The ABA’s commemoration of National Hispanic Heritage Month included a program held on Oct. 9 that examined rule of law challenges surrounding the global forced migration crisis. “When People Flee: Rule of Law and Forced Migration” was held at the law offices of Reed Smith LLP in San Francisco.
Panelists included Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; international human rights lawyer Roxanna Altholz; Raquel Aldana, U.C. Davis Law professor; Laura Farber, chair of the ABA Latin American Council; and Victor M. Marquez, chair of the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Commission (SOGI). The program was sponsored by the ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities in partnership with the Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI) and SOGI.
Today’s level of migration — approximately 258 million migrants worldwide were on the move in 2017 — endangers lives and raises urgent rule of law questions. Marquez said the takeaways from the panel discussion included a better understanding of:
- the situation in Central America and in Mexico and the factors causing individuals and families to leave their home countries.
- ROLI’s work in Latin America.
- volunteer opportunities for lawyers in Latin America and the U.S. to promote and protect the rule of law and to help migrants.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 and recognizes the important contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States.
ABA President Bob Carlson said the ABA and its Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities is working to advance justice in the Hispanic community. “We’re developing tools to ensure access to justice for Spanish speakers and we’re proud to recognize the Hispanic community’s contributions to our society and the legal profession,” Carlson said.