The Benson Latin American Collection

Political Asylum Project of Austin (PAPA) Records

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Political Asylum Project of Austin
Title: Political Asylum Project of Austin (PAPA) Records
Dates: 1987-2002
Abstract: Organizational files, publications, and related materials reflect the activities of the Political Asylum Project of Austin (PAPA). Established in 1988, PAPA, now called American Gateways, is an organization that works to provide legal services and education to refugees and immigrants in Central Texas.
Accession No.: 2004-13
Extent: 10 linear inches
Language: English, Spanish
Repository: Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin

Administrative History

The Political Asylum Project of Austin/Proyecto de Asilo PolĂ­tico de Austin (PAPA) started in 1988 as a volunteer organization, and remained largely staffed by students, lawyers, and community volunteers for about a decade. The original mission was to promote the human rights of refugees and immigrants in Central Texas through legal representation, public education, and advocacy. A 1989 grant from the National Sanctuary Defense Fund to PAPA via the Friends Meeting of Austin enabled PAPA to hire its first employee and director for fifteen years, Nidia Salamanca. The second grant, from the Texas Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) in 1990, enabled PAPA to hire its second employee (and first paid lawyer), Cynthia Leigh. In 2008 the organization voted to change its name to "American Gateways."

Resource: American Gateways (formerly PAPA) web site at

Scope and Contents Note

Legal documents, correspondence, financial records, minutes, rosters, newsletters, and newspaper clippings, 1987-2002 (7 linear inches), reflect the founding and activities of the Political Asylum Project of Austin (PAPA). The first series, Administrative, is arranged chronologically, and illustrates the growth of the organization over its first 15 years. This series includes incorporation records from the Immigration Resource Center. Other organizational materials include the legal documents of PAPA's founding, items from the Board of Directors, and office files. The second series, Publications, includes copies of PAPA's newsletter, Noticiero PAPA, various outreach materials, and newspaper and journal articles about PAPA and the immigration issues that their organization helps to resolve.

The 2010 Additions include a copy of the PAPA bylaws, notes, newsletters, and some citizenship application training material as well as a video of the one hundred citizenship exam questions.


I. Administrative
Immigration Resource Center
Board of Immigration Appeals
Board of Directors
Office Files
II. Publications


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Standard copyright restrictions apply.

Index Terms

The PAPA Records are classified under the following Subject Headings:
Political Asylum Project of Austin.
Emmigration and Immigration--United States.
Refugees, Political--United States.
Asylum, Right of.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Political Asylum Project of Austin Records, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Box and Folder Inventory

I. Administrative

Box Folder
1 1 Immigration Resource Center (San Antonio), 1987-1989
2 Incorporation status, 1990-1995
3 Non-profit status, 1990-2002
4 Tax exemption application, 1990-1991
Board of Immigration Appeals
5 Organization accreditation, 1994
6 Representative accreditation, 2001
7 Accreditation materials, 1993
Board of Directors
8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1990-1997
9 Rosters and duties, 1988-1997
10 Statements of interest, 1989, undated
11 Fundraising/Finance commitee, 1990-1993
12 Assorted committees, 1990-1993
Office Files
13 Correspondence, 1989-1997
14 Financial records, 1989-2002
15 Forms, 1996

II. Publications

Box Folder
2 1 Noticiero PAPA, 1989-2001
2 Outreach, 1990-1993, undated
3-4 Articles on PAPA, 1989-1998

III. 2010 Additions

Box Folder
2 5 "Basic Guide to Human Services in Austin (1994-1995)" compiled by ALLGO/Informe SIDA Office of Minority Health and PAPA, 1995
6 Citizenship application training manual for volunteers, circa 1995
7 "Hispanos Unidos: Directorio de Asistencia Legal, Social, y Cultural para los Inmigrantes Hispanoamericanos en Austin, Texas," 1995 enero
8 Noticiero PAPA newsletter and other informational documents, 1991, undated
9 Raymond, Virginia files, PAPA bylaws, and notes, 1996, 1999, undated
10 Texas Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (TIRC) newsletter, 2000
11 "Citizenship: The 100 Questions," circa 2002
VHS tape