MALDEF Suit to Stop Indiana's Unconstitutional Anti-Immigrant Law Addresses Previously Unchallenged Provisions

Yesterday, MALDEF filed suit on behalf of La Union Benefica Mexicana, a Latino community and civic organization in Northern Indiana, against the State of Indiana to strike down two previously-unchallenged provisions of the State’s anti-immigrant law known as Senate Bill 590 (SB 590). Signed into law on May 10, 2011, SB 590 creates a state-based regime of immigration regulations that poses severe and immediate threats to the United States Constitution and to the livelihood of anyone who "looks" to local authorities like an undocumented immigrant.more here...

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds the Protection of All Persons in Redistricting

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against several residents of Irving, Texas who sought to compel the City of Irving to adopt voting maps for city council districts that ignored thousands of city residents. The residents sued the city and sought a court order requiring the city to apportion its council districts based only on residents who are over the age of 18 and U.S. citizens instead of total population. The federal district court ruled against the challengers in February 2011. MALDEF represents several Latino residents of Irving, Texas who intervened in the case to help defend the city’s redistricting plan. The changes in redistricting sought by the challengers would have overturned well-established redistricting law and also would have severely reduced representation of Latinos in Irving by packing them into overcrowded districts and burdening representatives elected to represent Latino neighborhoods.more here...

Texas’ School Funding System Unlawfully Shortchanges Many Districts and Students, Including Low Income and English Language Learner Children

Last week, against the backdrop of the Dr. Jose A. Cardenas Early Childhood Center – located in the school district at the center of MALDEF’s first landmark school finance case, Edgewood v. Kirby, back in the 1980s – MALDEF announced the filing of a major education funding lawsuit against the State of Texas. Along with Edgewood I.S.D., MALDEF represents McAllen Independent School District (I.S.D.), San Benito I.S.D., La Feria I.S.D., three parents from Pasadena I.S.D., and expects to add more plaintiffs in the coming months.more here...

Major MALDEF Victory in Landmark Colorado School Finance Case

On December 9th, a state district court in Denver, Colorado ruled in favor of plaintiffs in the State’s first adequacy case, Lobato v. Colorado, a lawsuit in which MALDEF represented Colorado parents as plaintiff-intervenors seeking adequate funding for at-risk and English Language Learner ("ELL") students in the Colorado school finance system.more here...

As we come to the end of 2011, the Latino community looks eagerly to 2012. This year saw a continued level of extreme vitriol targeted at the Latino community, and in particular at Latino immigrants, as five states enacted anti-immigrant statutes following Arizona’s ignominious example in 2010. At MALDEF, we continue to challenge anti-immigrant laws, whether proposed at the local or state level, and to file litigation to strike down many such laws. In late 2011, we celebrated a federal court of appeals decision striking down, on a 9-2 vote, a local anti-day labor ordinance. This achievement is meaningful both because such ordinances have been promoted for many years by one of the most prominent national anti-immigrant organizations, and because we have led such legal challenges for a dozen years. As we continue our longstanding defense of immigrants’ rights and as you consider your end-of-year charitable contributions, please consider support for MALDEF.

In 2012, MALDEF and the Latino community will also be poised to take advantage of the opportunities created by the 2010 Census, and its recognition that one in six Americans is now Latino. Through redistricting, the Latino community has every reason to expect increased opportunities to elect candidates that the community supports. Unfortunately, achieving this outcome often requires litigation under the federal Voting Rights Act. MALDEF is one of a handful of organizations nationally that has the experience and expertise to pursue these challenges. We have just concluded litigation around Texas statewide redistricting, and we expect further litigation in California, Texas, and other states at the local level to ensure the Latino community a fair opportunity to elect legislators, supervisors, and board members that it supports. In California alone, we have identified seven counties that failed to create Latino supervisorial districts that the law requires they create.

As we prepare for these challenges, we must continue our important litigation and advocacy work in education and employment as well. We also continue to develop a MALDEF leadership program focused on high-school-aged youth, as we build on our success over 22 years in our Parent School Partnership community education program. We continue to experience great success in raising our profile online, in events, and in traditional media, all to increase awareness and understanding of Latino community concerns, and of the constitutional principles that the entire nation supports and that underlie our work.

All of this work requires resources. We continue to rely on the tireless work of our dedicated staff, but we need to expand our staff in the face of new and renewed challenges to the Latino community. With an unstable and unpredictable national economy, we must rely even more on the generous help of our longtime supporters and new friends. As you review your year-end contributions, I hope you will include MALDEF. You can donate online at or you can mail in your financial support. Our best wishes to you and your family for a great holiday season and a prosperous new year.

Sincerely Yours,

Thomas A. Saenz
President and General Counsel

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:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund