UHV to host lecture, film screening about illegal immigration reform

Editor's Note: The lecture and film screening with Jesus Nebot has been rescheduled for Sept. 26.

When Jesús Nebot came to the University of Houston-Victoria in September to talk with students about illegal immigration reform, Margaret Rice knew that more people needed to hear him speak.

Jesús Nebot

That was a major reason why UHV has invited Nebot back to give a presentation for the UHV Provost’s Lecture Series. Nebot, an inspirational speaker, filmmaker and entrepreneur, will present “Illegal Immigration Crisis: Perspectives and Solutions” at noon April 18 in the UHV University North Multi-Purpose Room, 3007, N. Ben Wilson St. Crossroads Progressive Voices is co-sponsoring the lecture.

“Mr. Nebot is one of the best speakers I’ve heard on the topic of immigration,” said Rice, UHV’s special assistant to the provost. “He is engaging and provides historical, economic, political and humanitarian perspectives. He’s going to present enlightening data and some common-sense solutions.”

His visit will conclude with a showing of Nebot’s film, “No Turning Back,” at 6:30 p.m. in the UHV University North Kay and Ron Walker Auditorium. A discussion will accompany the screening. Both the lecture and film are free and open to the public.

Margaret Rice

“Illegal immigration is a hot-button topic that has generated a great deal of heated discussion in South Texas and beyond, particularly in this election year,” said Jeffrey Cass, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Part of the objective of the Provost’s Lecture Series is to examine important issues and look into potential solutions. I’m pleased Mr. Nebot will share his viewpoints and experiences with the UHV community. I’m sure he’ll do a great job leading this discussion and give us plenty to think about.”

In his youth, Nebot was an undocumented immigrant working in the fields. Now, he is an award-winning filmmaker and inspirational speaker. He has spoken to educational, cultural, nonprofit, business and civic organizations in 10 countries. His mission is to inspire personal and social healing and transformation.

Nebot was invited to Victoria in September for a Hispanic Heritage Month event organized by the UHV Diversity Council. Michael Wilkinson, director of UHV Student Life & Services, said Nebot spoke in depth about illegal immigration reform

Jeffrey Cass

“His perspectives were engaging and brought a unique perspective to the topic that connected with our students,” Wilkinson said. “He has experienced many things personally and professionally in his life that have influenced his ideas and beliefs, and his passion shines through when he speaks.”

Nebot will share facts about the origin and history of illegal immigration and its current economic and social impacts in the U.S. He also plans to discuss effective, comprehensive and long-lasting solutions that people can implement in their communities to make a difference. Rice said Nebot has a list of common sense solutions he will share with the audience.

Nebot said audience members will have an opportunity to voice opinions about immigration reform and find out what politicians and newscasters are avoiding telling the public about illegal immigration.

Michael Wilkinson

“There’s a lot of polarization about illegal immigration based on inaccurate facts, and we don’t need any more divisiveness,” Nebot said before his visit to UHV in September. “What we need is to look at the root causes that are creating this massive influx of people and work collectively to prevent this situation. As an educator, I help people examine these causes and empower them to choose humanitarian solutions.”

“No Turning Back” narrates the story of Pablo, a Honduran teacher who, after losing his wife and home to Hurricane Mitch, illegally immigrated to the U.S. in an attempt to offer a better future for his 5 year-old daughter Cristina. The movie was inspired by actual events. Nebot wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film, which was picked up for distribution by Universal. The movie trailer can be viewed at

“It’s a thought-provoking film with a surprising and heartwarming ending,” Rice said. “I’m eager to hear him talk about the film afterward.”

The Provost’s Lecture Series began as part of the university’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2013 as a way to bring more opportunities for scholarly discussion to UHV. Previous lectures have included discussions about civil rights leader Casey Hayden, life and politics in South Africa, and Texas before the Alamo. The series continued earlier this school year when Sandra Spencer, a professor and director of women’s and gender studies at University of North Texas, discussed human trafficking in Texas.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro