After six years of difficult litigation, the United States Department of Commerce today entered into a landmark class action settlement in Gonzalez et. al. v. Penny Pritzker, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce,(formerly, Houser v. Pritzker) resolving the claims of African American and Latino plaintiffs whose employment applications for over one million temporary jobs for the 2010 decennial census had been rejected by the De-partment’s Census Bureau by using an unlawful criminal background check policy to screen applicants. About four million applicants had sought temporary jobs involving data collection and door-to-door requesting information from residents for the 2010 decennial census.
Over 35 faith-based groups and human rights organizations filed a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States denouncing the joint campaign of the United States and Mexico--the infamous Plan Frontera Sur--to interdict and summarily deport persons--including thousands of children and families--fleeing rampant violence in Central America's "northern triangle": Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
WASHINGTON –– The Supreme Court unanimously ruled today in Evenwel v. Abbott that a state or locality is allowed to draw its legislative districts based on total population alone. The Supreme Court found that as constitutional history, precedent, and practice demonstrate, a state or locality may draw its legislative districts based upon total population rather than utilizing a voter-population baseline.
Members of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of the nation's 40 preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, and Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary (HFJ), a non-partisan network of elected officials, legal, civil rights, labor, academic and political leaders, spoke on the issues at stake for the Latino community if Senate leaders continue to refuse to give full consideration, including a hearing and a vote, to any Supreme Court nominee this year. They also outlined components of a national campaign to urge the Senate to act, including direct outreach to Senators on Capitol Hill and in their home states, events across the country, and social media efforts to mobilize Latino engagement.
In one of the biggest hate crime prosecutions in the history of New York State, affecting 26 Latino victims of multiple acts of larceny and racial profiling by a uniformed member of the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), the Suffolk County District Attorney today failed to recommend a minimum set criminal term of imprisonment against defendant SCPD Sgt. Scott Greene.
Long Island City, NY — The New York State Board of Regents voted this week to begin a process to permit qualified non-‐citizens to obtain professional licenses. Advocates from CUNY Law, its Center on Latino/a Rights and Equality (CLORE), LatinoJusticePRLDEF, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) successfully worked to persuade the Board that recent developments in federal and New York State courts removed prior restrictions.
On behalf of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Gilberto Gerena Valentín who passed away this weekend in Lares, Puerto Rico. Mr. Gerena Valentín was a mainstay of Puerto Rican activism in New York City and throughout the Puerto Rican diáspora and he was a former client of mine in a major Voting Rights Act case in 1981.
César Vargas, who was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was 5 years old and eventually graduated from law school, was sworn in as a lawyer today more than four years after passing the bar. Cesar was one of the first DREAMers to graduate from law school and apply for bar admission in New York State.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF applauds the Supreme Court for deciding to hear an important immigration case before the end of this year’s term in June. A coalition of immigration, civil rights, labor, and social service groups had urged Supreme Court to protect President’s Executive Actions on Immigration.
Long Island advocates are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Suffolk County Police Department (“SCPD”) after jurors found SCPD Sergeant Scott Greene not guilty on most of the charges related to targeting Latino drivers and robbing them of money. Many advocates are now calling for the DOJ to take control over Suffolk’s police force.
On the occasion of Oscar López Rivera’s 73rd birthday today, we demand that President Obama show compassion and release the country’s longest serving political prisoner. In his 34th year behind bars, the release of López Rivera is an international cause célèbre, which everyone from Bishop Desmond Tutu to members of Congress to South American presidents calling for his release.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, LatinoJustice joined the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) and leading Latino/a health and civil rights groups in filing an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, a case the Supreme Court will hear on March 2 of this year, reviewing two pieces of Texas’ omnibus anti-abortion law, H.B. 2. The law has already resulted in the closure of most of the abortion clinics in the state. The brief was co-authored by Cynthia Soohoo, the CUNY School of Law International Women’s Human Rights Clinic and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP.
A coalition of 224 immigration, civil rights, labor, and social service groups has filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief urging the Supreme Court to review Texas v. U.S., the case that has temporarily blocked some of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The filing comes less than a month after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction put in place by a Texas federal district court that blocked implementation of protections for millions of immigrants across the country.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) will convene a roundtable discussion on Latinos and the Criminal Justice System in Washington, D.C. this week. The meeting will be attended by some of the nation’s leading national Latino organizations, including MALDEF, LULAC, NCLR, and the Hispanic Federation, among many others.
Suffolk Laundry Services, Inc. will pay $582,000 to eight former Latina employees to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The company also agreed to implement new procedures and training on sexual harassment for all employees to ensure that these abuses do not reoccur in the future.
Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF issued the following statement on the passing of attorney Jackie Berrien on Tuesday.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court Monday in Fisher v. University of Texas on behalf of 25 Texas and national Latina/o organizations, including UT students in support of the race-conscious college admissions plan.
Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, a staff attorney at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, has been named President of the National Lawyers Guild.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF supports bipartisan efforts in the U.S. Senate as important first steps to establishing practical and important reforms that will transform a broken criminal justice system.