California Governor Jerry Brown Signs First Part of California Dream Act

Contact: Zuraya Tapia-Hadley
Phone: (202) 223-4777

July 27, 2011

California Governor Jerry Brown Signs First Part of California DREAM Act

WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) applauds the California Assembly, Senate, and Governor Jerry Brown for approving the first of two bills of the California Dream Act. AB 130, which was signed into law by Governor Brown on Monday, July 25th, 2011, allows undocumented college students to receive privately funded scholarships to attend California public colleges and universities. Although the bill does not create a path to citizenship like the federal DREAM Act, it is an important step toward granting educational opportunities to students who were brought to the U.S. as children.

“California’s Dream Act is a comprehensive model for other states to emulate to better serve our country, which is founded on educational attainment,” said Diana Sen, HNBA President. “We salute California for setting an example of providing all students with equal learning opportunities, and encourage other states to advance these same American values.”

The second part of the California Dream Act, AB 131, would extend undocumented students’ access to public tuition aid, such as Cal Grants. HNBA urges Governor Brown, who has indicated that he is likely to favor this measure, to continue to show his support for the promising undocumented youth of California by allowing them to seek state-funded financial aid. HNBA also commends Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), author of the California Dream Act, for his leadership and determination in guiding these bills through the California legislature and working to ensure greater opportunities for immigrant youth.

2011-2012 Presidential Appointments Application Form

Dear HNBA Member,

As you know, each bar year the HNBA President appoints leaders to HNBA Standing and Special Committees, Commissions, Sections and Divisions.  For the 2011-2012 bar year, the online appointments application process is now open. We invite and encourage you or your HNBA affiliate organization to submit applicants for HNBA Presidential appointments.

Individual members of the HNBA, and state, local and specialty bar associations are encouraged to nominate themselves. Additionally, bar leaders should submit supporting nominations for their members, on behalf of the association. For affiliates, please evaluate your members wishing to nominate themselves, and those whom you anticipate nominating, to ascertain their qualifications and level of interest in areas for which they are applying.

Upon receipt of the applications, the HNBA will follow up with those individuals who have been submitted for consideration.  The more nominations and recommendations any one nominee receives, the stronger his or her application package to the appointments committee.

All recommendations must be made using the online application form. Recommendations must be made by Friday, August 5th, 2011 for consideration.

Hispanic National Bar Association Commends President Barack Obama for Nomination of Sarah Saldana as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas

Contact: Zuraya Tapia-Hadley
Phone: (202) 223-4777

June 29, 2011

Hispanic National Bar Association Commends President Barack Obama for Nomination of Sarah Saldaña as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas

WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) applauds President Barack H. Obama’s decision to nominate Sarah Saldaña to the post of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. She has not only been the top choice of Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) for this U.S. Attorney position, but her candidacy enjoys bipartisan support and the vocal support of legal and Latino organizations across the country. Highly merited, the HNBA has engaged in extensive and consistent advocacy efforts in support of her nomination for over a year.  Ms. Saldaña would be the first Latina chief prosecutor in Texas, and has demonstrated that her skills and experience will also make her one of the best U.S. Attorneys in the country.

Diana S. Sen, HNBA President, stated, “Ms. Saldana is the epitome of what a U.S. Attorney should be:  she not only possesses stellar qualifications and is well-respected in her profession, but she has the incredible judgment, commitment to the community and sense of justice necessary to serve the Northern District of Texas well.  We are particularly proud that Ms. Saldaña will soon serve as a U.S. Attorney, one of only a few Latino U.S. Attorneys who have ever served throughout the country.”

Ms. Saldaña is a career prosecutor who has demonstrated a commitment to public service and justice. For the last 25 years, Ms. Saldaña has distinguished herself as an exceptional litigator and prosecutor in the private and government sectors. She began her legal career in 1984 as a law clerk to the Honorable Barefoot Sanders of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Thereafter, Ms. Saldaña joined the law firm of Haynes and Boone, LLP in Dallas, Texas as an associate, working in the firm’s commercial and employment litigation practice groups.  Subsequently, she was a Partner with the law firm of Baker Botts, LLP, where she formed and managed the labor and employment practice group in the Dallas office.  Ms. Saldaña’s experience in the public sector is also noteworthy.  In 2004, she joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, where she currently serves as the Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of public corruption for the Northern District of Texas. She has prosecuted a variety of criminal cases on behalf of the United States. She was also appointed as the District Election Officer for the 2008 general elections, overseeing the handling of election fraud and voting rights abuses, prosecuting those offenses when they occurred. As a result of her exemplary service, she has been the recipient of performance-based awards every year since joining the United States Attorney’s Office in 2004.

