Today, Judge Timothy S. Hillman issued an order backing extension of temporary restraining order (TRO) to July 23rd pending a formal hearing on the class action complaint seeking Relief for Hurricane Maria Evacuees. The plaintiffs seeking relief were represented by LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, and the Law Office of Héctor Piñeiro. This ruling reaffirms the importance of Puerto Rican evacuees having their day in the court and the need for aid that services the needs of our community beyond FEMA’s current understanding.
Summary: Today was the hearing on the potential extension of FEMA housing assistance for Puerto Ricans displaced because of Hurricane Maria. The legal team is eagerly awaiting Judge Hillman’s decision about extending the temporary restraining order pending full evidentiary merits hearing on the motion.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a national civil rights organization, and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP and the Law Offices of Hector E. Pineiro filed a lawsuit along with a request for a nationwide injunction in federal court in Massachusetts to halt the eviction process of nearly 2,000 evacuees from Puerto Rico who are currently residing in hotels. After Hurricane Maria, a category 5 storm, devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, thousands were forced to flee and have been staying in hotels and motels throughout the United States under the Temporary Shelter Assistance (TSA) program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA has arbitrarily decided to end the TSA program on June 30, 2018, evicting hundreds of Puerto Rican families this weekend without providing them with alternative housing options. If evacuees - who include young children, the elderly, disabled, and those with serious medical needs - are evicted from their hotels, they will face potential homelessness or placement in shelter systems. FEMA’s actions are not only immoral, they are unlawful and violate the very purpose of their existence: to provide immediate and transitional relief to those impacted by disasters. The lawsuit seeks to detain the immediate evictions of hundreds of evacuees and to require FEMA to extend alternative housing assistance to all eligible individuals.
The LJP Familia is shocked and dismayed by the barrage of immigrant justice reversals being perpetrated by the current administration. While we are processing how we’ve come to this point, we want you, our community, to know how we are tackling these assaults on our collective rights. We need the help of our allies now more than ever. You can make a difference by raising your voice, volunteering and donating.
LatinoJustice joins Muslim brothers and sisters around the country to reject this blanket discrimination of people based on national identity
New York, NY - President Trump has implemented an unnecessary "Zero Tolerance" policy that separated children at the border from their families. As a result of this, immigrants who have fled trauma or violence are faced with further trauma and heartbreak. Trump now wants to undo the harm his administration created by way of an Executive Order. Below is LatinoJustice's response to the Executive Order on Family Separation.
New York, NY – Today the United Nations is hosting a conversation that has plagued Puerto Rico for centuries, the question of Decolonization. The conversation at the UN will take into consideration the international norms on decolonization as well the recent developments around the debt crisis in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria recovery. LatinoJustice PRLDEF has been involved at all stages of the historical and recent developments, it is with this in mind that LatinoJustice PRLDEF issues the following statement:
New York, NY - Today LatinoJustice honored four Latina Trailblazers who have broken countless barriers to be leaders both in their industry and for the Latino/a community. Whether as community advocates or legal powerhouses, these Latinas epitomize the diversity and achievement of the Latina professional experience.
Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to the civil rights fight against voter suppression tactics in a 5-4 ruling in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, et al., where the Court upheld Ohio’s aggressive practice of purging voters for simply not voting.
In an amicus brief filed in 2017, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, were joined by 19 organizations who conveyed that the aggressive practice used in Ohio of purging voter rolls of individuals who had not voted in a two-year period, is harmful to communities of color, especially those with limited English proficiency in the Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Latinx communities.
New York, NY - LatinoJustice PRLDEF, The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Center for Law & Social Justice at Medgar Evers College are deeply concerned about New York City’s lack of significant progress and commitment to educational reform of its admissions policies for the City’s specialized high schools. The Mayor’s recently announced reforms are a good start but the reforms may be “too little too late”. Four consecutive years of admissions data under this administration paint a dismal picture of narrowing equal opportunity, and again raises questions as to why so few Latinx and Black public school students are being accepted into NYC’s eight specialized high schools.
