In the summer of 2000, Justino and his family immigrated to the United States to find refuge from extreme poverty and domestic violence. He defied the odds by becoming the first member in his family to graduate from high school with high honors and attend college. It was in community college where Justino decided to become involved in student organizations and the immigrant rights movement.
Justino began organizing with IDEAS at Mt. San Antonio College, an undocumented student support group, and eventually with the CA Dream Network (CDN) and CHIRLA. Justino served in the Steering Committee of the CDN and helped lead and organize the statewide campaign to pass the CA Dream Act in 2011. Through his involvement in the CA Dream Network, Justino worked with other national leaders and organizations to push for the passage of the Federal DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform. In 2012, Justino played an important role in the “Right to Dream” campaign that proved pivotal in pressuring the Obama Administration to grant deferred action to undocumented youth. Justino worked as CHIRLA‘s Online Coordinator for about a year and helped plan and develop CHIRLA’s Dream Center – an in-house center that assists DACA-eligible youth apply for deferred action.
In May 2013, Justino was one of seven immigrant rights activists who were invited to share their story and discuss immigration reform with President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office. Justino also participated in the FWD.us DREAMer Hackathon and DEBUG DC Growathathon in November 2013 and June 2014, respectively. At these two hackathons Justino shared his story and ideas on how to use technology to push for immigration reform with several Silicon Valley leaders including Mark Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman, and Drew Houston. He co-founded Push4Reform and Text4Reform, two web and text-messaging platforms that allow people to contact their representatives and engage in online advocacy to push for immigration reform.