Eighth Annual Harvard Latino Law and
Policy Conference and Commentary:
Connecting Today, Impacting Tomorrow
April 22–23, 2005
Panel 1: Immigration Post–September 11
Nicole Diaz: I would like to introduce our moderator, Al Kauffman,
currently with the Harvard Law School. He has a long history of work with
the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), including hav-
ing served as a staff attorney and regional counsel with MALDEF in San
Antonio. As a MALDEF attorney, he was lead attorney for low-income
families and low-wealth school districts in Texas school ªnance cases. He
was also a private practitioner in San Antonio and Dallas. He argued cases
before the Texas Supreme Court,1 and he has been an instrumental ªgure
in many advocacy efforts in that state.
He was extremely active as an advocate for civil rights issues before
the Texas legislature. He has received numerous awards from local, state,
and national civil rights and education groups, and was selected by Texas
Lawyer as one of the Ten Most Inºuential Lawyers in Texas. He will be
moderating our panel on one of the most important issues facing our com-
munity today, which is immigration, post–September 11.
Al Kauffman: This is a panel about immigration, and our job is to
try to summarize some of the major issues affecting Latinos.
We must examine the history of the relationship between the United
States and its immigrants. I call it one of approach/avoidance, because, so
many times in our history, this country has opened its arms to all immi-
grants, only to decide to expel them afterward. Many people were invited
into this country to work, and were subsequently repatriated when the econ-
omy went bad. Americans used immigrants to do their farm work, to do
their construction work, and to build their railroads, and then excluded them
when they no longer needed them, or when they found cheaper labor in the
form of a new immigrant group.
I want to provide some perspective on the issue of immigration and
its relationship to oth