Legal News Roundup

DREAMer Application to NYS Bar Granted
The New York State Supreme Court Second Department Appellate Division last Wednesday issued a monumental decision approving the New York State Bar application of Cesar Vargas, the dynamic Co-Director of Dream Act Coalition. Cesar who was brought to the United States from Mexico by his mother when he was 5 years old and graduated from City University of New York School of Law in 2011, is a DREAMer who is authorized to be lawfully present in the United States under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program. Vargas was initially approved for deferred action in 2013 after DACA was first implemented in 2012.

This is the first New York State court decision explicitly holding that a DREAMer law graduate can fulfill the “good character and general fitness” requirements for NY bar admission. Moreover, in a matter of national first impression, the court further found that a DREAMer such as Cesar is not barred from being granted his New York State law license under a federal law prohibiting states from issuing state benefits such as a professional license to undocumented immigrants unless the state first enacted enabling legislation authorizing the issuance of such benefits or licenses. The court held Congress cannot unconstitutionally infringe upon a state’s sovereign authority to divide power among its three co-equal branches of government such as in in New York which has granted the Judiciary branch the authority to review and approve bar applications to practice law, and that the Judiciary may exercise their authority as state sovereign to opt out of such federal restriction as the court did here!

Stopping Employment Fraud in NYS
As a founding member of the Justice for Job Seekers (J4JS) campaign, LatinoJustice PRLDEF works closely with our partners at New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) in Jackson Heights,Queens to address employment agency fraud. After obtaining data from the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs pursuant to a FOIL request, LJP’s research revealed that in 2013-2014, 92% of complaints about employment agencies filed with DCA concerned unlicensed employment agency activity.
LJP’s research was instrumental to and cited by NICE and other J4JS coalition members in drafting investigative reports and memos of support for the New York Justice for Job Seekers Bill: A.3702/S.3415-2015, which aims to address the rampant employment agency fraud, particularly by unlicensed agencies, that has harmed Latina/o and immigrant job seekers throughout New York. The J4JS Bill is now pending in the NYS Assembly and Senate, and we hope will pass in the next two weeks. If you would like to add your voice to the J4JS community of support, please call your NY state senator, and sign the Petition of Support for the New York J4JS Bill, here.

Support Protections for NYS Farmworkers
The Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act (bill S. 1291/ A.4762), which was introduced by NYS Senator Adriano Espaillat and Assemblyperson Catherine Nolan, would help to extend fundamental labor rights and benefits to farmworkers throughout New York State. Despite working in harsh conditions and being particularly susceptible to abusive labor practices, farmworkers – many of whom are Latina/o – do not currently enjoy the same protections that were long-ago extended to workers in other vocations. Key provisions of the bill include: collective bargaining rights; an 8 hour workday; overtime pay; worker’s compensation benefits; and mandates for sanitary work conditions. The bill is now pending in the New York State Legislature and has strong bipartisan support, but needs five more votes to make it to the floor for consideration. If you would like to add your voice to help pass the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, please call your NY state senator.
For your NYS legislator call 1-877-255-9417. For the NY Governor’s Office, text Farmworker to 877877

LatinoJustice Co-Hosts Criminal Justice Reform Roundtable
If recent spate of police shootings and tragic interactions occurring in the past year in places such as Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, Baltimore and Suffolk County reveal anything about our criminal justice system, it is that in many communities of color across the nation, relations with the police and with the broader criminal justice system are at the very least strained, if not dangerously fractured. For the Latino Community there is another critical element, who has heard of Jessica Hernandez, 17 killed by police on January 26, 2015 in Denver, Co; Antonio Zambrano Montes, 35 shot in the back and killed by the police on February 10, 2015 in Pasco, WA while running away; Ruben Garcia Villalpando, 31 shot and killed by police on February 20, 2015 in Grapevine, Texas; Javier Canepa Daiz, 27 shot and killed by the police on February 27, 2015 in Santa Ana, CA? While we mourn the increasing number of Latina/o lives lost at the hands of police in recent months, we also question why these tragedies do not receive the same attention in the mainstream media, or generate the same community response of outrage and demand for accountability.
In order to raise awareness about this issue, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, in partnership with the Hispanic Federation, and the Drug Policy Alliance, co-hosted a roundtable on Latinos and the Criminal Justice System at the Federation’s Las Americas Conference Center on Wednesday, May 27th. The purpose of this critical convening and strategic conversation was to collectively discuss proposed reforms to address the many policies and practices criminalizing Latino communities and to consider collaborative approaches to work with other advocacy groups to begin addressing what is clearly a national crisis. Discussion topics included mass incarceration, drug policy, data collection, immigration criminality, and policing/criminal justice reform.

