Hispanic National Bar Association

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The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) represents interests of Hispanic legal professionals in the United States and Puerto Rico. The HNBA is also committed to advocating for issues important to Latinos. Pedro Jaime Torres-Diaz, president of the HNBA talks to us about the organization.

JOSE: THE HISPANIC NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION: "HNBA" REPRESENTS THE INTERESTS OF HISPANIC LEGAL PROFESSIONALS IN THE UNITED STATES AND PUERTO RICO. THE "HNBA" IS ALSO COMMITED TO ADOVCATING FOR ISSUES IMPORTANT TO LATINOS. JOINING ME TO TALK MORE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION IS PEDRO JAIME TORRES-DIAZ, PRESIDENT OF THE HISPANIC NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION. PEDRO, WELCOME TO "HORIZONTE" AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA. YOU HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE. YOU ARE HERE FOR A MEETING OF ONE OF YOUR SISTER BARS; IS THAT RIGHT?

PEDRO JAIME TORRES-DIAZ: THAT IS CORRECT. THE NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION IS ONE OF THE ORGANIZATIONS OF COLOR.

JOSE: AS I UNDERSTAND IT, THE COALITION GETS TOGETHER EVERY YEAR AND CONSIDERS RESOLUTIONS OF COMMON INTEREST A NUMBER OF WHICH MORE RECENTLY HAVE TOUCHED ON ISSUES THAT ARE AT-LARGE IN THE NATION INCLUDING IMMIGRATION. TELL US ABOUT THAT.

PEDRO JAIME TORRES-DIAZ: THAT IS CORRECT. ONCE A YEAR WE GET TOGETHER IN WASHINGTON, D.C. TO DISCUSS ISSUES OF INTEREST TO EACH BAR ORGANIZATION AND WE SHARE IT WITH THE OTHER BAR ASSOCIATIONS IN THE HOPES WE CAN ADOPT SOLUTIONS ON THOSE ISSUES AS A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE FOUR BAR ASSOCIATIONS. THIS YEAR WE FOCUS ON THREE MAIN ISSUES. DIVERSITY AND JUDICIARY, PERCEIVED AND ACTUALLY INCREASING HATE CRIMES AND THE IMMIGRATION ISSUES AS WELL.

JOSE: SPEAKING OF THE JUDICIARY, YOU BECAME PRESIDENT IN SEPTEMBER DURING THE MIDST OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN AND THE ORGANIZATION HAD AN OCCASION TO WEIGH IN ONCE, MAYBE MORE, ON CANDIDATE STATEMENTS ABOUT JUDGES. WHAT DOES THE ORGANIZATION DO?

PEDRO JAIME TORRES-DIAZ: MY PREDECESSOR WAS DURING HIS TERM, CANDIDATE TRUMP ISSUED VERY DEROGATORY STATEMENT ABOUT THE JUDGE AND WE ISSUED A CONDEMNING STATEMENT AT THE TIME. WE COULD NOT ACCEPT THE FACT THAT CANDIDATE TRUMP WOULD QUESTION A JUDGE'S ABILITY TO DO HIS JOB, A JOB FOR WHICH HE WAS SWORN, JUST BECAUSE OF HIS MEXICAN HERITAGE. MORE RECENTLY, PRESIDENT TRUMP MADE COMMENTS ABOUT A FEDERAL JUDGE IN SEATTLE. THE FEDERAL JUDGE THAT ISSUED THE INJUNCTION ON THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL BAN BY CALLING HIM A SO-CALLED JUDGE. WE ISSUED A STATEMENT ALSO CONDEMNING THE ATTACK. HE IS AN ARTICLE THREE JUDGE. NOT A SO-CALLED JUDGE. HE BELONGS TO AN EQUAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT AND THEY DESERVE MUTUAL RESPECT.

JOSE: SPEAKING OF THE THREE BRANCHES, WE ARE WAITING CONFIRMATION OF JUDGE GORSUCH FOR THE SUPREME COURT. WHAT IS THE HNBA'S POSITION ON JUDGE GORSUCH?

PEDRO JAIME TORRES-DIAZ: THE HNBA CONDUCTED A THOROUGH REVIEW OF THE JUDGE'S QUALIFICATIONS AND THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS ADOPTED A STATEMENT IN WHICH WE INDICATE GRAVE CONCERNS FOR GORSUCH'S ABILITY TO CONSIDER THE IMPACT HIS DECISIONS HAVE ON THE COMMUNITY. WE DO COMMEND THE JUDGE FOR HIS EXPERIENCE AND FOUND HE MEETS OR EXCEEDS CERTAIN CRITERIA SUCH AS INDIVIDUAL TEMPERAMENT, PROFESSIONALISM, AND SCHOLARSHIP. HOWEVER, WE HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT HIS LESS THAN VIBRANT RECORD IN PARTICIPATION WITH COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS THAT FOSTER AND PROMOTE ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE TO LATINO COMMUNITIES.

JOSE: IT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE AN ENDORSEMENT?

PEDRO JAIME TORRES-DIAZ: WE DO NOT ENDORSE JUDGE GORSUCH BUT WE DON'T OPPOSE EITHER.

JOSE: I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IMMIGRATION. THE ORGANIZATION ESTABLISHED AN IMMIGRATION DEFENSE FUND. TELL US ABOUT THAT.

PEDRO JAIME TORRES-DIAZ: WHEN PRESIDENT TRUMP ISSUED THE TRAVEL BAN AND EXECUTIVE ORDER, WE EXPRESSED GRAVE CONCERN WITH THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE ORDERER AND TOOK ACTION RATHER THAN WORDS AND CREATED AN IMMIGRANT LEGAL DEFENSE TASK FORCE WHICH IS TASKED WITH ANALYZING THE LEGALITY OF THE ORDERS AND GATHER AND PROVIDE RESOURCES TO OUR MEMBERS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN PROVIDING LEGAL ASSISTANCE AFFECTED BY THE ORDERS. WE CREATED AN IMMIGRANT LEGAL DEFENSE FUND THAT IS TASKED WITH COLLECTING DONATIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND THE FUNDS ARE DISTRIBUTED TO LAWYERS AROUND THE COUNTRY WHO APPLY TO HELP DEFRAY THE COST OF THE LEGAL DEFENSE FOR INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED BY THESE ORDERS.

JOSE: THE 2015 CONVENTION WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HERE AND CANCELED BECAUSE OF SB1070?

PEDRO JAIME TORRES-DIAZ: YES AND SB 1062.

JOSE: IT IS RETURNING?

PEDRO JAIME TORRES-DIAZ: I ENCOURAGE THE CITY TO SUBMIT BIDS.

JOSE: ON A POSITIVE NOTE, THANK YOU SO MUCH. THAT'S OUR SHOW FOR TONIGHT.

Pedro Jaime Torres-Diaz: President of HNBA

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