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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Every decade since at least 1981, the release of Census data and the subsequent redistricting process has created new opportunities for Latino political advancement as a result of the growth and prominence of the Latino community throughout the nation. Unfortunately, achieving this progress has always required strong and informed advocacy, as well as litigation under the Constitution and under section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA). Each decade, MALDEF has been an acknowledged national leader in this hard-fought work. This year is no exception – in both the hopefulness of the Census data and the challenge in securing districts where Latino voters have the ability to elect candidates of choice. Census data show that Latinos accounted for over half the population growth of the nation as a whole, and 27 states now exceed ten percent in Latino population. Yet, we are already litigating statewide redistricting issues in Illinois and in Texas. In both cases, the majority party in the state legislature (Democrats in Illinois, Republicans in Texas) adopted maps that dismantle existing Latino-majority districts and that fail to create new Latino-majority districts, even though, in both states, Latinos experienced significant growth in comparison to other population groups. At MALDEF, we know that this is just the beginning of our work, likely to continue through most of the decade, to secure Latino voting rights in fair electoral districts.

As we undertake this critical redistricting work, we also recognize the need for reinvigorated federal voting rights laws and the necessity of acting to ensure that young Latino immigrants can continue to make their essential contributions to our national economy, security, and community. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with all of you!

News Releases

MALDEF STATEMENT ON BUFFALO MASS MURDER

LOS ANGELES – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the following statement in the aftermath of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York...

MALDEF STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF PROFESSOR MICHAEL OLIVAS

LOS ANGELES – MALDEF mourns the passing of Michael A. Olivas, who died today in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A longtime supporter of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), he served on the organization’s Board of...

MALDEF HONORS COMMUNITY LEADERS AT LOS ANGELES AWARDS BANQUET

LOS ANGELES –  MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) awarded community service awards to three esteemed leaders at its first Los Angeles gala since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony was...

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Our History

The Legal Fight to Protect The First Amendment Right of Day Laborers

Workers who are hired by the day have long been part of the American labor force. In the 19th Century, they were immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Poland. Later, immigrants from the American South, Black and white, were a native-born stream flowing into this pool of labor. But, for decades the clusters of men seeking work outside home repair stores or gathered on street corners in Southern California have been largely from Mexico and Central America.

Celebrating a History of Women Leaders at MALDEF​​

Ambassador Vilma Martinez (left) Thomas A. Saenz (center) and Antonia Hernández (right).
(Photo taken at MALDEF’s 50th Anniversary Gala in San Antonio, Texas.)

As we near the conclusion of Women’s History Month, MALDEF celebrates its organizational history of women in leadership. For the majority of its existence since 1968, MALDEF has been led by women as president and general counsel. Women’s rights organizations aside, MALDEF may be the only national civil rights organization that can make that claim. We spoke with two of these women leaders, women relied upon by MALDEF through their many years of leadership and all the way up to today. MALDEF’s current president and general counsel, Thomas A. Saenz, has benefitted from both these leaders as professional mentors throughout his legal career.

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Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund