Press Releases

Feb 13, 2017: Re-entry and Legal Advocates File Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court

“Over 70 million Americans, nearly a third of the entire civilian workforce have some form of criminal history record today,” notes Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “Excessive policing and policies that focus on minor nonviolent offenses have exacerbated this problem especially for black and Latino communities but in all marginalized communities of the country. Best practices show that this focus does not promote public safety and the consequences in the labor market are devastating because of employment background checks. Judge Gleeson’s decision to order the expungement in this case is an important judicial check on abuse of authority in the co-branches of government.”

Feb 8, 2017: Advocacy Groups and Legal Scholars: Miami-Dade County Immigration Jail Policy Will Not Lead to Loss of Federal Funding

Numerous legal scholars, and local advocacy groups urged the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners to uphold a county resolution that has saved millions of tax dollars and improved community relations with police by not requiring officers to detain people for immigration authorities in county jails. The resolution’s future has been imperiled by Mayor Carlos Giménez’s Jan. 26 directive that the county hold immigrants for the federal government at taxpayer expense.

Feb 2, 2017: Settlement Will End Unconstitutional NYPD Stops, Frisks and Arrests in Clean Halls Buildings

Civil rights groups announced a settlement today with the NYPD that will reform the program under which police officers patrol inside thousands of private apartment buildings across New York City. Under the settlement with the New York Civil Liberties Union, The Bronx Defenders, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the law firm of Shearman & Sterling in the federal class-action case Ligon v. City of New York, the NYPD must comply with clear standards limiting stops, frisks and arrests of people in buildings enrolled in the program. The NYPD must also train and supervise officers involved in this enforcement activity, tighten standards for building participation in the program, submit to years of monitoring, and pay nearly a quarter million dollars to the lead plaintiffs in the case. The federal court in Manhattan must still approve the settlement.

Jan 31, 2017: Latino Workers File Federal Complaint Against Hudson Valley’s Ideal Snacks

Two Latino factory workers filed a complaint against Ideal Snacks Corp for violating the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1988. The complaint, filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, describes a mass layoff by the company in May 2015 affecting over 200 employees, exceeding half of its then work force, in violation of the WARN Act.

Jan 31, 2017: LatinoJustice President Juan Cartagena Statement Opposing Judge Gorsuch Nomination as Supreme Court Justice

The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court cannot be assessed simply by looking at his judicial record – a record that apparently shows that he has antipathy for plaintiffs who seek to expand civil rights protections to be more inclusive of our diverse society, that he will likely side with business interests over workers’ rights, and that he may imperil women’s rights and reproductive rights. Indeed, as an extremely conservative jurist his record is alarming to many of us who recognize the impact of nominating a person of his relatively young age to the highest court.

Jan 27, 2017: LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Center for Investigative Journalism Request Information About Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Control Board

San Juan, PR – Several rights groups filed a request with the White House, Treasury Department and the Office of Government Ethics on January 26, 2017 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA for information concerning the federal fiscal control board established under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) began the comprehensive, public and legal process with the support of LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the Center for Constitutional Rights, both based in New York, who are representing CPI with respect to the FOIA requests.

Jan 27, 2017: Robert Garcia, Former Congressman and LatinoJustice PRLDEF Board Member, Dies at 84

Former Bronx Congressman and LatinoJustice PRLDEF board member Robert García died this week in Puerto Rico. He was 84. Garcia was raised in the South Bronx to Puerto Rican parents. He served in the Army during the Korean War and was awarded two Bronze Stars for valor.

Jan 17, 2017: President Obama Pardons Puerto Rican Activist Oscar López Rivera

After 36 years in prison, Puerto Rican activist Oscar López Rivera was pardoned by President Obama just days before leaving office. Rivera, whose pardon has been advocated by LatinoJustice PRLDEF, hundreds of organizations, activists, world leaders and Pope Francis will be released from federal prison within the next four months.

Jan 13, 2017: LatinoJustice and DEMOS Release Framework and Recommendations to Empower State and Local Governments and Institutions to Provide Sanctuary for Immigrants

New York, NY – Demos and LatinoJustice PRLDEF released a report designed to equip state and local jurisdictions and institutions with much-needed guidance to establish community policies that welcome and protect immigrants. The report, titled “Sanctuary, Safety, and Community – Tools for Welcoming and Protecting Immigrants through Local Democracy,” is available in English and Spanish.

