LOS ANGELES – MALDEF announced today the appointment of Belinda Escobosa Helzer to the position of National Senior Counsel.

Escobosa Helzer is a veteran civil rights attorney who has been litigating cases in the areas of immigrants’ rights, free speech, due process and voting rights for nearly 20 years.  She also has extensive experience educating and engaging the community and advocating on policy matters involving civil rights issues.

“MALDEF is fortunate to welcome Belinda back to serve in one of our key litigation positions,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund).

“Today, we face many challenges in pursuing our mission to promote the civil rights of all Latinos living in the United States, but our exemplary staff, including the respected and accomplished Belinda Escobosa Helzer, gives me great confidence as we move forward.”

Prior to joining MALDEF, Escobosa Helzer served as interim legal director at the National Immigration Law Center where she led all aspects of the legal department. And before that, she served as the director of the ACLU of Southern California’s Orange County and Inland Empire offices, and later became General Counsel.  She has also consulted and provided support to many non-profit, legal and community grassroots organizations.

The appointment marks her return to MALDEF, where she worked as the organization’s Immigrant Rights and Day Laborer staff attorney, leading significant litigation and helping draft legislation that protects and promotes the rights of Latinos and other groups.

“I am so grateful to be back at MALDEF, where I was shaped as a young attorney to be grounded in the community, and to develop litigation and advocacy strategies that ensure Latinos, and other underrepresented groups, live with full dignity and self-determination, and that their human and civil rights are protected, expanded, and respected,” Escobosa Helzer said. “I have continued to be inspired by MALDEF’s great work over the years and am excited to again be part of MALDEF’s amazing and passionate staff.”

In her new role, she will work with Saenz, Nina Perales, MALDEF’s vice president of litigation, and Denise Hulett, National Senior Counsel, to oversee and shape the organization’s litigation.  Escobosa Helzer will be based in MALDEF’s Los Angeles headquarters.