Redistricting Lawsuit in Texas, Sanctuary Cities Bill, Immigration Town Hall, Awards Gala, Film on Children Farmworkers

MALDEF Files Redistricting Lawsuit in Texas

On June 17, individual voters and a united coalition of Latino organizations filed suit seeking Texas House and congressional districts that offer Latinos equal electoral opportunities. MALDEF represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Because of Latino growth as demonstrated by recently released Census data, Texas is required to increase the current number of Latino-majority Texas House and congressional districts in order to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act. The lead plaintiff in the case is the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force, a coalition of organizations committed to securing fair redistricting plans for Latinos and all Texans.

To read more about this lawsuit, including a statement by Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, click here.

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MALDEF and Coalition Partners Defeat Sanctuary Cities Bill in Texas

In the wake of numerous anti-immigrant proposals filed in the Texas Legislature, MALDEF remains committed to defend and promote the civil rights of the Latino community, including immigrants. There were over 85 anti-immigrant bills filed during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session. Most recently, we garnered broad support to attend and testify at public committee hearings in opposition to the so-called Sanctuary Cities bill (SB 9 and HB 9).

These bills would grant police and other local entities the option to ask a person about his or her immigration status. These misguided bills take authority away from localities to set their own priorities for public safety by shifting their focus to civil violations of federal law rather than criminal activities. A version of SB 9 had already passed one chamber and was going through the House, while HB 9 had yet to pass either chamber. However, time ran out for the passage of these proposals, and the Special Session ended Wednesday, June 29th.

Because of the unwavering support of people like you, MALDEF and our coalition partners were able to stave off this latest round of anti-immigrant proposals in Texas. It is important that we continue to stay informed on this issue and engaged by calling and visiting our legislators. Thank you for your involvement!

Immigration Town Hall with United States Secretary Hilda L. Solis; Panelists Included Thomas A. Saenz

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis hosted a town hall-style conversation on immigration reform for the 21st century at East Los Angeles College on Friday, May 27.

Respected business and community leaders and national immigration panelists included: Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel; Dolores Huerta, labor activist and civil rights icon; Laphonza Butler, President, Service Employees International Union, United Long Term Care Workers; Michael Czarcinski, General Manager, The Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Los Angeles; Father Richard Estrada, Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Los Angeles; Dr. Ernest H. Moreno, president, East Los Angeles College; and Kent Wong, director, University of California Los Angeles Labor Center.

MALDEF 2011 Washington, DC Awards Gala

On June 15, MALDEF held the 2011 Washington, D.C. Awards Gala at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington. The event attracts the area's most notable Congressional and community leaders in a celebration of the contributions and sacrifice made by this year’s honorees in advancing the cause of Latinos across the U.S.

Hosted by Master of Ceremonies Lili Estefan, of Univision's "El Gordo y La Flaca," this year's awards event featured special guests Dolores Huerta and Eva Longoria. Award recipients honored at the dinner included United States Secretary of Labor, The Honorable Hilda L. Solis, who received the Lifetime Achievement, Excellence in Government Service Award; The Honorable Cesar A. Perales, New York Secretary of State, who received the Lifetime Achievement, Excellence in Legal Service Award; and William and Susan Soza, who received the Lifetime Achievement, Excellence in Community Service Award.

MALDEF’s 2011 Washington, D.C. Awards Gala would not have been possible were it not for the event's many sponsors and supporters, including: Event Chair: Comcast; Legal Chairs: UPS Foundation, General Motors Company, and Anheuser-Busch, Inc.; Benefactor: Ibarra Strategy Group, Coca-Cola Company, AT&T, and the National Educational Association; as well as National Sponsor Southwest Airlines.

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"The Harvest": MALDEF Co-Hosts Press Conference and Screening for Film on Children Farmworkers

On June 16, 2011, MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz joined with actor, activist and board member Eva Longoria, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) and others to host a press conference on Capitol Hill to advocate for greater protections for farmworker children. At the press conference, Rep. Roybal-Allard announced the introduction of "The Children's Act for Responsible Employment" (CARE), legislation which ensures adequate protections for children working in our nation's agricultural fields.

Later that day, MALDEF, Longoria, and Rep. Roybal-Allard hosted a screening of "The Harvest" / "La Cosecha," a new film by Shine Global, U. Roberto Romano and Executive Producer Eva Longoria, that examines the day-to-day lives of child migrant laborers. The film focuses on three Latino youths, ages 12, 14 and 16, who are among the estimated 400,000 children who work as migrant laborers on America’s farms. Romano and Longoria hosted a Q&A following the screening. Dolores Huerta also delivered a heartfelt statement of support for the film and for the ongoing effort to improve the lived of farmworker children.

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Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund