Miami – On March 7, 2013, Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) and about 500 hundred guests gathered for its 17th Annual Dinner: Dare to Dream. Keynote speaker San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro moved the crowd with his family’s own immigration story and the importance of comprehensive immigration reform. “Unlike some folks in D.C., I don’t have the luxury of sitting 2,000 miles away, far away from the problem and railing against it,” Castro said.
“My colleagues and I in cities across the country have to deal with the practical consequences of our broken immigration system,” Castro told the audience.
Mayor Castro was joined by his brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Al Cardenas, former chair of Florida’s Republican Party and President of the American Conservative Union, and Congressman Joe Garcia (D-FL). Many noted members of the judiciary and diplomatic core corps attended to celebrate and support AI Justice’s continuing work to protect and advance the civil and human rights of immigrants. Awards were presented to dinner honorees Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Shining Star Award), Paul Doyle, Esq. of The Florida Bar Foundation (American Justice Award) and social worker and therapist Martha Vallejo (Humanitarian Award). Also in attendance were a number of DREAMers from many different countries—undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children who shared their dreams for the future.
“Our clients are our inspiration. They remind us why passing comprehensive immigration reform is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said AI Justice Executive Director Cheryl Little.