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Low Wages, High Gains: The Case For Keeping Illegal Immigrants Illegal 

This panel will look in to the legal and political reasons to limit access to citizenship to Latin American immigrants. The main focus of the panel will be the argument in favor of the preservation of the “status cuo” regarding illegal immigrants rights as a means to provide American employers with low-wage workers that do not represent a burden to state and federal aid programs. 

The panel seeks to deconstruct the misconceptions that create this argument and will provide an overview of the economic and legal effects that undocumented immigration has on the United States. Moreover the panel will provide alternatives to the current immigration legal structure that integrate and benefit from the influx of these workers. Finally this panel will look to the future of immigration policy in the United States and the challenges that might be faced by future generations as a result of maintaining the current policies regarding undocumented immigrants. 

Speakers and Topics:

Luz M. Molina: “Keeping illegal immigrants illegal-Overview of Employment practices regarding undocumented immigrants”

Ramona Fernandez: “Legal Rights afforded to immigrants under U.S. and Louisiana Laws”

Jimmy Huck: Recent history and status of anti-undocumented immigration legislation in the State of Louisiana


Too Much Of A Minority: Latin Women In The Affirmative Action Era 

Latinos continually are asked and encouraged to give information about their ethnicity. In an era were “diversity” is seen as an attractive company policy, Latin women are seen as the perfect double minority.  

This panel will reflect on the history and context of affirmative action towards the community of Latinas and the effects that it has had in putting Latinas in positions of power. Moreover, this panel will explore the possible backlash against Latinas by creating a double minority that might reinforce gender stereotypes and may provoke questions of merit towards this community. This in an effort to understand and improve affirmative action programs and raise questions about the necessity of these programs in this day and age. 

Speakers and Topics:

Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz- “Latinas in the Private Sector”

María Pabón López- “Latinas in Academia”

M. Isabel Medina- “Gender, Immigration and Constitutional Law”

Lt. Catherine Chiappetta- "A Latino advocate in the Armed Forces"


Food For Thought: Legal Challenges For Latino Entrepreneurship  

Latinos come to the United States of America with big dreams. The come ready to work and they strive to build businesses that bring a piece of their country to the United States.  

This panel will seek to inquire on the many hurdles that Latinos confront when they choose to pursue a business endeavor in The United States. To do this we will have three panelists that will give the audience their own experience as entrepreneurs and leaders of the Latino community.  These panelists will talk about legal, cultural and governmental challenges that are faced by Latinos entrepreneurs throughout the country. 

Speakers and Topics:

Darlene A. Kattan: “Una Latina en New Orleans”

Peter L. Cedeño- “Un Latino en Nueva York”

Carlos Adame- “Un Latino desde New Orleans hasta Latinoamerica”


To live the American Dream: Young Latinos and the Dream Act 

Some Latinos are too small to understand what it means to cross the border. They come with their families looking to live the American Dream and are forced out without regard to the ties they have made with friends, the education that was being given, and the overall effect that this expulsion would have on well being of the child. 

This panel will reflect on the psychological and legal effects that the immigration system imposes on Latin minors. Moreover, this panel will discuss the Dream Act and how it provides hard working young Latinos a way to stay in the United States and pursue the American Dream. This in turn will require our panelist to inquire on the motivations that have stalled the efforts to enact this legislation and the battles that lay ahead regarding the protection of young undocumented immigrants. 

Speakers and Topics:

Thomas Saenz: “The fight for the Dream”

Josh Bernstein: “To Envision the Dream”

Geoffrey Hoffman: “A Dream cut short”

Jose Torres-Don: “The DREAmer”


Rebuilding New Orleans: The Latino Community and the Post-Katrina Reconstruction Effort 

Recent polls suggest that the Latino community has grown exponentially since hurricane Katrina. Latinos have been active in the post-Katrina reconstruction efforts and have filled the gap that was left by the many New Orleanians that never returned.  

This panel will look at how this new rising minority has responded to the legal and cultural differences that come with migrating to a new home. These challenges go from animosity towards the new neighbors to the legal and governmental responses to the new community. More importantly, these challenges represent an example of the struggles that the Latino community has had throughout the country to find a voice and a home. 

