National Public Policy Office (Washington, D.C.)

In 1972, MALDEF opened an office in Washington, D.C. in our nation's capital. This began what is today an extensive and effective program focusing on public policy issues that affect the Latino community nationwide.  Functioning as the public policy arm of MALDEF’s National Headquarters, the Washington D.C. regional office monitors federal legislation in voting rights, education, immigration, among other issue areas.

National Public Policy Office
1016 16th Street N.W. Suite 100
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 293-2828

Regional Counsel
James A. Ferg-Cadima

James A. Ferg-Cadima has built his public interest career on authoring and lobbying for civil rights and civil liberties legislation at the federal, state, and local level. Mr. Ferg-Cadima heads the Washington, D.C. office of MALDEF, which shapes legislative and regulatory matters at the federal level and litigates cases in the Southeast in the areas of education, employment, immigration, and voting rights. He currently co-chairs the Education Task Force of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Right, a diverse coalition of more than 200 national organizations working on civil rights, and the Membership Committee of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, the main gathering of national Latino organizations working at the federal level.

Before rejoining MALDEF in 2010, Mr. Ferg-Cadima served as legislative counsel for the ACLU of Illinois in Chicago; as legislative staff attorney and then interim regional counsel for MALDEF in Washington, D.C.; as a two-term co-chair of the Hispanic Education Coalition, a national convening of national Latino organizations working on education; as a judicial clerk for the Northern District of Illinois; and as a racial justice fellow at the Advancement Project. During law school, Mr. Ferg-Cadima taught constitutional literacy in the D.C. Public Schools for two years as part of the inaugural class of Marshall-Brennan Fellows.

Among the many highlights of his ACLU tenure, he authored and advanced successful state legislation in Illinois, including overhauls of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and the Illinois Genetic Information Privacy Act; a consumer protection against private marketplace misuse of biometric information; an extension of then-State Senator Barack Obama’s racial and ethnic data collection law concerning police traffic stops, and two expansions of public accommodation law to ban bullying in schools and discrimination by medical offices. Between 2002 and 2005, Mr. Ferg-Cadima headed MALDEF’s efforts to successfully amend federal law concerning Latino students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disability Education Act, migrant students under the National School Lunch Act, and English language learners under the implementing regulations of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Harvard Law School awarded Mr. Ferg-Cadima a Wasserstein Fellowship in 2008 in recognition of his dedication to public interest law. He earned his law degree from the American University Washington College of Law and is admitted to practice law in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Illinois.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund