Last updated on: 4/28/2010 | Author:

Thomas A. Saenz, JD Biography

President and General Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Government Allow a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?"

“[O]ur immigration system is discriminatory. We have a system that does not provide legal representation, often even a hearing, for decisions that are life and death for some families. We have a system that allows law enforcement to make assumptions based on race or identity that is inconsistent with our constitutional values…

[W]e must reintroduce equal protection values into our definition of family — of any kind — under our immigration law. This means enacting the Uniting All Families Act as part of the comprehensive immigration reform.”

“Thomas Saenz Calls for Comprehensive and Inclusive Immigration Reform,”, Feb. 5, 2010

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), 2009-present
  • Recipient, Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Top Influentials award, 2009
  • Member, Los Angeles County Board of Education
  • Counsel, Mayor Villaraigosa (Los Angeles), 2005-2009
  • Member, Mayor Villaraigosa Executive team, 2005-2009
  • Recipient, National Hispanic Bar Association (HNBA)Ohtli Award, 2008
  • Recipient, Peace and Justice Award, Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California, 2007
  • Recipient, Latino Law Students Association of Yale Law School Public Service Award, 2007
  • Recipient, Mexican American Bar Foundation Professional Achievement Award, 2006
  • Attorney, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, 1993-2005
  • Former member, Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations
  • Former Adjunct Lecturer, University of Southern California Law School
  • Former law clerk, Honorable Harry L. Hupp, US District Court, Central District of California
  • Former law clerk, Honorable Stephen Reinhardt, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • JD, Yale Law School
  • BA, summa cum laude, Yale University
  • Served as MALDEF’s lead counsel in successfully challenging California’s Proposition 187