying to leave their relationships with their own safety and family intact.  Please join Shirley and Maria as we explore with our guests the challenges these women are confronted with as they try to leave their abusers, the difficulties of navigating the legal, criminal justice, and immigration systems and the impact this has on the family unit, especially the children.
This show will be packed with expert legal knowledge from Sonia Parras Konrad, Co-Director of ASISTA, an legal agency that helps advocate for women who are experiencing these issues, Azuzenna Aguayo, from the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services who works specifically on these cases, and you will hear from Rosie Sanchez who will her share her personal experiences with this issue. 
The show airs tonight 6 pm PST (9 pm EST).  To listen go to  
Maria 🙂
Meet our guests here now:
2529 Ingersoll Ave, Suite 8, Des Moines IA 50312
Sonia co-directs ASISTA, Technical Assistance for Immigrant Survivors, a nation-wide program that provides immigration technical assistance to front line advocates and attorneys on advanced issues arising out of the legal representation of immigrant survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. ASISTA was funded by the Office on Violence Against Women, Department of Justice. She is also in private practice at the Law Offices of Sonia Parras PLLC.
Sonia is an activist and educator on domestic violence issues and legal remedies for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.  She is the author of Rompiendo el Silencio(Breaking the Silence), a manual for Latino community activists organizing against domestic violence and sexual assault, published by the Family Violence Prevention Fund and Defensa y Promocion de la Mujer Latina (Defense and Promotion of the Latino Woman) published by National Latino Alliance.  Through her work Sonia strives to promote the organization and leadership of immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  Sonia is the founder of MUNA, a legal clinic for immigrant survivors serving the entire state of Iowa where she worked for 12 years and LUNA, an innovating culturally tailored domestic violence and sexual assault agency providing services to Latinas by Latinas.
Sonia is a frequent speaker on immigration issues and innovative community organizing techniques, both locally and nationally.
In 2002, Sonia, in conjunction with the EEOC, represented a number of immigrant women survivors of sexual assault in a class action against their employer. The case resulted in a substantial financial settlement on behalf of the survivors (1.5 million dollars).  In 2008, Sonia represented more than 70 immigrants detained during the major raid in US history pro bono filing over 48 U visas To date 42 U visas have been approved and 12 more have been filed and are pending.
Sonia is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Iowa Bar Association, the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild Association, and a Board Member of the National Alliance to End Violence Against Immigrant Women.  She is the chair of the detention subcommittee of the Iowa-Nebraska AILA chapter and the advisory board member of the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. On 2009, she received the Pro Bono AILA annual Michael Maggio award for her work on Postville.
Sonia graduated in 1996 from the Universidad de Granada (Spain), College of Law and completed her legal education at Drake University Law School in 1999.
Also on the show is Azuzenna Aguayo:
Azuzenna Aguayo is a Children’s Social Worker who has worked with the Department of Children and Family Social Services as a Social Worker for seven years.  She is an Intensive Services Worker who assists families who come into the system of DCFS.  Her job is to assist in maintaining the children in the home of parents and/or family members when they have been victims of abuse.   She also assists in connecting the families with services such as Individual Therapy, Parenting, Domestic Violence, Substance abuse treatment programs, etc…
A great deal of the families that she works for have Mother’s who have been victims of Domestic Violence and are undocumented immigrant.
She was born and raised in East Los Angeles.  She is the second of four children and the first person to attend the university on both sides of her family.  She graduated University of California Santa Cruz in 1994 with a B.A. in Sociology.  She completed 52 graduate credits form California State University in Los Angeles in Child Development and Education.  She was a teacher for The Los Angeles Unified School District for 5 years.
She became a stay at home Mother in the year 2000.  She raised her son for two and a half years and returned to the work force at the end of 2002.
She has worked for the Department of Children and Family Social Services for the past 7  years.  Although it is a very emotionally loaded job,  she believes she found her calling.
Appearing on the show for the personal side of this issue is Rosie Sanchez: (As written by Rosie)
Rosie Sanchez
Rosa Maria Sanchez, is currently in Mexicali, Baja California after serving a sentence of 25 years to life at the California institution for women, for a crime she did not commit.  She has the utmost respect for the sanctity of human life.
This is the fact of her unique case. In 1985, she was a business owner, operating a wholesale store called “Rosey’s of California,” in the garment district in Los Angeles, California. She sold women’s and children’s clothes, she had customers from San Francisco, Palm Spring, Chicago, Texas, Washington, Oklahoma and Mexico. She used to have a casual relationship with her neighbors and she never had problems with anyone.
At the time of her arrest, she was 24 years old, a single mother of four children, Gustavo 7 years, Irving 5 years, Rosie 4 years and Grace 2 years. Her grasp of English language was less than fair, for over a year she waited for her case to come to trial, faith walled up, in the judicial system, in her attorney and in knowing her own innocence. She knew there was no possible way that they would find her guilty of a crime she did not commit.
Her heart goes out to the victims of this tragedy and their families. Adam Ramos was greatly mistaken when he saw a profile of a woman for about 5 seconds and believe to be Rosie.  When the fire occurred, she was sleeping at home with her four children, her sister Lorena, a live in baby-sitter Juanita, and a friend and neighbor Maribel, who needed a ride from work to home because her car had broke down the day before.
She had no reason to commit such a crime, she had a successful business, and she had financial records that will verify that her business was doing very well.  Her store was in the same building where the fire occurred, it was only 2 doors adjacent from Maribel’s store.  She could have easily lost her business and she had no insurance.
When she was arrested and accused of starting the fire, her attorney arranged bail and one week later on Christmas Eve 1985, she was released on $100,000.00 bail. While she was out on bail she continued working and taking care of her children, she could have easily fled to Mexico, but she did not because she was not guilty. Rosie thought that justice would prevail, despite the enormous amount of evidence to prove her innocence and the (69) favorable witnesses on her behalf.  Evidence that the jury did not see because of her attorney’s failure to introduce it during her trial, her attorney was more concerned about saving court time that to defend her innocence. Approximately, after 8 hours of testimony, defense taking approximately 30 minutes, with not a single thread of physical evidence and only highly questionable hearsay evidence, she was convicted of a crime she did not commit.
Since her conviction she have been seeking legal assistance to prove her innocence to no avail. The courts denied her appeal not on the merits of the case, but due to 80 days delay (which were circumstances beyond her control that did not allow her to file on time).  Also the sentencing judge Sam Bubrick wrote numerous letters to BPT and CDC urging them to recommend a recall of sentencing under pc 1170(d).
Finally, on October 14, 2009, the Board of Prison Terms panel… (PLEASE ASK HEIDI)
For years she prayed that they will see her case for what it is, a miscarriage of justice. Finally after almost 24 years they review the facts of her unique case, and they determined that it was time to correct the wrong done to her and her family.  Unfortunately, the injustice did not end then, (Heidi can explain better what I mean by this). Now, she is living as a productive member of her community in Mexicali, Baja California and her children continue to visit her, the nightmare is not over yet.
Her children deserve to be reunited with their mother after more the 23 long years of pain and suffering.  As hard as it can be, the Governor should give back to her family their belief in what they thought America stood for “Liberty and Justice.”
Very truly yours,
Rosie M. Sanchez
P.S.  PERSONAL INFORMATION: (686) 556-4550 home .… (686) 243-7461 cell
SKYPE:  (RMA318201)


  1. Heath

    Cool blog!

    • Maria

      Thanks Heath for reading!


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