MALDEF and TRUST aim to repeat success of 2011 session in future

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Today, a coalition of Texas business, faith based, and advocacy organizations known as Texas Residents United for a Stronger Texas (TRUST), launched a new website (, in partnership with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, to serve as a resource for advocates, community members, and policy makers seeking critical immigration information and resources. At the AFL-CIO headquarters in Austin, Texas, TRUST provided a demonstration of the website, and previewed a short film entitled “Shoulder to Shoulder” highlighting the coalition’s efforts in the 2011 Texas Legislative Session. MALDEF is one of the founding members of TRUST.

In the immigration context, TRUST advocates in support of legislation that encourages economic development, job creation, access to education at all levels, and implementing policies that embrace the cultural diversity of the state of Texas, among many other principles.

"State policymakers are continually barraged with anti-immigrant proposals that are ill-conceived, mean-spirited, and in many cases unconstitutional. With this new tool, advocates will be better equipped to educate their elected representatives on why these proposals are bad for state economies, public safety and their local communities," stated Luis Figueroa, Legislative Attorney for MALDEF.

The coalition achieved notable success during the 2011 Texas legislative session, helping to defeat the vast majority of the proposed eighty-five anti-immigrant bills. With the help of grassroots efforts and a combined effort of law enforcement officials, faith based leaders, business owners, students, legal experts, and advocates, attempts to put local police officers in the role of immigration officers similar to Arizona’s SB 1070, to repeal in-state tuition for DREAM students, and to mandate burdensome regulations such as e-verify all failed to gain passage.

"Texans deserve to know what took place during the state’s 2011 Legislative Session. Had many of those anti-immigrant policies passed, victims would have been discouraged from reporting crimes out of fear of deportation and counties would have had to bear the brunt of costly new enforcement measures," said Rebecca Bernhardt, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Policy Consultant and TRUST leader.

MALDEF is committed to ensuring that TRUST continues to defeat anti-immigrant legislation in Texas, and is excited to announce the launch of this critical bilingual tool for Texas residents seeking information about their rights under the law, and resources to help them navigate the immigration system in the state.

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