Each year the National Immigration Project honors a member doing outstanding work for immigrant justice. In 2021, NIPNLG named this annual award after Elisabeth S. "Lisa" Brodyaga, a longtime National Immigration Project member whose career representing asylum seekers, other immigrants, and U.S. citizens spanned more than 40 years. In 1985, Lisa co-founded Refugio Del Rio Grande, a non-profit refugee camp and law office on a 45-acre wilderness near Harlingen, Texas. Lisa's work resulted in numerous critical, pro-immigrant court decisions in tough cases and jurisdictions. The award is presented annually to an NIPNLG member who embodies the tenacious fighting spirit that Lisa Brodyaga brought to her work for decades.

2022 Recipient: Laila Hlass

Laila L. Hlass is a nationally recognized immigrant rights advocate, practitioner, and legal scholar. As a professor of practice at Tulane Law School, Laila garnered seed funding to launch the Tulane Immigrant Rights Clinic in 2019, where she serves as Co-Director. The Clinic seeks to challenge mass and prolonged detention of immigrants in the state of Louisiana and represents detained people, migrant workers, children, and other immigrants with critical legal needs working through the U.S. immigration system.

A national leader in clinical pedagogy, Laila works to support the next generation of lawyers and advocates through mentorship, training, and teaching. While representing children and adults in the immigration legal system for the past fifteen years, Laila has rigorously exposed systemic injustice through her advocacy and public scholarship. Through reports, op-eds, webinars and scholarship, Laila has laid bare how children face racialized harm in the immigration legal system. A highly dedicated mentor and fierce advocate, Laila has brought a tenacious fighting spirit to our movement for more than 15 years.

Thank you to all who joined us to celebrate Laila on Wednesday, June 15 at the 2022 AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law!

 Download the commemorative program book »