A fire within was ignited at a very early age when Veronica Beltran demonstrated for pro-immigration reform. It set her on a course of advocating for civil rights, knowing first hand the injustices that immigrants face. She is a Holland, Michigan, native and the proud daughter and granddaughter of immigrants from Mexico.
Beltran is also a first generation Latina graduate from Grand Valley State University earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish.
Throughout her undergraduate career at GVSU, Beltran became an established leader on campus. She was involved in multiple organizations and committees that included the Cesar E. Chavez, and the Hispanic Heritage Month committees, and was president of the Latino Student Union and her sorority Sigma Lamba Gamma.
She was also a founder and president for a newly formed group on campus known as Advocates For Immigration Reform. It was this organization that received the Best New Organization award from the Office of Student Life. Beltran also received the Thomas M. Seykora Award for Outstanding Contribution for her significant GVSU involvement.
With increased rhetoric during this political year, advocates such as Beltran are needed. She has become an established leader in the communities she has lived. In West Michigan she organized pro-immigration work by developing community events in Holland that educated immigrants on their legal rights. She has also registered citizens to vote, as well as helped educate them on candidates and proposals that are on the ballot. She did this while working as a paralegal for Avanti Law Group, a well-known immigration and criminal defense firm in Grand Rapids.
“I have been incredibly impressed with Veronica’s dedication to community service throughout West Michigan,” said Jessica Cruz, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Northern Michigan University. “I interact with students daily, yet, rarely do I encounter students with Veronica’s enthusiasm and commitment to advocacy and policy.” Cruz researched Beltran and her advocacy roles as part of her doctorate fulfillment requirements.
In 2015, Beltran accepted a position at the University of Detroit, where she is the International Admissions Counselor. She spends her weekends volunteering for Our Lady of Guadalupe in Flint, Michigan, during their water crisis. She learned undocumented immigrants were being denied water due to not having identification or social security numbers. She works with others who are committed to making sure all people receive access to clean water without fear of deportation.
Beltran’s lifelong goal is to be an immigration attorney to advocate through the legal system in an efficient manner. She plans to attend law school in the near future, all while educating, empowering and aiding members in her community on laws and government. Beltran firmly understands that through education and community organizing, necessary change can come to marginalized and oppressed communities.