We are horrified and not surprised by a new study just released by the New England Journal of Medicine showing that approximately 4,645 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Despite the government of Puerto Rico’s position that the official count remains at 64 deaths, scientists and independent journalist organizations like the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo in Puerto Rico have been researching and documenting what the government has refused to acknowledge and even tried to hide: the deaths of thousands of Puerto Ricans as a result of gross negligence by all levels of government. The death count – which is unknown and could be closer to 8,000 – was not directly caused by the hurricane, but rather by the tremendous incompetence and negligence of government in the months following. Thousands of people were denied access to food and water, as well as critical healthcare and shelter. Hundreds of thousands were forced to leave the island to seek medical attention, housing and economic opportunities elsewhere. Local government officials decided to politicize relief efforts, noting that the federal government had provided all the aid requested, while communities across the island were left abandoned and without access to fundamental services and goods critical for survival.
LOS ANGELES AND BAKERSFIELD, CA - This week advocates, academics and community members will gather in Los Angeles and Bakersfield for the 4th Annual national convening of Latinxs for criminal justice reform. This convening will also feature a preview of scenes from a work-in-progress film that LatinoJustice is developing in conjunction with esteemed director Carlos Sandoval.
Angelo Falcon, indefatigable producer of dozens of insightful email blasts per week from his bedroom in Brooklyn, champion of fair-hiring practices in New York City and State, census guru with few rivals, professor, textbook editor, gadfly, and political analyst, founder and president of the National Latino Policy Institute, passed away today. He leaves a tremendous void in the Puerto Rican and larger Latino community. On behalf of the Staff and Board of LatinoJustice PRLDEF we extend our condolences to his family and friends.
Earlier today the White house released a statement that further vilifies the Latino community. This statement was released the week when a forum is being hosted on Long Island to allegedly address gang violence on Long Island. Juan Cartagena, LatinoJustice’s President and General Counsel, issued the following statement in response:
Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced today that people arrested for certain minor offense should be released on their own recognizance and without monetary bail. The list of offenses include: misdemeanor cannabis possession, drug paraphernalia possession, driving on a suspended license, driving without a tag or valid registration, disorderly conduct, panhandling and loitering.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF applauds the call of the New York City Bar Association for a permanent exemption for Puerto Rico from the crippling effects of the antiquated, maritime requirements of the Jones Act which exacts a high price for food, goods, energy, and equipment shipped to the island
"It is US foreign policy that destabilized central America. It is our obligation to treat Hondurans with the safety protections that human rights law requires. It is an affront to all Central Americans and Latinos generally that this administration refuses to protect the rights of legitimate refugees," said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF.
On Wednesday, 25 April 2018 Juan Cartagena joined an illustrious group of lawyers, law professors, civil and constitutional rights leaders from Puerto Rico who oppose the local government’s plan to transfer 3,200 prisoners in Puerto Rico to privately administered prisons in the United States. The comprehensive statement in opposition (below) raises serious human rights concerns over the government’s plan to seek “voluntary” transfers to U.S. based private prisons given both the absurdity of securing voluntary compliance and the litany of violence and prisoner abuse in the private sector.
Earlier this week, Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) officers responded to a May Day march to protest school closures and austerity measures by using tear gas and violence against demonstrators, press, and legal observers. According to the ACLU of Puerto Rico, the PRPD response continued after the conclusion of the protests with warrantless arrests of demonstrators in their homes and dorm rooms. Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel for LatinoJustice and Sherrilyn A. Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following joint statement in response:
NEW YORK – April 26, 2018 – A coalition of New York-based immigrant rights advocates are calling for an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) continued courthouse raids that trample the Constitutional rights of immigrant New Yorkers. The demand comes a day after Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order to prohibit ICE arrests in state facilities without a warrant and highlighted ICE’s unconstitutional practices across the state.