Ray Ybarra Maldonado

Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado is a human rights activist, author, filmmaker, lawyer, and public speaker.  Born in Douglas, AZ, Ybarra Maldonado's mother was born just a few miles to the south in the town of Agua Prieta, Sonora.

Ybarra Maldonado's book Born on the Border: Minutemen Vigilantes, Origins of Arizona's Anti-Immigrant Movement, and a Call for Increased Civil Disobedience details his human rights work on the U.S.-Mexico Border and calls for human mobility to be recognized as a human right. 

As a lawyer, Ybarra Maldonado is an aggressive trial attorney who is immersed daily in the struggle for immigrants' rights in the battleground state of Arizona. He represents immigrants in state, federal, and immigration courts throughout Arizona.  He has attained not guilty verdicts for his clients in both state and federal courts, as well attaining remand from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  In the immigration context, his clients have successfully been bonded out of immigration detention, attained U Visas, have had VAWA applications approved, won appeals after denials from USCIS, and attained permanent resident status following an individual hearing (equivalent of trial in immigration court).

Ybarra Maldonado co-wrote and co-produced the award-winning documentary, "Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border," was instrumental in bringing about a major civil rights lawsuit against one of the vigilantes, and created and coordinated the Legal Observer Project during the Minutemen's operations. He has trained hundreds of volunteers and spent months following the Minutemen as they patrolled along the U.S.-Mexico Divide.  

Ybarra Maldonado has written about and given numerous talks on vigilantism, the militarization of the border and the growing immigrant's rights movement at numerous universities including Stanford, Harvard, University of California at Berkeley, and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and to community groups from Washington to Iowa. In addition to receiving awards for his commitment to social justice, Ybarra Maldonado has testified in front of local and state bodies as well as having his work quoted at the United Nations.  Ybarra Maldonado is frequently quoted in both the national and international media and his work has been profiled in the Intelligence Report, Stanford Lawyer, and in a documentary that premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, entitled 'Crossing Arizona.'

Ybarra Maldonado spent a year volunteering at a migrant center in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico and in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico assisting with cleaning, preparing food, and conducting human rights discussions amongst the migrants.

Ybarra Maldonado attended Cochise Community College in Douglas, AZ and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University in 2002 with a degree in Religious Studies and from Stanford Law School in 2007.  He has previously worked for the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and was a proud public defender in Cochise County and with the Federal Public Defender's Office in Tucson, AZ. 

He currently lives in Phoenix, AZ with his wife, Dr. Angeles Maldonado, and their handsome little boy, Ray Emerson.  He is currently on the board of directors of Los Abogados, Litigation Liason for the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and a non-residential fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Prior to his marriage to Angeles he was "Ray Ybarra" and legally has changed his name to "Ray Ybarra Maldonado." The family are avid fans of the Arizona State Sun Devils, Stanford Cardinal, and all things Arizona (minus the anti-immigrant politics). 

Topics covered
  • Immigration
  • The Humanitarian Crisis on the Border
  • Vigilantism
  • How Average Citizens can help stop the Humanitarian Crisis on the Border
If you want to plan a speaking event with Ray, please contact him at rybarra [at] stanfordalumni [dot] org