LJP Update: Urging Supreme Court to Protect Executive Action on Immigration, End of the Year Giving and More

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Our legal work is core to the LatinoJustice mission. Too often, the rights to which every U.S. resident should be entitled must be reinforced in the courts, and LatinoJustice is uniquely positioned to help defend Latinos’ right to work, vote, learn, and live in this country without obstacles and without fear of retribution. LatinoJustice’s efforts have been instrumental in helping to shape policing reforms, for example, and, with your help, we will continue to take these and other issues on in myriad communities nationwide.

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LatinoJustice joins Coalition to File Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Protect President’s Executive Actions on Immigration

A coalition of 224 immigration, civil rights, labor, and social service groups including LatinoJustice has filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to review Texas v. U.S., the case that has temporarily blocked some of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction put in place by a Texas federal district court that blocked implementation of protections for millions of immigrants across the country.

The amicus filing comes only ten days after the formal request from the U.S. Department of Justice to the Supreme Court to review the case this term. The amici coalition acted swiftly, since the Justice Department has requested an expedited briefing schedule that would allow the Supreme Court to hear the case during the current 2015-16 term and issue a decision by June 2016.

Amicus Brief filed in 5th Circuit Addressing Critical Immigrant workers’ rights!

LatinoJustice co-authored an amicus brief submitted to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in October in Cazorla et al. v. Koch Foods of Mississippi, L.L.C. The brief was written in support of a group of Latina/o workers appealing a District Court ruling that permitted the employer to seek discovery of their U-visa applications in the context of a Title VII discrimination suit alleging sexual assault, sexual harassment, and abuse by their supervisors.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) who sued a poultry farm in Mississippi alleging discrimination and sexual harassment against dozens of Latina/o workers had helped certify U-visa applications for certain workers. Koch Foods sought discovery of the U-visa applications contending that the EEOC had fraudulently applied for the U-visas in order to persuade the workers into making false allegations.

Our brief contended that the divulgence of such sensitive and confidential information, particularly in gender-based violence, contravened the history and purpose of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which established clear confidentiality protections for immigrant women. Revealing the contents of U-visa applications for victims of crimes can lead to very real harms for women—including the increased risk of abuse by the perpetrator. This case is the first time that a federal appeals court will address the issue of confidentiality of VAWA self-petitions, U-visa, and T-visa applications.

The brief was co-authored by LatinoJustice, the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project at the American University Washington College of Law, Legal Momentum, and pro bono co-counsel at Arnold & Porter LLP, and Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP. LJ Associate Counsel Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan drafted the brief with research assistance from Legal Fellow Bianca Scott.

LJP files U.N. Report Addressing Law Enforcement Practices Impacting Latinos

On November 20, 2015, LatinoJustice submitted a follow-up shadow report to the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (“CERD”) addressing the prevention and prosecution of excessive use of force by U.S. law enforcement agencies against communities of color, highlighting the impact on Latinos in particular. The report cites several recent examples of excessive use of force by the police, and calls upon the U.S. to address the discriminatory way that law enforcement responds, escalates or unjustifiably provokes violence through excessive use of force in communities of color. We also requested the Committee to consider further investigation of their prior recommendations issued in an earlier review of the U.S.’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2014, including:

  1. That the U.S. encourage all states to appoint special prosecutors to handle allegations of excessive use of force by the police, particularly when it results in the death of a civilian;
  2. That the U.S. gather information on all instances of police use of force and maintain a comprehensive public database of these records with data disaggregated by race, gender, language preference, and—when available—ethnicity, national origin, and sexual orientation;
  3. And that the U.S. encourage all local police departments to adopt and follow specific policies regarding the implementation of body-camera programs.

A copy of LJ’s follow-up shadow report which was drafted by Legal Fellow Rebecca Ramaswamy and Associate Counsel Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan can be found on the USHRN website here; and you can see other reports here.

LAWBound Winter Program Application Deadline Extended

The application deadline for Lawbound winter program has been extended until Monday, December 21st. Applications may be submitted electronically and directly to spatrick@latinojustice.org. Please click here to visit our LAWbound webpage for the application package.

Twitter Highlight @LatinoJustice

  • We joined #50StatesAgainstHate. Every state needs hate crime laws. See state breakdown here
  • #FishervUT hearing will hopefully protect #Opportunity4All. @nytimes shows how Diversity Makes You Brighter buff.ly/1XVJTnq #SCOTUS
  • Advocates from around the country are calling on Congress to act on #PRAgenda. Article recaps potential movement here

Join LatinoJustice this Summer through a Civil Rights Fellowship

The PALS Summer Civil Rights Fellowship is a new initiative that selects three deserving law students of color, with leadership potential and a demonstrated commitment to social justice work, to work as summer fellows with LatinoJustice.

The summer fellowship includes a $5,000 stipend and affords each chosen student, with a desire to pursue a career in civil rights, the opportunity to give back to his or her community, while maintaining the ability to fulfill his or her various financial obligations.

The application period is now open and will close on Sunday, December 27, 2015. To learn and apply to this fellowship please click here

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