MALDEF in the News
You're a big supporter of Zack de la Rocha's SoundStrike campaign. What's he doing right?
He's raising money for legal organizations that are fighting the Arizona law like MALDEF and ACLU, but he's also helping out the junior community organizations.
The National Law Journal
Even as the controversial Arizona law was challenged in court by the U.S. Justice Department, and is now enjoined in part, with support from the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the ACLU and Munger, Tolles & Olson, the problems with the system have continued to grow. Not only are there far too few legal advocates; our immigration system is broken. A recent report done on a pro bono basis by Arnold & Porter for the American Bar Association, Reforming the Immigration System: Proposals to Promote Independence, Fairness, Efficiency, and Professionalism in the Adjudication of Removal Cases, presents 60 comprehensive recommendations for reform to the system. The report addresses the enormity of the problem, including the lack of representation and resources for immigrants at every level of the system. The mere fact that there are as many as 60 recommendations indicates a system that is truly broken — broken, but not unfixable.
MALDEF, the Dolores Huerta Foundation and the Mexican Heritage Corporation jointly announce dates in August and September for series of concerts in Los Angeles and San Jose with headliners that include Carlos Santana, Pete Escovedo, Lila Downs, Zack de la Rocha, Eugenia Leon, Intocable, Los Tigres del Norte, Los Lobos, Ozomatli, Los Tex Maniacs, Mariachi Cobre and Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano
Although many of the most offensive sections of the proposed new SB 1070 legislation were blocked from going into effect last Thursday, July 29th, some local Arizona authorities are taking the law into their own hands. We spoke to MALDEF lawyer Nina Perales—who was instrumental in winning the injunction against the laws—and asked her how to handle the situation if you do get pulled over by the police in Arizona.
New York Times
Thomas Saenz, the president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, links Arizona’s struggle to the civil rights era. He calls the state’s politicians the new nullifiers, descendants of the southern segregationists who fought for Jim Crow with the debased theory that states had the power to invalidate federal law. It took federal action and protesters stirring the nation’s conscience to make the point: You cannot treat people this way.
On July 20, both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund filed lawsuits to stop enforcement of the law.
Both lawsuits charged that the law is unconstitutional and encroaches on the federal government's authority to enforce immigration law. The groups also said the ordinance, if implemented, will have a discriminatory effect on those who look or sound foreign.
The court blocked the provision that would create an Arizona ban on undocumented persons applying for, soliciting or performing work. However, the court did not block the provisions that prohibit day laborers from being hired if the party hiring them impedes traffic. The civil rights coalition maintains these sections violate free speech protections and are confident that they too will ultimately be barred as unconstitutional under the First Amendment.*
The civil rights coalition that also challenged the law includes the ACLU, MALDEF, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) – a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP is acting as co-counsel in the case.
Still, it's worth the effort. "A small, good deal is better than no deal at all," says Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and a convenor of the National Latino Congreso, a coalition of major Hispanic groups.
"We want comprehensive reform, but right now we need a lifeboat," he told me. "We need to take care of the people we can."
The National Latino Congreso includes the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The trail began twisting in 2008, when the Fremont City Council narrowly rejected the measure. That prompted activists to launch a petition drive for a special election, which the state Supreme Court ordered over the objections of city officials. Ordinance 5165 — which city officials argued would unconstitutionally pre-empt federal immigration law — passed with 57 percent of the vote. But within weeks, it was met with lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.
Capitol Media Services
THOMAS SAENZ, PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL, MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND: Tomorrow promises to be a much brighter day in Arizona than anyone thought it would be just 24 hours ago. Of course, even today's great victory must be tempered by the knowledge that any provision that remains in place is ripe for misuse. The hard work to vindicate fully our federal constitutional values must continue.
The New York Times
“This is a warning to any other jurisdiction” considering a similar law, said Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund , which brought a separate suit against the law that is also before Judge Bolton.
The Associated Press
U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp said during a hearing that she wasn't sure whether she had jurisdiction over the lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, also known as MALDEF.
The Associated Press
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, also known as MALDEF, filed lawsuits claiming Fremont's voter-approved ban is discriminatory. Both civil rights groups also sought temporary injunctions to stop the ordinance from being enforced while the lawsuits proceed.
But neither partisanship nor political ideology will carry the weight that minority rights carry in redistricting, Figueroa, the staff attorney for MALDEF, said. All new districts created or changed during redistricting must comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the landmark legislation that outlawed discriminatory voting practices.
The “fajita strip” districts that run north-south from the Valley were created out of necessity to avoid claims of “packing” and “cracking,” the redistricting practices where minority votes are concentrated or diluted to reduce their ability to sway elections, he said.
The Arizona Republic
Arizona's law has generated seven lawsuits in U.S. District Court, including Obama-administration litigation that challenges it as an unconstitutional attempt by Arizona to usurp federal authority over immigration policy. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and like-minded groups are suing on civil-rights grounds.
The Associated Press
U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp will hear requests Wednesday afternoon from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund.
The two civil-rights groups filed lawsuits this week to prevent the law from taking effect next Thursday in Fremont, Neb. They say the voter-approved ordinance amounts to discrimination.
The Associated Press
Nina Perales, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said it's clear there will be an increase in spurious police stops of drivers because officers will feel compelled to ask people about their immigration status.
"(Police) already are ramping up traffic stops and relying on them for immigration checks," Perales said, citing operations conducted by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's department.
NPR's Ted Robbins is at the courthouse in Phoenix, and he joins us where we can actually hear some protests going on behind you, Ted. There are two separate challenges being heard today. Let's start first with the challenge from the ACLU and other civil rights groups. What did the judge hear from them?
TED ROBBINS: Well, Michele, the judge heard from a coalition of civil rights and immigrant rights groups, such as the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project and MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. And their argument was both that it's unconstitutional because it should be federal law -immigration law that is - and that there were some potential civil rights violations here. And then we heard the state's attorney reacting to that, and now, the judge is hearing from the Department of Justice.
Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the National Immigration Law Center focus primarily on how the law would be enforced. Among the arguments is there is too much leeway in how it should be enforced to make it fair. Courts generally have said laws need to be clear about what actions will get people in legal trouble.
The Associated Press
FREMONT, Neb. -- The two lawsuits filed Wednesday against a small Nebraska city for its ban on hiring and renting to illegal immigrants worried some in the community that it would only worsen tensions over the new ordinance.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, also known as MALDEF, filed lawsuits against Fremont, saying the voter-approved ordinance amounted to discrimination.
Currently reading page 1 of 7.