Press Releases

Jul 12, 2017: Transparency Victory: NJ Supreme Court Largely Sides with Police Accountability

“LatinoJustice joins with our colleagues at the ACLU-NJ in cheering the unanimous decision issued by the New Jersey Supreme Court today concerning police accountability in North Jersey Media Group v. Lyndhurst, a pivotal case that will play a large role in shaping police transparency in New Jersey.”

Jul 11, 2017: Tale of Two New Yorks Endures under de Blasio as NYPD Continues Discriminatory Marijuana Arrests

New York, NY: A new report released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance, shows that marijuana possession arrests under Mayor de Blasio continue to be marked by extremely high racial disparities, as was the case under the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations.

Jul 10, 2017: Fifteen Puerto Rican Farmworkers File Lawsuit for Discrimination and Workplace Violations

Fifteen Puerto Rican farmworkers who were recruited to work in Michigan, housed in inhospitable conditions, paid and treated unfairly and were all fired after repeated comments comparing them to other Latino workers, filed a lawsuit charging discrimination and labor abuses in violation of state and federal statutes.

Jul 10, 2017: New Drug Policy Alliance Report: It's Time for the U.S. to Decriminalize Drug Use and Possession

An unprecedented and wide-ranging coalition of powerful stakeholders is calling for an end to the widespread practice of arresting people solely for drug use or possession. A press teleconference this Tuesday will be accompanied by the release of a new Drug Policy Alliance report, endorsed by over 30 organizations, that lays out a roadmap for how U.S. jurisdictions can move toward ending the criminalization of people who use drugs.

Jul 7, 2017: LatinoJustice Urges Port Chester to Reject Plan to Work with ICE and They Do

Port Chester Village board members announced Wednesday that they would not enter into an agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which would have required the police department to provide information about residents to ICE agents.

May 22, 2017: Statement of Juan Cartagena In Support of the National Puerto Rican Parade Recognizing Oscar Lopez Rivera

Throughout the last six years LatinoJustice PRLDEF supported the commutation of the disproportionate criminal sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera. His original sentence of 55 years for conspiracy to commit sedition and, subsequently, 15 additional years for conspiracy to escape were both grossly disproportionate with other sentences emitted by federal courts at the time. With over 35 years of incarceration, 12 of them in solitary confinement, we easily concluded that the only purpose of jailing Lopez Rivera was retribution, pure and simple. Given his age and the inordinate length of the sentence it was equally clear that he was sentenced for his political beliefs.

May 17, 2017: LatinoJustice Opens Satellite Office in Touro Law Center in Long Island

LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a national leader in the fight for Latino civil and human rights, has opened up a satellite office located at the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center in Central Islip. The office is staffed by a legal fellow and a community organizer, and will also be used by LatinoJustice’s NYC-based legal staff working in Long Island.

May 8, 2017: LatinoJustice & Dēmos File Amicus in Supreme Court Case Challenging Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law under the Voting Rights Act

LatinoJustice PRLDEF (“LatinoJustice”) and Dēmos submitted an amici curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court today in support of a petition for certiorari challenging Michigan’s controversial Emergency Manager Law, Public Act (PA) 436, arguing that laws which remove governmental authority from locally-elected officials in municipalities that have disproportionately large minority populations are discriminatory and subject to scrutiny under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and that the Sixth Circuit ruled in error below by failing to examine the statute under Section 2’s totality of circumstances test. The amici are represented by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

Apr 28, 2017: Westchester Activists Urge DA to Create Special Unit to Serve Immigrant Community

LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Hudson Valley Community Coalition and the Westpac Foundation have sent a letter to Westchester District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino urging him to create an Office of Immigrant Affairs to better serve Latina/o/x’s and other immigrant residents in the lower Hudson Valley.

Apr 11, 2017: National Experts on Latinos & Criminal Justice Reform will Convene in Orlando

More than 30 scholars, reformers, activist, lawyers and policy analysts will gather in Orlando on April 18-19 to discuss issues around Latinos and the criminal justice system. The free, open-to-the-public convening will cover topics such as the death penalty, felon disenfranchisement, bail reform, drug policy, and ICE raids and detainers.

