Written by attorney Thomas Esparza Jr.

Thomas Esparza & Jacqueline L. Watson, immigration law specialists Austin, Introduction

Thomas Esparza, Jr. has been a Board Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law since October of 1985.

He became interested in immigration law in 1977 as a court appointed defense lawyer. Then INS would place "holds" on aliens in jail on any criminal case. He became familiar with the immigration benefits available to prevent deportation, and in dealing with the insecurities and fears of the aliens trying to obtain residency. With the encouragement and tutelage of fellow immigration attorney Adan Vega of Houston, himself a pioneer in the field, he became a specialist in immigration and nationality law.

Thomas, a Board Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law since 1985, graduated from Texas A & M University in 1974 and the University of Texas School of Law in 1977. A former high school teacher and Travis County Justice of the Peace, He has been a sole practitioner until last year, a member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association since 1980, and a past Chairman of the Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico AILA Chapter. He is also a Oak Hill Youth Sports Association manager and coach. He is especially thankful for the guidance and support of my mentors in the field; Laurier McDonald, Robert “Bob" Shivers, Harry Gee, Harry Joe, Charles Foster and Lionel Perez. The son of the late Dr. Thomas Esparza, Sr. and Esther LaMadrid Esparza of Edinburg, Texas, I dedicate my life’s work in thanks for raising me and providing me with the tools for success. With mom, we publish adult and children’s books and music at I thank my wife Minerva and three children, Alex and twins Helena & Carina for their patience and support in my career.

It took a long time to find her but in reflection we were meant to practice law under the same roof. Jackie Watson brings an unbridled passion for immigration law that I have not found in many lawyers. I am proud to say we are associated in this time of increasing challenges to immigrants. Together with my paralegals, April, Maria, Minerva, Virginia and Mayra our goal is to be the best legal team in Central Texas. Together we take on the “rompe cabezas" that we encounter daily.

Jacqueline L. Watson is a native of El Paso and proud alum of the University of Texas at El Paso. She earned her J.D. at the University of Texas School of Law, where she studied immigration law under the tutelage of the incomparable Barbara Hines. After years as a public interest attorney, she joined the firm of Hines & Leigh in 2004, during which time she became Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law. Jacqueline is now an associate with the Law Office of Thomas Esparza, Jr. in Austin, Texas, and is still having the time of her life practicing immigration law.

Thomas salutes the work of one pioneer in the immigration field in particular; Laurier B. McDonald who recently retired and is living in Edinburg, Texas. When I was young, thin and just starting out in the field of immigration law, Laurier took me under his wing and “showed me the ropes." Laurier remains an inspiration to me and to countless other immigration lawyers throughout Texas and the world.

He honors my late father, Dr. Thomas Esparza, who inspired me, taught me and coached me to be the best as what ever I attempt in life. Dad taught me not to quit, and that it was not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."

Dr. Thomas Esparza 1921-2001,

“a gentleman and a scholar,

a leader and a coach"

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