Keynote speaker John Amaya with award recipients Ali Boyd, Mariela Galeazzi, and Adrian Alvarez.

21st Annual Hispanic Law Conference Touches on Progress, Challenges in the Latinx Community

April 20, 2018

Students, faculty, and distinguished guest speakers from the Latinx community came together Thursday, April 19 at American University Washington College of Law for the 21st Annual Hispanic Law Conference.

The annual event convenes a distinctive mix of leaders who are devoted to the advancement of, and justice for, Latinx in the U.S. and abroad. The conference was presented in partnership with the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia (HBA-DC), Maryland (MHBA), Latino/a Alumni Association of the Washington College of Law (LAAW), and Latino/a Law Students’ Association (LaLSA).

Prior to the conference’s LAAW annual meeting and election, a group of prominent guest panelists participated in “A Midterm Assessment of Latino/a Progress,” moderated by Sherley Cruz, Practitioner-in-Residence of AUWCL’s Civil Advocacy Clinic.

Panelists included Valeria Carranza, deputy chief of staff and legislative director to Representative Adriano Espaillat and former executive director of the House Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Claudia Flores, campaign manager for the The Center for American Progress; Jackie Reyes, executive office of DC.. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Office of Latino Affairs; and Eduardo Soto, director of the The Raben Group.

During the discussion, panelists spoke about how initiatives from the current administration are impacting the Latinx community, particularly as they relate to immigration policy and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  

    “When (DACA) was terminated, it threw the lives of nearly 1 million young immigrants into complete disruption.”

    Claudia Flores, campaign manager for the The Center for American Progress

    “Our data shows that more than 90 percent of these DACA recipients are currently employed or in school, so it’s a program that has been beneficial not just to the beneficiaries themselves, but to the families where DACA beneficiaries are the primary source of income,” Flores said. “When that program was terminated, it threw the lives of nearly 1 million young immigrants into complete disruption.”

    But as the panelists noted, Latinx progress is being made, especially within the political landscape.

    “Last Congress, we had 26 Democratic Hispanic members of Congress,” Carranza said. “Now we have 31, including two former undocumented members. So that’s a big headway right there.”

    Keynote speaker John Amaya, partner of Berliner Corcoran & Row LLP, addressed the crowd during Hispanic Law Conference Awards Dinner. Amaya’s work focuses on representing corporations, individuals and foreign governments with government investigations and enforcement actions, internal investigations, crisis management and Congressional matters, all with an emphasis on homeland security, immigration, foreign corruption, and foreign sovereign immunity. Prior to Berliner Corcoran & Rowe LLP, Amaya worked within the Department of Homeland Security and served as Deputy Chief of Staff at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He has also served in leadership positions at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Council of La Raza.

    AUWCL congratulates the following Hispanic Law Conference award winners:

    • The Goldman-Grossman Award – Mariela Galeazzi
    • The Edward Bou Alumni Award – Adrian Alvarez
    • Premio Solidaridad – Judge Carlos F. Acosta
    • Premio Inspiración – Ali Boyd