Sandra Sanchez, director of AFSC's Iowa Immigrants Voice Program, is an immigrant from Mexico and has lived in Iowa since 1991. She worked in the private sector in Mexico City for 11 years. Her immigrant experience prompted her to shift interests to social justice issues. Mrs. Sanchez worked for the Des Moines School District and the Des Moines Family Violence Center before she became the director of the Immigrants Voice Program for AFSC in 1995.
In 2000, she attained accreditation by the Board of Immigration Appeals to provide legal immigration advice. Her innovative ideas toward the successful integration of immigrants in the U.S. prompted organizers from the European Union to invite her to speak at the first Round Table of Migration in 2003. Sandra co-founded the Iowa Immigrant Rights Network, the Latino Political Agenda, and other grassroots efforts; she has been appointed by three governors to serve at the Latino Affairs Commission & the Iowa Public Safety Commission. She currently serves at the Polk County Sheriff’s Citizens Advisory Committee, and is a founder board member of the Latina Leadership Initiative of Greater Des Moines, the only cultural and gender specific program and curriculum by and for Latinas in Iowa. She is one of few Latinas on the Women’s Wall of Fame of the State of Iowa as well as the 2014 recipient of the Passport to Prosperity Award from the Iowa International Center, among many other awards for her long history advocating for social justice and immigrants and refugees’ integration.