Speakers and Topics:

Vanessa Spinazola: “Protecting immigrant rights in New Orleans”

Donna Santiago: “The new Latin sound of NOLA”

Mitchell F. Crusto: “Southern Hospitality: Latinos in New Orleans after the Storm”


The View From Up There: Latino Judges in the American Court System 

Latin American judges serving in United States Courts have a unique point of view and an important role in the Latino community. The number of Latino judges is relatively small and the need for a representative judiciary raises important questions about what should be looked at when appointing new judges. 

This panel will give the audience chance hear about the experiences, the challenges and the responsibilities that come from being a Latino in a robe for a United States Court. Moreover, this panel will discuss the ways in which the United States judiciary can be given a Latino voice that is proportional to the number of Latinos living in the United States. 

Speakers and Topics:

Justice Eva Guzmán: “A Latina in the highest court of the Lone Star State”

Judge Gloria M. Navarro- “The first Latina federal judge in the District of Nevada”


Puerto Rico: A Nation without a voice and a State without representation  

Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment is also an island that is plagued by more that 100 years of looking for an identity. An identity that is defined by its Spanish roots and the effects of the 1898 American occupation, an identity that mixes its Latin sounds and Spanish language with the overwhelming presence of American corporations and radio stations playing rock and roll. 

 In 1952 this identity was defined as a free-associated state, a mixture of autonomy and dependence that can best be described as an “arroz con pollo” (rice with chicken), which denotes the unclearness of this definition. For many, in 1952 the issue was resolved with the enactment of the new constitution but for others, there are questions of legitimacy and voluntariness in the process of choosing what would be the future of Puerto Rico that have lead some to declare Puerto Rico one of the last colonies of the world. 

This panel will approach the issue of the unresolved status of Puerto Rico. This will be done by looking at the historical context of the 1952 Constitutional transition and how it complies with public international law, as well as the constitutional law of the United States. Finally, the panelist will approach the issue of identity and integration of the Latin community to the American way of life and how Puerto Rico represents a failed or successful attempt at integration.  

Speakers and Topics: 

Adeno Addis: “A thin line between States and Colonies?”

Manuel Rodriguez Orellana- “A Nation without a voice”

Pedro Rosselló Gonzalez-  “A State without representation”


Between the lines: Introduction to LatCrit Workshop 

One year before Latina/o law students organized the first National Latina/o Law Student Conference, a diverse group of mostly Latina/o law professors organized the first annual conference of Latina & Latino Critical Legal Theory ("LatCrit"). Since then, LatCrit scholars have produced over twenty symposia volumes of critical outsider jurisprudence, charting a wide-ranging investigation into law, theory and culture across (and beyond) the Americas.  

Over the years, the NLLSA Conference has invited many scholars who affiliate with LatCrit to present on their multidimensional inquiries into Latina/o sociolegal conditions and those of other sociolegal “outsiders.” Guided by our shared principle of anti-subordination, the ILW will inform students about the origins and trajectories of LatCrit theory, community and praxis; demonstrate how critical outsider jurisprudence matters in particular investigations of international development and comparative, cross-cultural environmental justice issues in Latin America and the Caribbean; and demonstrate the array of student-oriented programs and research tools available online at http://www.latcrit.org. 


Colin Crawford

Marc-Tizoc González

Francisco Valdes


Diversity in the Legal Profession 

It is said the justice system is as just as the recourses that you have to gain access to it. Lawyers are the doorman’s of the justice system. Their education provides them the tools that are necessary to navigate the sea of words and the waves of paperwork that come with any effort to assure you rights in court. 

Diversity in the legal profession means that those lawyers understand and emphasize with their clients needs. Diversity also means representation in the justice system and the voice of every community in the courts of law. This panel will address the issue of diversity in the legal profession, the impact that it has on clients, on lawyers and on the law. The panel will also discuss the different aspects of diversity as it relates to the practice of law, such as in the areas of retention and recruitment, client development, etc. 


Frederick Rivera

Manuel Berrelez

Rear Admiral Nanette M. DeRenzi






















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