We live in a place that relies on foreign newspapers to tell us how many black and brown persons are killed at the hands of police.
María D. Meléndez, a partner at the international law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, was elected as Chair of the Board of Directors of LatinoJustice PRLDEF during its last quarterly board meeting.
This morning, the Supreme Court affirmed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Fisher v. University of Texas, and held that the University of Texas at Austin’s race-conscious admission program is lawful under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Late last year, MALDEF and LatinoJustice PRLDEF filed an amicus brief on behalf of over 20 national Latino advocacy groups supporting the race-conscious admissions program. Statements from MALDEF and LatinoJustice in reaction to today’s decision are below.
The administration in November 2014 announced the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative as well as an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Texas and 25 other states subsequently filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Texas challenging the President’s executive actions. The new deferred action programs were enjoined by a federal district court judge in February 2015 which decision was subsequently upheld by a split 2-1 panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in November 2015. The federal government then appealed the case to the Supreme Court.
Fifteen Puerto Rican farmworkers who were recruited to work in Michigan and were all fired after repeated comments comparing them to other Latino workers, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging discrimination on the basis of their national origin.
For the second time in a week, the Supreme Court has again rejected Puerto Rico’s attempts to exercise its self-governing powers — this time, nullifying the island’s legislative enactment of its own bankruptcy law which would have provided a way to enable it to work its own way out of more than $20 billion in public debt. The five-to-two ruling in Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust on Monday further limited Puerto Rico’s plenary powers by precluding the island from trying to unilaterally restructure the huge financial debt incurred by its public utilities.
Public Interest Fellowships Are Available at LatinoJustice PRLDEF for Fall 2017
LatinoJustice PRLDEF mourns the passing of civil rights lawyer Ramón Jiménez, who fought countless battles in the name of protecting the rights of low wage families, students, the homeless and many others in need. He fought for civil rights for the past 5 decades.
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.