NHLA STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH MALDEF, DEFENDS ORGANIZATION’S RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s most preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, stands in solidarity with its member organization, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), as it faces a federal lawsuit initiated by the State of Texas for exercising its constitutional right to free speech. MALDEF, founded in Texas and considered the “law firm of the Latino community,” has been fighting for the rights of Latinos for nearly half a century. MALDEF has a long track record of defending the Latino community against unlawful and vicious attacks like this one. The state of Texas’ actions to attempt to muzzle MALDEF, targeting the organization because it spoke out against the law, is counter to our constitutional principles and plainly serves as an intimidation tactic to quiet others who similarly believe that this law is harmful to the state of Texas and its citizenry.
Recently, NHLA condemned Texas SB 4, citing the fact that it is a disastrous piece of legislation that will threaten the health, safety, and civil rights of individuals, lead to wasting taxpayer dollars, and place an undue burden on law enforcement officials to enforce immigration laws. We stand with MALDEF as it defends itself against these attacks by the State of Texas and with all others who are fighting SB 4.
“For Texas to bring a federal lawsuit against MALDEF on the basis of negative commentary lacks legal substance and in fact jeopardizes MALDEF’s constitutional right to free speech. MALDEF is a critical member of NHLA, and we respect and support its work in fighting SB 4. This fight is reflective of our key Latino priorities and we will not stand idle while community members and leaders are under attack for defending such priorities. NHLA will continue mobilizing against policies that harm our community and the progress of our nation,” said Hector Sanchez Barba, Chair of NHLA and Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.
“The League of United Latin American Citizens condemns the State of Texas for filing an unconstitutional federal lawsuit against MALDEF seeking to infringe upon the civil rights organization’s free speech rights,” stated Brent A. Wilkes, Treasurer of NHLA and CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “LULAC stands by MALDEF and calls upon the State of Texas to withdraw the lawsuit and repeal SB 4—the state’s ‘show me your papers’ law.”
“HACU echoes MALDEF’s strong opposition, along with all NHLA members, to SB 4. By overreaching to college/university campuses, SB 4 disregards the principles of the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) that provide temporary legal protection from immigration prosecution to undocumented-immigrant minors. This law only adds to the fear and anxiety of DACA students, even as federal officials maintain that they are not deportable, and we hope that our judicial courts will block it indefinitely,” said Antonio Flores, Co-Chair of NHLA's Education Committee and President and CEO of HACU.
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ABOUT THE NATIONAL HISPANIC LEADERSHIP AGENDA
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is composed of 45 of the nation’s most preeminent Latino civil rights and public policy organizations, elected officials, and prominent Latinos Americans. NHLA coalition members represent the diversity of the Latino community – Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latino Americans. NHLA’s mission calls for unity among Latinos around the country to provide the Latino community with greater visibility and a clearer, stronger influence in our country’s affairs. NHLA brings together Latino leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit: www.nationalhispanicleadership.org.
NHLA MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
Alianza Americas | American G.I. Forum | ASPIRA Association | Avance Inc. | Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network | Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute | Farmworker Justice | Green Latinos | Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities | Hispanic Federation | Hispanic National Bar Association | Inter-University Program for Latino Research | Labor Council for Latin American Advancement | LatinoJustice PRLDEF | League of United Latin American Citizens | MANA, A National Latina Organization | Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund | Mi Familia Vota | National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures | National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives | National Association of Hispanic Publications | National Day Laborer Organizing Network | NALEO Educational Fund | National Association of Latino Independent Producers | National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc. | National Council of La Raza | National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators | National Hispanic Council on Aging | National Hispanic Environmental Council | National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts | National Hispanic Media Coalition | National Hispanic Medical Association | National Institute for Latino Policy | National Latina/o Psychological Association | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health | Presente.org | SER Jobs for Progress National | Southwest Voter Registration Education Project | United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce | United States Hispanic Leadership Institute | United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce | U.S.- Mexico Foundation | Voto Latino