The Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards

Each year the ILRC proudly honors individuals in the immigrant legal community for their work on behalf of immigrants. The Phillip Burton Awards allow the ILRC and the community at large to celebrate leaders whose work positively affects our society. Named after Phillip Burton, U.S. Representative from California (1964-1983) the award recognizes others who carry on Congressman Burton’s legacy in support of immigrants and human rights.

The award for Immigration Advocacy is presented to the individual who has shown exemplary leadership and commitment through their advocacy, education and organizing work on behalf of immigrants and immigrant communities.

The award for Immigration Policy is presented to the individual who has made a significant contribution to immigration and/or civil rights policy.

The award for Immigration Lawyering is presented to the individual who has demonstrated outstanding commitment in representing immigrant clients.

22nd Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards 2012

The ILRC’s Board of Directors and staff welcome you to be part of our 22nd Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards Dinner – Pathways to Power, on Thursday, May 17, 2012, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.  Join us for what has been billed as “the Oscars of Immigration Law!”  The evening’s event will provide inspiring moments alongside some of our community’s most dedicated defenders of hard-working immigrants, including immigration attorneys, legal service providers, and community-based advocates gathered to recognize the contributions of Dan Corsello and Amagda Pérez.  Both of this year’s honorees have demonstrated outstanding commitment, dedication, and leadership to provide legal services for low income immigrants, including those in California’s most remote and underserved communities.  Additionally, we are pleased to announce that our guest speaker is Supervisor David Campos, an outspoken advocate for immigrant rights on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

We offer the following ways to participate, and would be honored to be your host:

Become a Sponsor: Demonstrate your support of the ILRC’s important work while recognizing this year’s award winners by sponsoring the event.  We are sure to have a sponsorship package that fits your budget.

Become an Advertiser: Advertise directly to the leaders from major law firms and the civil rights, immigration and legal communities in the Bay Area.

The 2012 Phillip Burton award honorees are:

Lawyering Award: Amagda Pérez, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation

Amagda Pérez is currently the Executive Director of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, a non-profit advocacy group focused on providing social justice to California’s poor rural residents including the unrepresented, the unorganized, and especially the undocumented and indigenous farm workers.  Additionally, Amagda supervises second- and third- year law students in the preparation of deportation defense cases at the U.C. Davis School of Law’s Immigration Clinic providing them with the practical legal skills and training to competently represent indigent immigrant clients.  Many of our current generation of young attorneys have been directly impacted and inspired by Amagda’s lifelong work and commitment.  In recognition, she received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2010.  Amagda’s pioneering work with naturalization application assistance workshops in the Central Valley has resulted in thousands of low-income farmworkers becoming U.S. citizens.  She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Association of California, the Board Chair of the Central Valley Partnership for Citizenship, and faculty advisor of the La Raza Law Student Association.  For her dedication to ensure that legal services are available to California’s poorest immigrants, please join us in honoring Amagda Pérez with ILRC’s 2012 Phillip Burton Lawyering Award.

Advocacy Award: Dan Corsello, van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation

Dan Corsello led the van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation from 1995 to 2010 as Executive Director and continues to serve as Treasurer for the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  Through his work with the Foundation, Mr. Corsello has been a tireless supporter of efforts to provide legal services to immigrants, reform California’s juvenile justice system, improve the lives of incarcerated youth, and provide community-based social justice programs in rural areas.  He is also the former Director of Napa County Health and Human Services Agency, founder and former Executive Director of the Napa County Coalition of Non-Profit Organizations, and has provided consultancy to the Peter & Vernice Gasser Foundation in Napa County.

Dan has served on the Board of Directors of a number of non-profit organizations and Commissions, including the First Five Commission, Head Start, the Napa County Council on Economic Opportunities, the Battered Women’s Shelter of Napa County, Legal Aid of the Napa Valley, the Napa County Community Health Clinic, and Queen of the Valley Hospital of the St. Joseph Health System.  The ILRC is proud to recognize Dan Corsello for his many contributions to the protection of our community’s most vulnerable and underserved, and his steadfast support of legal services for California’s rural immigrants and ask you to join us in awarding him the 2012 Phillip Burton Advocacy Award. 

The 22nd Phillip Burton Awards Dinner will be held at the Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel in San Francisco’s theater district.  Click here for details on sponsorship and advertising.   The deadline to be listed as a sponsor on the invitation is Monday, March 12, 2012.  The deadline for ad copy submission and to be listed as a sponsor in the event program book is Monday, April 23, 2012.  For further information about our event, please contact Chris Godwin at (415) 255-9499 ext. 463 or at

Past Honorees

Honorees are identified with affiliations in the year they were honored.  The Burton Awards were on hiatus in 1994 and 2003, and the ILRC's 30th Anniversary celebration was held in 2009.

Ira Kurzban, Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli & Pratt
Cindy Carla Avitia, Former Congressional Assistant to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren

Jeanne A. Butterfield, Senior Advisor with the National Immigration Forum
Rosy H. Cho, The Law Office of Rosy H. Cho
The Law Firm of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP & Rene A. Kathawala, Pro Bono Coordinator

Eva Grove, The Grove Foundation
DREAM Act Students