Ms. Saldaña has also been deeply dedicated to community service for many years.  She is a member of the Dallas Bar Association where she has served on the Judiciary Committee, Federal Judiciary Complaint Committee, and the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Committee.  She is a member of the William Mac Taylor Inn of Court, the Dallas and Texas Bar Foundations, and a past member of the Southern Methodist University Law Alumni Association Council.  From 1989 to 1991 she was appointed to the City of Dallas Zoning Board of Adjustment by Mayor Annette Straus.  In addition, she has taught legal research and writing methods at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.

Sarah Saldaña has been uniformly praised as a very able lawyer and as a very respectful and fair prosecutor.  It is clear that she has a strong reputation for integrity and fairness as well as strong professional skills, and that her appointment as United States Attorney is well-received by members of the defense bar as well as other prosecutors and judges. Diana Sen noted, “President Obama’s nomination of Sarah Saldaña is another example of his commitment to have exceptional legal professionals in his administration, as well as of his commitment to ensure that the composition of his administration reflects that of the United States of America.”

2011 HNBA Elections – Meet the Candidates!

President-Elect Candidates:
Sean Andrade (Los Angeles, CA)
Peter M. Reyes, Jr. (Minneapolis, MN)
Vice President of Regions Candidates:
Karina Ayala-Bermejo (Chicago, IL)
Miguel A. Pozo (Roseland, NJ)
Vice President of Programs Candidate:
Lawrence Valdivieso (Los Angeles, CA)
Vice President of External Affairs Candidates:
Celeste Villarreal (Austin, TX)
Mauro Wolfe (Mountainside, NJ)
Vice President of Sections and Committees Candidate:
Cynthia Mares (Denver, CO)
Vice President of Membership Candidates:
Elia Diaz-Yaeger (New Orleans, LA)
Liz M. Lopez (Washington, DC)
Secretary Candidates:
Maria Fernandez-Williams (Briarcliff Manor, NY)

Christina Vigil (Albuquerque, NM)
Region I (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT):
Rene Ortega
Region III (NJ):
Anna Maria Tejada
Region V (DC, MD, VA, WV):
Daniel D. Santos
Juan M. Sempertegui
Region VII (AL, GA, MS):
Region IX (IL, IN, MI, WI):

Leopoldo Lastre

Region XI (IA, MN, MO, ND, SD):
Melisa Lopez Franzen
Region XIII (CO, KS, NE, WY):
Meshach Rhoades
Region XV (NM, UT):
Roxie P. Rawls- De Santiago
Region XVII (Northern CA, HI):
Helen Santana
  • Candidate Statement
  • Endorsements
Region XIX (Puerto Rico):          Vacant

**Regional Presidents from HNBA Regions II, IV, VI, VIII, X, XII, XIV, XVI, and XVIII are not up for election this year.

U.S. Senate Confirms Jimmie V. Reyna, Esq. as Circuit Judge; First Latino to Serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


Contact: Zuraya Tapia-Hadley
Phone: (202) 223-4777

April 4, 2011

U.S. Senate Confirms Jimmie V. Reyna, Esq. as Circuit Judge;
First Latino to Serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Washington, D.C. – By a vote of 86-0, this afternoon the Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Jimmie V. Reyna to serve as a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Mr. Reyna will be the first Latino to serve on the CAFC.  The CAFC has nationwide jurisdiction of appeals arising from federal district courts, the Court of International Trade, the U.S. Court of Claims, and a variety of agencies involving a number of subject matter areas, including international trade, government contracts, patents, trademarks, and certain money claims against the United States government.  Mr. Reyna is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Williams Mullen.  He is a Vice President on the firm’s board of directors and directs the firm’s International Trade and Customs Practice Group.  Mr. Reyna is a former National President of the HNBA.

