Civil Rights are Human Rights, Human Rights are Civil Rights

The federal, state, and local governments are obligated to protect and affirmatively guarantee the human rights of all its residents, whether foreign-born or not, whether Latino or any other ethnicity. LatinoJustice PRLDEF is committed to ensuring that these rights are protected, whether that requires judicial intervention in domestic courts, or regional and international human rights bodies. Regardless of the borders between us, “every human being has the right to life, liberty and security of his person.” Chapter I, Article I, American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

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Sign here to urge the US government to address the allegations made in our petition to secure greater protection for all residents of the United States and further the well-being of our entire community.


Across the country, in the wake of steeped up efforts to enforce immigration law, there has been an increasing number of violent incidents against Latinos. This phenomenon is of particular concern because these incidents appear to be intensifying, rather than dissipating. Immigration enforcement policies are being intensified as well, without enough oversight or concern for the consequences of sending a message to United States society that it is acceptable to discriminate against Latinos.

For these and other reasons, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, charging the United States with failure to adequately protect its Latino residents. Our petition argues that it is becoming increasingly clear that the United States is encouraging a climate that fosters anti-Latino sentiment, as the government itself has instituted policies and practices that target the Latino population in its enforcement efforts, particularly in the areas of immigration policy.

These immigration policies – which include early morning pre-dawn raids of private homes by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents – have been undertaken with little regard for the human rights of Latinos and have targeted citizens, legal permanent residents and undocumented immigrants alike.

Additionally, rhetoric from the highest echelons of our national government to local politicians has led many to see Latino immigrants as invaders that require expulsion or whose culture is perceived as dangerous, even in day-to-day interactions. Often we have heard of individuals attacking others because they are speaking Spanish in public or employers harassing their employees for speaking Spanish on the job. Increasingly, we are witnessing teenagers attacking Latino day laborers on their way home from work. Latino workers are seen as a threat or are perceived as not valued members of society, meriting harsh treatment – whether in just how they are thought of or in actual treatment.

The United States has existing obligations under international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to ensure the life and safety to all of its residents, protections that extend to its newest residents and recent arrivals from the Americas and the rest of the world. This is why, while our efforts have usually focused on domestic impact civil rights work through litigation, we have chosen to file a petition before an international commission. It is also why our attorneys submitted testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights on the topic of the Implementation of Human Rights Treaties in the United States.

As a beacon of democracy and human rights, the United States is supposed to be an exemplar of justice and a safe haven for recent arrivals that seek to be part of the fabric of this country. As workers, families, and children, ALL Latino immigrants are contributors to the well-being of this society. They are the farmers, the factory workers, the nannies, the domestic workers, the landscapers and maintenance workers. They are also the doctors, the lawyers, the professionals and skilled workers that bring innovation to our economy. They all deserve the most basic protections of life and safety.

LatinoJustice PRLDEF · 99 Hudson Street 14th Floor · New York, NY 10013-2815 · P: 212.219.3360 · 800.328.2322 · F: 212.431.4276

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