NEW ORLEANS, La. -- For the first time the National Council of La Raza. is in New Orleans.
The NCLR is the nation's largest annual conference that tackles important issues in the Latino community and it's bringing thousands of people to the city.
Congress is making a huge push for monumental immigration reform, which became a hot topic at the NCLR conference Saturday.
'There are a lot of reasons we want to see this happen, but knowing that it will have reduce the deficit and boost the economy are really compelling reasons,' said President and CEO of NCLR Janet Murguia.
Murguia says the NCLR's focus at this year's conference is to educate the Latino community about immigration reform and spreading the message to stay involved.
'I think what we are trying to do is promote a culture of civic engagement,' said Murguia. 'I think in the last election when our Latino community turned out to vote we actually made a difference.'
Health issues, workforce development and education were also at the forefront of the conversation. Notable Latino celebrities, like Eva Longoria, joined Saturday's discussion to advocate for educational tools to help Latino children succeed in the classroom.
'Immigration reform is a fundamental barrier to allowing our children to really flourish,' Murguia said during a panel discussion Saturday.
Jenny Carreno attended Saturday's expo. As a high school Spanish teacher in New Orleans, she says she understands why education is such an important part of immigration reform.
'When they, somebody who is a teacher, engineer, somebody who has actually went to school to become a train professional, they want to do that, they see that it is a possibility,' said Carreno. 'That is not a dream anymore, that there is opportunities out there for them, so as a teacher I try to infuse that in my students and classes as well.'
They are dreams that the NCLR says could be in reach sooner rather than later if immigration reform moves forward.
The annual conference will end on Tuesday, July 23 with keynote speaker First Lady Michelle Obama.
For the complete conference schedule and list of workshops click here.