(San Francisco, CA)—Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Maria Hinojosa were honored at the 2022 Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards for their work to significantly advance the civil rights of all immigrants. The awards ceremony, held on Sept. 14, 2022, was the first time the event was held in person since 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Named after the late Congressman Phillip Burton, U.S. Representative from California (1964-1983), the awards recognize those who carry on Congressman Burton’s legacy in support of immigrant and human rights.
“This year’s honorees have shown great courage and conviction in standing up for immigrants and their work has been invaluable in helping them build better lives for themselves and their families in the U.S.,” said ILRC Executive Director Eric Cohen. “For 31 years, the Burton Awards has recognized the work of advocates, policy leaders and organizations and we are proud to have Rep. Castro and Maria Hinojosa join the ranks of our honorees.”
We are honoring Congressman Joaquin Castro with the Nancy Pelosi Award for Policy. His commitment to immigrant communities in Texas, including his advocacy for the American Dream and Promise Act and his opposition to Operation Lone Star, a racist and anti-immigrant Texas policy designed to target and criminalize migrants, has been an inspiration. Rep. Castro has represented his hometown of San Antonio in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013.
“Since our founding, the United States has been a beacon of hope for immigrants,” said Rep. Castro. “I am honored to receive the 2022 Nancy Pelosi Award for Policy for my work to build a more humane immigration system. I look forward to working alongside advocates like the Immigrant Legal Resource Center to continue defending the fundamental rights of immigrants in Texas and across the country.”
We are honoring Maria Hinojosa with the 2022 Phillip Burton Award for Advocacy because of her commitment to championing immigrant rights and uplifting the humanity of the immigration experience through her work. Hinojosa created Futuro Media, an independent, nonprofit newsroom based in New York City with the mission to create multimedia content from a POC perspective. Hinojosa and her team at Futuro Media won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in audio reporting for a seven-part podcast series called Suave that shows what life is like for a former prisoner of 30 years as he reenters society.
"The day I realized that I was almost taken by an immigration agent when I arrived with privilege and a green card helped me to understand with utter clarity why I do the work I do,” Hinojosa said. “Being recognized by the Burton Award affirms this work from the people who taught me how. Los Californianos and los Tejanos."
During his keynote address, Attorney General Bonta praised Hinojosa and Rep. Castro for their work and passion in the fight for immigrant rights.
“Every time an immigrant becomes a citizen, our country becomes a bit closer to becoming the beacon of hope for the world we know it can be,” Bonta said.
Bonta, a long-time champion for immigrant rights, continues to ensure that every Californian knows their rights and is treated with dignity—regardless of their immigration status.
The awards were created with the help of John L. Burton, former Chairman of the California Democratic Party. Phillip Burton’s brother, John Burton currently serves on the ILRC Advisory Board and was presented with the 2004 Phillip Burton Award for Lifetime Achievement in Immigration & Civil Rights.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. Follow us at www.ilrc.org, and on Twitter and Instagram @the_ILRC