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.
::New York, NY:: A Manhattan federal court ruled on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, that the owner of the Kum Gang San restaurants, Ji Sung Yoo, fraudulently transferred his property to his wife in order to avoid paying a wage theft judgment of $2.7 million to 11 Asian and Latino workers.
“This administration is once again exalting certain “persons” in the United States over others in a capricious, harmful and alarming way to demean and devalue the contributions of all residents,” said Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “The 14th Amendment protects all “persons” not just citizens of our country. It has long been settled and accepted that all people – regardless of their citizenship, place of birth, religion or any other standard – are counted and are encouraged to participate in the census. The inclusion of the U.S. Citizenship question contradicts our values as a country of immigrants.”
A Latina soldier in the United States Army Reserve who sued the US Government for indefinitely delaying her citizenship application was sworn in today.
Legal organizations based in the U.S., working with investigative journalists in Puerto Rico, filed multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) seeking detailed information concerning the agency’s inadequate, and often incomprehensible, efforts to provide emergency relief after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017.
Jerónimo Saldaña has joined LatinoJustice PRLDEF as the leader of a new national Latinx collaborative that will focus on ending the over criminalization of communities of color. Jerónimo will co-direct the Justice Reform Collaborative, a national effort to elevate the voices of Latinxs on criminal justice reform issues.
Jason Hernandez, one of the first individuals to receive clemency under President Barack Obama, was named as LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s inaugural Media Fellow under a new grant recommended by The Open Philanthropy Project. The fellowship program is intended to allow a member of the Latinx community to document and eventually publish an account of his or her direct involvement with the criminal justice and correction system.
A Latina soldier in the United States Army Reserve sued the US Government for indefinitely delaying her citizenship application which has been pending adjudication for almost a year.