Mr. Reyna is a recognized expert in international trade, trade policy and customs matters.  He has over three decades of legal experience and 24 years as an international trade practitioner. The Senate today recognized that Mr. Reyna is extraordinarily well-qualified to serve on the CAFC bench. He is a noted and prolific author on trade topics and has earned a stellar reputation as a practitioner, scholar, advocate and humanitarian.

Diana Sen, HNBA National President, noted that “this is a great day for America for it has gained the service and commitment of a great lawyer and leader.   The HNBA is proud that Mr. Reyna has been confirmed to the CAFC and we all take a moment to reflect on the positive message the confirmation sends to the Latino community and the entire legal profession.”

Mr. Reyna’s record stands as a model of a life of hard work, dedication, and service to the bar and society. A native of Clovis, New Mexico, Mr. Reyna was born to parents of modest means.  He attended the University of Rochester, the University of New Mexico School of Law, and began his career as a litigator in Albuquerque where he handled insurance defense, domestic relations, civil rights, tort, and criminal defense matters. In 1986, he and his wife, Dolores, moved their family to the Washington, D.C. area, driven to meet the needs of the eldest of their sons who is autistic.  In Washington, Mr. Reyna began to build the distinguished career in international trade law that underlies his nomination to the bench.

Mr. Reyna has a solid record of service to the legal profession and the community.  He served on numerous leadership positions in the American Bar Association (ABA) and the HNBA, culminating with his service as HNBA National President (2006-2007).  As HNBA President, he strengthened the organization by establishing “La Promesa en el Derecho” (the Promise in the Law), a guide and program directed to Latino youth and designed to instill trust and confidence in U.S. government and legal institutions.  In addition, he established the HNBA’s substantive law structure of Sections and Committees; he implemented the “Breakfast at the HNBA” series; he created and established the Office of HNBA Historian; he created and implemented HNBA Legislative Day; he established the HNBA’s first formal LGBT Committee; and he founded and served as Senior Editor-in-Chief of the HNBA Journal of Law and Policy. He established an incredible record of service with the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, an umbrella organization serving 30 national Latino organizations.  His service in the ABA has included the ABA Presidential Commission on Diversity, as a founder and Director of the U.S.-Mexico Law Institute; and as a leader within the ABA Section on International Law.  For over ten years, Mr. Reyna has been a director of Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children, of Maryland. He has mentored many lawyers and law students over his 30-year career, many of whom serve throughout America in exceptional careers. In 2009, the Government of Mexico honored Mr. Reyna with its Ohtli Award, one of its highest honors, in recognition of his contributions to opening pathways for the Mexican-American and Latino communities in the United States.

The HNBA is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership organization that represents the interests of the more than 100,000 attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, and law students of Hispanic descent in the United States and its territories.  For more information about the HNBA, please visit


HNBA Commends the Confirmation of The Honorable Mary H. Murguia to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) applauds the Senate confirmation of the Honorable Mary H. Murguia to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Diana S. Sen, HNBA National President, noted that “The HNBA is thrilled that Judge Murguia has been confirmed and looks forward to her work on the U.S. Court of Appeals.  Her compelling personal history and accomplished career make her a role model for the Association.  Her exceptional record and her commitment to public service will make her an excellent Judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Judge Murguia attended the University of Kansas, where she received both a B.A. and a B.S., and later a law degree. She has devoted her entire career to public service, including serving as Assistant District Attorney in the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office, which serves Kansas City, Kansas.  She then served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Arizona.

In 1994, Judge Murguia was appointed Criminal Deputy Chief in charge of the Violent Crime Section in the District of Arizona.  There, she handled a significant caseload, trained attorneys, supervised the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, and was responsible for consulting and staffing major prosecutions, including areas such as domestic terrorism, capital murder, civil rights, the Violence Against Women Act, the Child Support Recovery Act, and gang and juvenile matters.

In 1998, she joined the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, where she became Director in 1999.  In 2000, she became the first Latina federal judge in Arizona.