Americans for Immigrant Justice to Honor Dr. Eduardo Padrón and Jose Antonio Vargas at its 24th Annual Awards Dinner

January 28, 2020

Contact: Ariela Moscowitz

[email protected] / 305-573-1106 x 1100

MIAMI – Since 1996, Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) has fought to protect and promote the rights of immigrants in South Florida and beyond. On February 7, 2020, community leaders from across industries, sectors and partisan lines will gather to celebrate AI Justice advocates’ 24 years of fighting for justice for vulnerable immigrants and the more than 140,000 individuals the organization has served since its founding.

The awards dinner, Upholding the American Dream, is the organization’s signature fundraising event and provides attendees with a unique opportunity to provide financial support that will allow AI Justice to continue providing life-altering free legal services to immigrants while celebrating the achievements of its two exceptional honorees.

This year’s honorees – President Emeritus of Miami Dade College and Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient Dr. Eduardo Padrón and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist and Founder of Define American Jose Antonio Vargas – represent the very best that our nation has to offer. Both immigrants themselves, these two individuals have not just achieved tremendous personal success but have also dedicated their lives to serving and educating others.

Dr. Padrón will receive the America’s Immigrant Spirit Award, given to an immigrant whose personal and professional life exemplifies the extraordinary contributions of immigrants to our nation. An American by choice, Dr. Padron is widely recognized as one of the top educational leaders in the world. Through his pace-setting leadership, Miami Dade College has been able to enroll and graduate more minorities than any other institution in the United States, including the largest numbers of Hispanics and African Americans. Of the honor Dr. Padrón noted, “It is humbling to be recognized by an organization that I admire and respect so much and that is doing a formidable job in making America a better place for all.”

Jose Antonio Vargas will receive the Holly Skolnick Human Rights Award, in recognition of his significant contributions advancing the cause of human rights. Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and Tony-nominated producer. A leading voice for the human rights of immigrants, he founded the non-profit media and culture organization Define American with the aim of fighting anti-immigrant hate through the power of media and storytelling. Vargas first revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant in a 2011 New York Times Magazine essay and has continued to shed light on what it means to be undocumented in America since then, including in his best-selling memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen.

Ariela Moscowitz, AI Justice Director of Community Relations, said, “We are thrilled to be honoring two exceptionally deserving individuals and are grateful for the support of the South Florida community and beyond as we work to protect immigrants’ human and legal rights.”


Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) is an award-winning non-profit law firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, it champions the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocates for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serves as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speaks for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.