(San Antonio, TX) MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) announced the appointment of Celina Moreno as interim Southwest Regional Counsel on Oct. 2.
As such, she will lead the office in its litigation and policy work to serve the southwest region, which includes Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and other states.
A native of San Antonio, Moreno previously served as a staff attorney in MALDEF’s San Antonio office and in Austin, where she focused on policy work, including helping to block adoption of a controversial and racist Mexican American studies textbook, challenging school voucher legislation, and preventing the licensure of immigrant detention centers as childcare facilities.
Moreno has also led statewide coalitions focused on protecting the rights of students, voters, and immigrants. She was also a co-leader of Texas Residents United for a Stronger Texas (TRUST), a coalition of business, religious and advocacy organizations founded in 2007 by MALDEF and other partners, in response to proposals that would harm Texas families and communities.
Additionally, Moreno has successfully represented DREAMers against a lawsuit that sought to invalidate the Texas DREAM Act and was part of the MALDEF legal teams that challenged Texas’ inequitable school finance system and a Whites-only policy at a Texas cemetery. She is currently co-counsel in MALDEF’s lawsuit against Texas’ Senate Bill 4, an anti-immigrant law, and in a Texas redistricting case seeking to protect the rights of Latino voters.
“Texas has thrust itself into the eye of the storm in this era of nativism and nationalism oozing from the White House,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “We look forward to Celina’s inspired leadership of our civil rights efforts in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and the other critical states served by our Southwest Regional Office.”
Before joining MALDEF, Moreno directed Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s School-to-Prison Pipeline Project.
“I am honored to lead our Southwest team,” said Moreno. “As Constitutional rights come under increasing attack, MALDEF – established right here in San Antonio nearly 50 years ago – will continue to build its legacy as the leading defender of Latino civil rights.”