LatinoJustice Events

Latina Trailblazers Breakfast
The 2015 Latina Trailblazers Breakfast is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16th, 8:00 – 10:00 am at the Yale Club of NY. Purchase your tickets today to join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of the 2015 Latina Trailblazers.
Meet the Trailblazers
Anile Vazquez-Ubarri, Managing Director, Chief of Diversity, and Global Co-Head of Talent Development, Goldman Sachs & Company, is a Fordham Law School alum and Jersey City resident. Anilu brings a unique Northeast Latina perspective to the world of finance, as evidenced by her focus on diversity and women’s advancement. Read more about Anilu here, and join us June 16th.

SAVE THE DATE! – Annual Awards Gala
Wednesday, November 10, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt NY
Join LatinoJustice in recognizing the 2015 honorees at our Annual Awards Gala:
LUCERO – Pilar Ramos, General Counsel – North America, MasterCard International
CORPORATE LEADER – Comcast Corporation
CAP LEADERSHIP AWARDEE – Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP
COMMUNITY CHAMPION – Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning Author of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
For information on sponsoring the Gala or questions, contact

LJPEducation Update

Calling all LAWbound Alumni! Save The Date for our 10th Anniversary Reunion on July 15th. For more info, please contact Sonji Patrick at

LAWbound Summer Academy deadline is Friday, June 12th
Save the Date: Law Day 2015, Saturday, October 24, 2015 at Pace University, Downtown NYC. Check our website in the coming weeks for more information.
Please contact Maritza Maldonado at or at 212.739.7517 or for more information on these two programs.

LatinoJustice Twitter Roundup
1) Congrats @DREAMerJ_D on application to NYS Bar being granted! You broke new ground for #DACA + #Immigrants everywhere Photo here
2) #CJReform is truly needed if this is allowed to happen to #KaliefBrowder. Punished without a conviction New Yorker article here
3) It was great to see so many advocates today supporting farm worker bill of rights! La lucha sigue! #NY4Farmworkers photo from rally here

Meet a New Member of the #LJPFamilia
Helen Ivania Martinez, Northeastern University School of Law, Class of 2016
Helen, whose family is from El Salvador & Mexico, grew up in California. She graduated cum laude from Univ. of California at Riverside in June 2012 with a BA in Sociology and Spanish, and on the Dean’s list 11 of 12 quarters! During college, she studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and interned with the Attorney General of the District of Columbia. During undergrad, she also volunteered as a tutor at a local elementary school assisting students with disabilities and was a student teacher leading English & Spanish reading, writing & speaking classes for a day laborer group. After graduating, Helen worked part time as a tutor for School on Wheels in LA, teaching language arts, math and spelling to elementary school students at domestic violence shelters.
At Northeastern, Helen serves as Co-Chair of LALSA, and was selected as a Lawyering Fellow this past year, supervising a group of eleven 1Ls on their legal skills as part of a Social Context Project researching the constitutionality of Florida’s voucher system under the state constitution. She also served as a Teaching Assistant in Torts. During her 1L Summer Co-op, Helen was a judicial intern for a Massachusetts Juvenile Court Justice in Lowell, Mass., where she researched a wide array of juvenile justice and child welfare issues.

Join LJP at the Baseball Game
You or friends/colleagues/family can support LatinoJustice PRLDEF by purchasing the baseball tickets below. Please encourage participation. Anyone interested should e-mail
– Thursday, 6/11 World Champ Giants v. Mets. Seats in Sec. 515 with panoramic view of entire field are $26/ticket plus $4/ticket donation to LJP.
– Friday 6/19, HALF-PRICE tickets for Yanks/Tigers game above infield in Grandstand Sec. 414 or 415 are $16/ticket plus $9/ticket donation to LJP. If possible, I will mail tickets in advance.
See more game listings here.
You can stay up to date on the latest LJP news by following us on Facebook and Twitter.