LJP Update: Join our SE Reception, Unveiling a Public Policy Agenda for 2016 and more

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Join our Inaugural Southeast Regional Awards Reception

Join us in Miami, March 17th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, at the Hyatt Regency, Miami, as we celebrate and honor the accomplishments and contributions to social justice of the 2016 LatinoJustice Southeast Regional Awards honorees. This year's honorees are:

  • Cesar Alvarez, Senior Chairman, Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • Jose Diaz-Balart, Award-winning Journalist for Noticiero Telemundo, Enfoque and
    MSNBC Live Host
  • Kelsey Burke, Associate, Murray & Guari LLP.

Click here to purchase tickets or sponsor: Individual tickets are $100, and sponsorships start at $1,000 for a table of 10

Contact dmedina@latinojustice.org for more information.

Coalition Urges Supreme Court to Let Immigration Relief Programs Go Forward

LatinoJustice PRLDEF is part of a diverse coalition of 326 immigration, civil rights, labor, and social service groups that, on March 8, 2016, filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Texas, urging the court to lift the injunction that blocked the executive actions on immigration that President Obama announced in November 2014. The Obama administration’s expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative, was stopped in February 2015 by a federal district court in Texas. The lawsuit against the president’s executive actions was brought by Texas and 25 other states including Florida and New Jersey in December 2014. The federal government last year appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

In the brief, amici outline how families and communities would benefit from the initiatives. The brief also provides examples of parents and individuals who would be able to contribute more fully to their communities if the immigration initiatives were allowed to take effect. “If the injunction is lifted, many families will be more secure, without the looming threat that loved ones will be deported at a moment’s notice,” the brief argues. “Many deserving individuals will also have access to better jobs and the ability to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities. DHS has discretion to grant or deny applications for the initiatives at issue, and the concocted argument to the contrary should not be used to prevent individuals from even applying.”

The full legal brief is available here

NHLA unveils 2016 Hispanic Public Policy Agenda

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of the nation's 40 preeminent Latino advocacy organizations including LatinoJustice PRLDEF unveiled its 2016 Hispanic Public Policy Agenda at a press conference in Washington, DC on February 25th. The quadrennial agenda provides a comprehensive overview of policy concerns and priorities that expand beyond long-lasting issues such as economic development and immigration. The 2016 agenda highlights emerging concerns, including environmental policy, criminal justice reform, LGBT equality, and the faltering Puerto Rican economy.

The 2016 Hispanic Public Policy Agenda identifies Civil Rights as one of the priority streams for the Latino community: Latinos are disproportionately subject to more frequent stops by law enforcement, higher incidences of police brutality, the highest rates of pre-trial detention and bail amounts, and greater obstacles to post-incarceration re-entry. It is especially important that judges are nominated and confirmed to the federal courts who have a record of preserving or expanding civil rights protections and who reflect the growing diversity of the country. LatinoJustice President & General Counsel Juan Cartagena, who co-chaired the NHLA’s civil rights committee for the Agenda, participated in the press briefing held in Washington, DC.

LJP Criticizes Sentence and Plea Bargain of former Suffolk Police Sgt. Greene in “Stop and Rob" Case

In perhaps the biggest hate crime prosecution in New York’s history, former Suffolk County Police Sergeant Scott Greene was sentenced on March 4, 2016 to an indeterminate term of 1 to 3 years in jail, after having been convicted of felony grand larceny, petit larceny and official misconduct charges arising from his “stop & rob” of dozens of Latino motorists. The Suffolk County District Attorney who failed to recommend a minimum term of incarceration, surprisingly, offered the defendant a gift-wrapped plea bargain to a second pending indictment, which encompassed 60 separate charges arising from the defendant’s targeted thefts from 20 additional Latino motorists.

This District Attorney, shockingly, offered this plea without any prior discussion with any of the victims, many of whom are being represented by LatinoJustice in a pending 1983 civil rights action against the County. Many of the victims have described the involvement of other officers in Sgt. Greene’s robberies. The plea bargain offer would likely mean an end to any effort by the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office to investigate the role other SCPD officers played in Greene’s criminal scheme.