Jan 12, 2017: Civil Rights Groups Applaud DOJ’s Intervention in Lawsuit Against New York City Board of Elections

Washington, D.C.—The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), together with Common Cause/New York, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the law firm of Dechert LLP, applaud the Justice Department for filing a motion to intervene in their lawsuit against the New York City Board of Elections (NYC BOE).

Jan 11, 2017: Top Elected Officials, Clergy, And Human Rights Leaders To Deliver Petitions To White House Today Demanding Clemency For Imprisoned Puerto Rican Activist

January 11, 2017, Washington D.C. - Prominent supporters of imprisoned Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, who turned 74 years old last week in his thirty-fifth year behind bars, will deliver 100,000 petitions to the White House this afternoon, Wednesday, January 11. Grammy-award winning artist Rene Perez, Illinois Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, Florida Congressman Darren Soto, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, will lead the delegation demanding that President Obama use his presidential power of pardon to grant López Rivera clemency in the last week of Obama’s tenure in office. “Our deeply profound and moral commitment to Oscar and his freedom,” asserted the group, “once again brings us to the gates of the White House.” Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice is a part of the delegation.

Dec 15, 2016: New Digital Feature Seeks to Measure Accuracy of Criminal Justice Data on Latinos

In an attempt to determine the amount of missing data that would be needed to help policymakers and advocates understand Latinos’ relationship to criminal justice, the Urban Institute has launched a new digital feature that seeks to address the lack of data available on Latinos in the criminal justice system.

Dec 12, 2016: LatinoJustice Seeks $98,000 In Backwages for Undocumented Immigrant Building Worker Under Special State Minimum Wage Law

By day he was a fulltime porter cleaning a Bronx apartment building with over 70 apartments. Juan Valdez (pseudonym used to protect his identity) worked seven days a week for the past six years in exchange for a free room in the basement of the building without receiving any pay from his employer as mandated by law. At night and on his off time, he would collect empty bottles and cans in order to try and earn enough money to buy food.

Nov 14, 2016: Our Resolve Has Not Changed

The result of the presidential election has created much fear, concern and angst in the Latino and broader community. We are already hearing stories of Latinos being harassed by those who now feel more freedom to target our community. But the results did not change the work of LatinoJustice, nor our focus and our commitment to mobilize to advance civil and human rights for the full diversity of Latino communities, and our broader society.

Nov 5, 2016: Civil Rights Groups Achieve Emergency Relief for Purged Voters in Lawsuit Against New York City Board of Elections

Following a hearing in a lawsuit seeking emergency relief for voters purged from the registration rolls in New York City, a federal judge ordered Friday night that the New York City Board of Elections must require poll workers across New York City to provide affidavit ballots to individuals who believe they were registered to vote but whose names do not appear on the registration rolls. Those affidavit ballots may be counted. The lawsuit, brought by LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) and the law firm of Dechert LLP, against the New York City Board of Elections (NYC BOE) was filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of Common Cause and individual plaintiffs, which challenged the NYC BOE’s premature removal of voters from the registration rolls, as violating the National Voter Registration Act.

Nov 4, 2016: LatinoJustice Launches Voter Protection App to Help Defend The Latino Vote

Today, LatinoJustice PRLDEF joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) and the law firm of Dechert LLP, filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The lawsuit seeks emergency relief restoring the voting rights of New York City voters who were improperly removed from the rolls to ensure that their ballots will be counted this election cycle.

Nov 4, 2016: Civil Rights Groups Seek Emergency Relief for Purged New York Voters in Advance

Today, LatinoJustice PRLDEF joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) and the law firm of Dechert LLP, filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The lawsuit seeks emergency relief restoring the voting rights of New York City voters who were improperly removed from the rolls to ensure that their ballots will be counted this election cycle.

Oct 17, 2016: LatinoJustice Launches Smartphone Voter Protection App for Latino Voters

LatinoJustice PRLDEF launched a new smartphone app and voter protection app tied to a broader Cada Voto Cuenta Voter Protection project to help citizens report voting violations while voting in the 2016 elections.

Sep 27, 2016: Voting Rights Groups Produce Spanish Language Voter Educational Materials for National Voter Registration Day

In order to help millions of Spanish speaking voters and respond to the lack of online voting information in Spanish, a coalition of voting rights groups have produced a series of helpful Spanish-language graphics and educational materials for National Voter Registration Day and Election Day. The materials are available online.

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