Attorney Juan M. Soliz has had a distinguished career as a public servant, educator and attorney for over forty-two years.
Born in Texas to Mexican parents, he received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1976. Mr. Soliz has dedicated his life’s work to fighting for social justice and immigration issues. He moved to Chicago in 1978 to join the Legal Aid Foundation. In 1980, he became the first Mexican Supervising Attorney at the Immigrant Center. In 1982 he became the first Mexican to run for Illinois State Representative. After forming the Juan M. Soliz Independent Political Party, he became the first Mexican to be elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1984. There, he distinguished himself as an effective leader through his hard work in protecting the rights of minorities, workers, women and consumers. He fought to create district boundaries for Chicago that were representative of the Mexican voter.
In March 1986, he achieved an unprecedented double victory by winning the nomination as the Democratic candidate for IL State Representative and winning election as 25th Ward Alderman on the same day. He was the first Mexican alderman in that district and one of the first Mexican aldermen in Chicago. While an Alderman, he served as the first Mexican President Pro Tempore of the City Council, and served as Chairman of the Human Rights and Consumer Protection Committee and Chairman of the Aviation Committee.
Attorney Soliz continues to defend the rights of immigrants, advocate for detainees and tirelessly advocate for comprehensive immigration reform for all. In the current climate of escalating aggression toward the immigrant community, especially Mexican immigrants, he co-founded a group called Mexico Defiende Lo Tuyo, with nearly 13,000 members on both sides of the illegally enforced border. The group serves to promote awareness of the flaws in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and how this illegal treaty can realistically be used as a powerful negotiating tool for comprehensive immigration reform. He also co-founded an unrecognized tribe, UNITY Native American Tribe, to “maintain and promote the collective indigenous cultures and identities of those of us who identify as Native, but are not part of a tribe,” as attorney Soliz states. He is also a proud founding member of One People One Continent and a member of Free Our Indigenous Youth: For the Release of Children in Detention.
Mr. Soliz joined our non-profit organization, the Binational Institute for Human Development, to serve as Senior Legal Counsel for our program, the Immigration & Legal Center. Mr. Soliz supports and believes in the mission of the organization, to advocate and work towards a better and more effective integration of the immigrant community into American society, providing them with honest, robust and fairer legal representation and, above all, advocating for an intrinsic right of our Immigrant community “TO HAVE A LEGAL IDENTITY IN OUR COUNTRY”.
Attorney Soliz continues to champion the causes he values most; social justice, immigrant rights, immigration reform, protection of our indigenous peoples and our birthright as natives of this land and giving a voice to the voiceless.