MALDEF Statement in Reference to Thomas A. Saenz and the U.S. Department of Justice

March 16, 2009

Today, MALDEF Chairman of the Board Patricia A. Madrid issued the following statement in reference to Thomas A. Saenz and the U.S. Department of Justice:

"Recently, MALDEF’s record of protecting the civil and constitutional rights of Latinos has come under attack by extremists. We reject these attacks and call upon elected officials of both parties, community and opinion leaders – our partners for justice over the past 40 years – to stand with us against a litany of demonizing and distorting the records of achievement of Latino leaders and organizations.

"The Constitution protects all persons – not all “white persons”; not all “citizens”; not all “natives”; and not all “legal residents.” The same rhetoric from the same extremists that kept the Congress from enacting responsible immigration reform has been unleashed unfairly and inaccurately against Thomas A. Saenz, a respected lawyer and advocate who has devoted his career to the advancement of the Latino community. In the 1960’s, Thurgood Marshall, Jr. underwent and withstood similarly vicious attacks and worse as he moved from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to exemplary government service as Solicitor General and Supreme Court Justice. The same resolve against injustice is vital now especially when Latinos are facing dramatic and violent hate crimes including murder.

"The battle for equality and justice is not over and MALDEF will continue to lead this fight."

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund