Each year, the ILRC thoughtfully considers a slate of candidates who have demonstrated—through their words and actions—a commitment to the immigrant rights movement for our Burton Awards.

Candidates for the Phillip Burton Award for Advocacy come from a variety of fields and have typically not held political office. Advocacy champions have come from the entertainment field, using their platform to humanize and highlight immigration issues. They have come from the organizing field, leading coalitions of immigrants and allies to support and defend the just treatment of immigrants. They have come from the education field, guiding the next generations of immigration justice advocates.

Candidates for the Nancy Pelosi Award for Policy must also demonstrate a commitment to immigrant rights and typically have held political office or worked closely with government officials. Previous recipients have held local, state, and national offices. They have also served in the administrations of local, state, and national politicians and helped to influence a platform of just immigration policies.

Candidates for the Phillip Burton Award for Lawyering are typically attorneys or law firms that have demonstrated their commitment to defending the rights of immigrants and litigating immigration issues so that justice and fairness prevail. The ILRC does not offer the Burton Award for Lawyering every year, but does so when an attorney or firm has stepped up to defend important immigration cases or has demonstrated a legacy of doing so.

We look at candidates who have a legacy of service in the area of immigrant rights, who have performed extraordinary acts in defense of those rights, or who have done both. Each candidate is vetted by staff and then by a subcommittee of board members. The resulting nominations celebrate advocates in our community that challenge draconian immigration policies and firmly believe that the diversity of people and cultures strengthen our country.

2018

Representative Pramila Jayapal, US Representative for Washington’s Seventh District
Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Diane Guerrero, Actress, Activist, and Author
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

2017

Martin O’Malley, Former Governor of Maryland and Former Mayor of Baltimore
Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Thuy Vu, Award Winning Journalist, Anchor and Program Host of “KQED Newsroom”
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

2016

Hon. Senator Kevin de León, President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate
Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

United We Dream
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

2015

Hon. David Campos, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Sergio C. Garcia, Activist & Attorney-at-Law
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

2014

Hon. Tom Ammiano, California State Assemblymember
Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Gaby Pacheco, DREAMer Activist & Co-Director of the Bridge Project
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

2013

Hon. Senator Dick Durbin, U.S. Senator from Illinois
Inaugural Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

2012

Dan Corsello, van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Amagda Pérez, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

2011

Cindy Carla Avitia, former Congressional Assistant to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Ira Kurzban, Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli & Pratt
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

2010

Jeanne A. Butterfield, Senior Advisor, National Immigration Forum
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Rosy H. Cho, The Law Office of Rosy H. Cho
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP & Rene A. Kathawala, Pro Bono Coordinator
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

2009

ILRC 30th Anniversary Celebration

2008

DREAM Act Students
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Eva Grove, The Grove Foundation
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

2007

Kathi Pugh, Pro Bono Counsel, Morrison & Foerster, LLP & James J. Brosnahan, Senior Partner, Morrison & Foerster, LLP
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

David N. Still, former San Francisco District Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Alberto Velazquez, Executive Director, North Valley Sponsoring Committee
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

2006

Robert E. Borton, Heller Ehrman LLP
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. House of Representatives, Texas’ 18th District
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Harold Hongju Koh, Dean and Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law, Yale Law School
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

2005

Susan M. Lydon, former Executive Director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Phillip Burton Award for Lifetime Achievement in Immigration and Civil Rights

Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Rosenberg Foundation & Kirke Wilson, former President of the Rosenberg Foundation
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

2004

Hon. John L. Burton, President Pro Tempore, California State Senate
Phillip Burton Award for Lifetime Achievement in Immigration and Civil Rights

Hon. Cruz Bustamante, Lieutenant Governor, State of California
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Robert Rubin, Legal Director, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International (USA)
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

2003

Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards on hiatus

2002

Samy Baaghil, Director, Minority Assistance Service
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Sara Campos, Staff Attorney, National Immigration Law Center
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Richard Hobbs, Director, Santa Clara County Citizenship and Immigrant Programs
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

2001

Carlos Demarty & Marcos Gutierrez, Radio Unica
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Nancy Fellom & Paula Solorio, Law Offices of Fellom & Solorio
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Hon. Zoe Lofgren, U.S. House of Representatives, California’s 16th District
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

2000

Sister Maureen Duignan, Director, Refugee Rights Program, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Dolores Huerta, Secretary-Treasurer, United Farm Workers of America
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Amy Nice, Manager, Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky
Special Recognition Award

Norton Tooby, Attorney at Law
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

1999

Tomás Gonzalez, Director, El Colegio Popular
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Lucas Guttentag, Director, Immigrants’ Rights Project of the National Office of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Hon. Dana Leigh Marks, Immigration Judge in San Francisco
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

1998

Michael A. Mullery, McVey & Mullery
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Guadalupe Siordia-Ortiz, El Comité de Padres Unidos
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Eva Jefferson Paterson, Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

1997

Hon. Phillip P. Leadbetter, former San Francisco Immigration Judge
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Karen Musalo, Director, International Human Rights and Migration Project, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Geneva Nuñez, California Human Development Corporation
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

1996

Marina Castillo, Caseworker, International Institute of San Francisco
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Terry J. Helbush, Simmons, Ungar, Helbush, Steinberg & Bright
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Hon. Mabel Teng, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

1995

Henry Der, Executive Director, Chinese for Affirmative Action
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Ann Kanter, Attorney at Law
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Nelly Reyes-Rosenberg, La Raza Centro Legal
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

1994

ILRC 15th Anniversary Celebration

1993

Hon. Thelton E. Henderson, U.S. District Judge
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Robert B. Jobe, Jobe & Melrod
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Clara Luz Navarro & Maria Olea, Co-Founders, Mujeres Unidas Y Activas
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

1992

Ignatius Bau, The San Francisco Lawyers’ Committee for Urban Affairs
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Janice Garcia, Bar Association of San Francisco, VLSP, Legalization Project
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Hon. Marilyn Patel, U.S. District Judge
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

1991

Emily Goldfarb, Executive Director, Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Services
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Edwin Rodriguez, Director, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Don Ungar, Simmons, Ungar, Helbush and Steinberg
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

1990

Hon. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives, California’s 5th District
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

David Rorick, Paralegal, San Francisco Lawyers’ Committee for Urban Affairs
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Bill Tamayo, Asian Law Caucus
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

1989

Vivian Fenner, Paralegal, International Institute of Redwood City and San Francisco
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy

Hon. Cruz Reynoso, former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy

Marc Van Der Hout, Founder, National Immigration Project, National Lawyers’ Guild
Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Lawyering

Honorees are identified with affiliations in the year they were honored.