I am privileged to serve as Chair of the Hispanic Issues Section for the 2017-2018 year. It is an honor to welcome you as members and I look forward to our joint work on enhancing the profession for Hispanic lawyers and improving the community for Hispanics in our state.
This year has been tumultuous for our community in a variety of ways. There have been raids that have imposed fear and resulted in tearing apart families in immigrant communities throughout the state, the DACA program was terminated and notarios continue to use this fear to take advantage of these vulnerable people. Most recently, we have also seen the devastating effect of Harvey on families, neighborhoods and entire cities in its destructive path.
Through these times, there are leaders all around us who have stepped up and we have seen the best in people who strive to make a difference. Local programs, including the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, are helping DACA applicants who risk deportation. In the past weeks, the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston came to the rescue of a couple of hundred immigrants who were being evicted during the aftermath of Harvey. Last month, Past-Chair Benny Agosto Jr. and the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas’ Foundation and Mexican American Bar Association of Houston hosted its 12th Annual Scholarship Luncheon benefitting law students from the 3 Houston law schools. The Hispanic Issues Section, under Past-Chair Manuel Escobar, has worked in conjunction with other partners on the Notario Fraud Prevention Project to deal with the impact that notario fraud has on vulnerable communities. These are but a few examples of Hispanic lawyers leading the way on critical issues.
We have much to be proud of as a section and as a community. This coming year, the Hispanic Issues Section will continue our efforts to work with local Hispanic bars and lawyers to make a difference. We plan on going across the state from El Paso to Laredo, from Corpus Christi to Houston to meet with you and work on collective efforts that enhance our profession and the great state that we call home.
Betty Balli Torres
Chair, Hispanic Issues Section