Apr 10, 2017: LatinoJustice Hires New Lawyer for Orlando Office

Kira Romero-Craft, an experienced lawyer in immigration and juvenile justice issues, has joined LatinoJustice PRLDEF as an associate counsel. Romero-Craft will be based in the organization’s Orlando office serving the entire Southeast region of the country.

Apr 6, 2017: LatinoJustice Urges NYS Chief Judge to Stop ICE agents from Stalking Immigrants in Courthouses

Allowing immigration agents to stalk and arrest undocumented immigrants in courthouses undermines the judicial system and results in “separating children from parents, breaking up families who have lived together for decades,” and could cut off many immigrants from legal representation, according to a letter sent from LatinoJustice PRLDEF to New York State Chief Justice Hon. Janet DeFore.

Apr 6, 2017: Strong Opposition from Latino Leaders on ‘Nuclear Option’ to Confirm Judge Gorsuch

Washington, DC – Today, Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary (HFJ) gathered Latino leaders from across the community to share their perspective on the confirmation process of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, including analysis of Senate Republicans putting into motion the “nuclear option,” a rule change that would allow the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices by a simple majority, rather than a 60 vote threshold.

Apr 6, 2017: NATIONAL LATINO LEADERS: SCRAP FEDERAL PROGRAM THAT DEPUTIZES POLICE AS IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT AGENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 46 of the nation’s most preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, calls on the federal government to end the 287(g) program, which permits the federal government to deputize inadequately trained state and local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law. In a resolution adopted by NHLA’s board, the coalition also committed itself to a campaign to discourage local and state jurisdictions from entering into 287(g) agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and to instead adopt community trust policies that strengthen the relationships among local law enforcement, city officials, and immigrant residents and their families.

Apr 3, 2017: The Independent Commission Studying Rikers Island Outlines Plan to Close Jail Facilities on Rikers Island

NEW YORK, NY - The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, which included LatinoJustice President and General Counsel Juan Cartagena, joined by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – who convened the Commission in early 2016 – Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, advocates, and formerly incarcerated individuals and family members, outlined a detailed, achievable plan to permanently close Rikers Island and establish of five state-of-the-art borough-based jail facilities. The Commission’s recommendation to close Rikers were detailed in its final report released on Friday, following more than a year of in-depth research and extensive community outreach.

Mar 17, 2017: LATINO LEADERS APPLAUD DECISION BY STATE ATTORNEY AYALA TO NO LONGER PURSUE THE DEATH PENALTY IN FUTURE CASES

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 40 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations which includes LatinoJustice and Hispanic Federation, stands firm with the decision of Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala to no longer pursue the death penalty in future cases. This decision comes at a critical time, as Florida recently approved a bill that reinstates the death penalty after its use was put on hold following the Hurst v. Florida verdict. With this reinstatement, State Attorney Ayala’s decision is of utmost importance in developing criminal justice reforms that provide for a more humane and fair criminal justice system.

Mar 15, 2017: LatinoJustice joins Korematsu Center in filing District of Hawai`i amicus brief in State of Hawai`i and Ismail Elshikh v. Trump et al.

NEW YORK – LatinoJustice joined the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality (Korematsu Center), the children of litigants in the Japanese relocation and incarceration cases from World War II, civil rights organizations, and national bar associations of color in filing an amicus brief on March 10, 2017 in State of Hawai`i and Ismail Elshikh v. Trump et al., pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai`i. The brief supports a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s Executive Order 13780 (March 6, 2017), entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”, which replaces Executive Order 13769 (January 27, 2017), of the same title.

Mar 10, 2017: 156 Civil and Human Rights Groups Call for Stronger Response to Hate Incidents

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, LatinoJustice and 154 civil and human rights groups today called upon the Executive Branch to respond more quickly and forcefully to hate-based incidents, which have been occurring at an alarming rate in recent months. The statement follows:

Mar 8, 2017: NEW YORK IN VIOLATION OF “MOTOR VOTER” LAW AND THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT

March 8, 2017 (New York, NY) – Attorneys for Hispanic Federation, Voto Latino, Chhaya CDC, MinKwon Center for Community Action, and New York resident William Towbin sent a pre-litigation notice letter late yesterday, alleging that the state is failing to meet its obligations under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). The letter was sent to Todd D. Valentine and Robert A. Brehm, Co-Executive Directors of the New York State Board of Elections (NYSBOE), as well as Theresa L. Egan, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

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