FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Daniel Herrera
January 31, 2017 T: 202-930-6805
HNBA Establishes Immigrant Legal Defense Task Force In Response to Unprecedented Actions Against Immigrant Communities
WASHINGTON, DC --In response to President Trump’s executive orders related to refugees and immigrants, the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) has announced the establishment of an Immigrant Legal Defense Task Force. The Task Force will be charged with collecting and distributing information on current resources available to non-citizens living in the United States, and developing new initiatives to assist in their legal defense.
The Immigrant Legal Defense Task Force will focus on three main goals:
The HNBA will also consult and partner with other legal aid and bar associations to find areas of collaboration to ensure the rights of immigrants are protected, and to support legal action challenging the President’s Executive Orders in those instances in which we believe the orders may be unconstitutional or otherwise illegal.
- Develop a national directory of nonprofit organizations and law firms available to provide pro bono immigration services.
- Develop a nationwide directory of lawyers available to provide pro bono and/or low cost legal immigration services.
- Establish an Immigrant Legal Defense Fund to help defray the costs of defense.
“Last week, President Trump signed two Executive Orders that raise grave concerns for the due process and other constitutionally protected rights of our immigrant communities in the United States by targeting them for immediate removal from what in many instances is the only place they have ever called home,” said HNBA National President Pedro J. Torres-Díaz. “In addition, on Friday, the President signed an Executive Order to effectively bar thousands of individuals from certain countries from entering the United States without an individualized assessment of risk, even in cases where the individual had already been authorized to enter our country after a thorough vetting process.”
“These Executive Orders are wholly inconsistent with the HNBA’s legislative priorities, which have repeatedly called for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform through the legislative process, and could potentially be construed as an unconstitutional use of Executive Power. In addition, as an organization of lawyers, it is troubling that these orders were signed without consultation with the agencies in charge of implementing them.
“Moreover, we are gravely concerned with instances of government agencies acting in contravention of court orders enjoining the enforcement of last Friday’s Executive Order against certain foreign nationals. We encourage the President and his Administration to act promptly to ensure that all officers are acting in compliance with court orders.
“In light of these unprecedented actions detrimental to the rights of immigrant communities in our Nation, including the Latino and Muslim communities, our members have expressed the desire to offer their assistance for any immigrant concerned about his or her legal and constitutional rights; the Task Force announced today responds to the call to assist those in need. We thank them for their leadership in this effort to preserve confidence and security in our community.”
About the Hispanic National Bar Association
The Hispanic National Bar Association is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership association that represents the interests of Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, law students, and legal professionals in the United States and its territories. Since 1972, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession by creating opportunities for Hispanic lawyers and by helping generations of lawyers to succeed. For more information, please visit www.hnba.com.