The Suffolk District Attorney’s failure to pursue a conviction against Greene of the multiple hate crime charges pending in the second indictment after he was able to engage in this pattern of robberies for a number of years undeterred by others in the SCPD sends a strong message that Latino immigrant victims of crime in Long Island are not treated equally. The Suffolk D.A. had compromised the case prosecution by bifurcating the two indictments arising from the same series of “stop & rob” thefts perpetrated by the defendant. This separation substantially compromises the overall weight of the evidence as to his pattern and practice of targeting Latino drivers. Any claims that Greene could not be found legally guilty of a hate crime are simply not correct, as appellate courts have upheld hate crime convictions based purely on a defendant’s decision to target victims based on their race. The Suffolk D.A.’s lenient plea bargain offer in this case follows LJP’s 2008 complaint to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) documenting the SCPD’s failure to investigate reports of Latinos being routinely subjected to hate crimes. The 2008 complaint triggered DOJ’s still ongoing investigation and oversight into the SCPD.

Upcoming Events:

LatinoJustice PRLDEF supports sister organizations that enhance opportunities for young people interested in law. Here are some programs endorsed by our CAP Leadership Institute for college and high school students, as well as an LJP Lideres event for young lawyers.

  • MetroLALSA Pa’Lante Conference -- The Metro NYC area Latino Law Student Association (LALSA), is hosting their sixth annual conference at Fordham Law School. The event includes special workshops dedicated to prospective law school applicants. Click here to visit their website for more info and to preregister. Space is limited.
    When: Saturday, March 12th Where: Fordham Law School
  • Lideres networking -- Join the #LJPLideres for a networking reception at Novecento! This will be your chance to meet some Latino professionals who are active in the fight for social justice. You can RSVP by emailing Lydiette. See the full invite by clicking here.
    : Tuesday, March 15th Where: Novecento, 343 West Broadway, NY, NY 10013
  • Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Summer Judicial Internship Program (SCSJIP) -- Applications are due Friday March 18th. For high school students interested in law, this summer internship program is for you. And you may get the chance to meet Associate Justice Sotomayor in person! Please click on the program above to visit the website for the details and the application.
    When: Friday, March 18th
  • 26th Annual Latino College Expo – On Saturday March 19th at NYU Over 100 colleges, universities, and organizations will provide information about the college admissions and financial aid process. Do not miss out on this FREE event! Come hear keynote speaker, Carmen Farina, Chancellor, NYC Public Schools; attend the leadership summit and college workshops. Click here for more information and to register.
    When: Saturday, March 19th Where: NYU

Save the Date!

The LatinoJustice PRLDEF Annual Awards Gala: Forging a Powerful Future is taking place Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at Tribeca 360, 10 Desbrosses Street, NYC.

Enjoy 360˚views of the Manhattan skyline while celebrating the achievements of our honorees, including 2016 LUCERO David Arroyo, Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs and Internal Audit, Scripps Networks Interactive.

For sponsorship information, click here or contact dmedina@latinojustice.org

Meet the #LJPFamilia: Rebecca Ramaswamy

Rebecca Ramaswamy is a Columbia Law School Social Justice Legal Fellow. She is a 2015 Columbia law grad who was a Notes Editor on the Columbia Journal of Race & Law and has a forthcoming journal publication: “Bars to Admission: The Use of Criminal History Information in College Admissions.” She was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar for academic achievement and was awarded the Morrow scholarship for outstanding clinic performance for her work in the Columbia Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic in the Spring 2014 semester, where she led a team of students in drafting a Fourth Circuit amicus brief on a case involving an intersex child who received unwanted feminizing surgery while in SC state custody.

She spent her 2013 1L summer at the Center for Institutional & Social Change, researching & drafting a report on increasing low-income first generation students of color higher education enrollment & success; interned during her 2L fall semester with the ACLU Voting Rights Project; and worked during 2L summer in 2014 with the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, researching effects of the reduction of mass incarceration and drafting congressional testimony on its collateral consequences.

Twitter Highlight

  • Latinas disproportionately hurt by lack of accessible + affordable repro services #ReproJustice @FordFoundation #InequalityIs #StopTheSham
  • "We are mobilizing w/Latinos around world to change convo re #DrugPolicy for #UNGASS2016" @LJCartagena #StateOfLatinos. Are you with us?
  • The retributive incarceration of Oscar López Rivera, by @LJCartagena http://huff.to/1YoDGx0 Oscar has been in prison 34 years, 12 in solitary. #FreeOscarLopez #BoricuasOnline

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