Professor Motomura to be Honored by National Lawyers Guild

May 3, 2016 – Hiroshi Motomura, Susan Westerberg Prager Professor of Law, will be honored by the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild at a dinner on Sunday, June 12, 2016 in Pasadena.  Professor Motomura is a core faculty member of UCLA School of Law’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Critical Race Studies Program. 

An influential teacher and scholar of immigration and citizenship law, Professor Motomura has been active for over two decades in efforts to expand legal services and to foster other rule of law initiatives on behalf of immigrants. He is one of the co-founders and current directors of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), based in Denver, which secures legal representation in immigration proceedings for indigent immigrants, including many children, and he is the Vice Chair of the Board of the Directors of the National Immigration Law Center.

Professor Motomura has been part of the litigation team in several landmark court cases, and his scholarship has directly shaped key immigrants’ rights advocacy initiatives; his analysis of statutory interpretation has been at the core of advocacy strategies and court decisions that have expanded the rights of non-citizens.  His work on the role of police discretion in immigration law has played a key role in setting bounds on state and local involvement in immigration enforcement. He was also a part of the team that shaped and persuaded President Obama to adopt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative in 2012 and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) in 2014.

In addition, Professor Motomura has testified before the U.S. Congress and served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration. He is the author of several books, including Immigration Outside the Law, which won the Association of American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) Award in 2015 as the year’s best book in Law and Legal Studies. His book, Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States, won the same PROSE Award in 2006 and was chosen by the U.S. Department of State for its Suggested Reading List for Foreign Service Officers. 

The National Lawyers Guild will also honor UCLA School of Law alumna, Julia Vazquez ’10, at its 2016 Awards dinner.  A member and officer of the Board of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Professor Vazquez is a teacher of immigration law and supervising attorney for the Southwestern Law School Immigration Clinic.  She studied with Professor Motomura and is an alumna of UCLA School of Law’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Critical Race Studies program.   

Other National Lawyers Guild honorees for 2016 include the activist movement against police violence, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, and criminal defense attorney John Raphling, who specializes in representing political activists.