Press Releases

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  • 14 Aug 2020 8:30 AM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)


    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY SUPPORTS THE AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, NEW JERSEY CHAPTER’S REQUEST FOR VIDEOCONFERENCE HEARINGS IN NON-DETAINED CASES.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 14, 2020

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) supports the efforts of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, New Jersey Chapter (“AILA-NJ”), to enjoin the Newark Immigration Court from compelling attorneys to appear for in-person proceedings in matters involving persons who are not detained (“non-detained cases”). 

    In March 2020, the Executive Office of Immigration Review (“EOIR”) postponed in-person hearings for non-detained persons in the Newark Immigration Court due to the worldwide health pandemic caused by COVID-19.  Despite the ongoing pandemic, on June 24, 2020, EOIR announced that it would reopen the Newark Immigration Court for non-detained cases on July 13, 2020.  The Assistant Chief Immigration Judge of the Newark Immigration Court entered a standing order governing appearances in non-detained cases. The standing order generally provides, among other things, that respondents electing to proceed with a telephonic hearing will waive a number of rights, including the right to proceed in person and to object to the admissibility of documents.  The order further provides that if counsel is unavailable by telephone at the time of the hearing, he or she will be required to appear in person at any rescheduled hearing.  The order also affords immigration judges discretion to halt any telephonic hearing and require an in-person hearing, as deemed necessary or appropriate, without any due consideration for the health of the respondent or respondent’s counsel. 

    In response, on July 31, 2020, AILA-NJ – which is part of a national nonpartisan organization and consists of over 400 members who regularly practice in the Newark Immigration Court – filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.  In the Complaint, AILA-NJ seeks, among other relief, an injunction prohibiting the Government from mandating that immigration attorneys appear in person for non-detained cases and proceedings, as statute and regulations allow the Government to permit such proceedings to take place by videoconference. AILA-NJ’s Complaint identifies grave risks to counsel and respondents posed by EOIR’s mandate, and ethical dilemmas that immigration attorneys’ are facing –  including being forced to choose between their health and the risks of COVID-19 versus their obligation as an attorney to zealously advocate for their clients. The Complaint also provides tragic examples of persons who have died from COVID-19 from either appearing or working at the Newark Immigration Court prior to its closure in March 2020.

    HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “Lawyers in New Jersey, or anywhere, should not have to choose between their health and the health of their clients and their clients’ right to due process, on the one hand, and compliance with EOIR’s mandate, on the other hand. Forcing attorneys to make that choice is reckless and unacceptable, especially considering that courts in New Jersey and around the country have adapted to the perils caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by allowing virtual proceedings. The HBA-NJ urges EOIR to implement safety precautions and procedures that preserve the due process rights of immigrants in non-detained cases, while protecting our immigration attorneys.  Anything less is an alarming disregard for human life and an indifference to immigrants’ right to fair and just representation.  We can and must do better to ensure the safety of our colleagues and our immigrant community.”

    ###

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

     ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.


  • 24 Jul 2020 1:05 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)

    Celebrating 40 Years:
    1980-2020

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY DENOUNCES THE ATTACK AGAINST JUDGE ESTHER SALAS AND HER FAMILY AS A HATE CRIME 

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 24, 2020

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) denounces the attack on Judge Esther Salas and her family as a hate crime based on race and sex.  As a result of this senseless act of violence, Judge Salas and her husband, Mark Anderl, tragically lost their only child, Daniel Anderl, and Mark was critically injured. “We cannot stand by idly or silent when faced with a hate crime.  This attack was intentional and highlights the very real fact that racism and discrimination are alive, even in our legal profession.  We cannot and will not let discrimination and racism win.  Let us all rise up, support, and lift Judge Salas and her family during this most devastating time through the power of prayer, advocacy against hate, and support from our community,” stated HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox.

    As we mourn with Judge Salas and her family, we are reminded of the Judge’s strength, her leadership, and her illustrious career.  Of Cuban and Mexican descent, Judge Salas achieved the American Dream through hard work, persistence and perseverance by embracing her culture, values and beliefs.  She is a graduate of Rutgers Law School, a proud alumna of the Rutgers Minority Student Program, and served as the HBA-NJ’s 22nd President.  Prior to joining the federal bench, Judge Salas was also dedicated to public service as a federal public defender.  In 2006, Judge Salas became the first Latina U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of New Jersey, and was subsequently nominated by then-President Barack Obama and elevated as a federal district judge in 2010.  Again, continuing to blaze trails as the first Latina to serve in the position of federal district judge in the District of New Jersey, Judge Salas has an unwavering commitment to public service and ensures that justice is served each day in her courtroom.  "She is always present for the HBA-NJ and our community and never hesitates to pay it forward and inspire countless others.  Judge Salas works tirelessly to serve the legal community and community at large and to mentor the next generation of leaders and students.  For her trailblazing career and contributions to the legal profession and community at large, Judge Salas has earned many accolades, awards and honors.  Simply put, Judge Salas’s work ethic is unmatched and the New Jersey Federal Judiciary is blessed to have her on the bench,” said President Cox.

    President Cox concluded: “Make no mistake that the HBA-NJ will be here to speak up and speak out against this abhorrent hate crime and the discriminatory actions against Judge Salas, women, and minority communities.  There is no place for hate, racism or discrimination in this society and certainly not in our own legal profession.  For now, however, we humbly request that everyone focus on the power of prayer, so that Judge Salas and her family may begin to heal and find peace.” 

    ###

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey  

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers. 

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101
      

    ___________________________________________________________________

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034. 

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

  • 20 Jul 2020 10:29 AM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)


    Dear HBA-NJ Familia,

    As many of you know, our beloved Judge Esther Salas suffered a horrific tragedy last night that we cannot even begin to comprehend.  Her husband, Mark Anderl, and her son, Danny, were both shot by a gunman who remains at large.  Tragically, Danny did not make it and Mark remains in critical, but stable, condition after suffering multiple gunshot wounds.  Judge Salas was not injured.   We ask that you please keep Judge Salas, Mark and Danny in your thoughts and prayers.

    Words cannot begin to express the depth of our sorrow and pain for Judge Salas and her entire family.  Judge Salas is not only a Past-President, but most importantly, she is a mentor, a friend and our family.   Family is everything to Judge Salas and we know just how proud her and Mark are and will always be of Danny – a bright, dynamic young man with a zest and passion for life.  We pray that the gunman is promptly located, apprehended and brought to justice, so that Judge Salas and her entire family can begin to heal from this horrendous crime.  If you or anyone you know has relevant information, you are urged to contact the Newark FBI at 973-792-3001.

    We appreciate the outpouring of love and support received from our HBA-NJ familia and community.  Judge Salas is currently surrounded by her family and closest friends and we ask that you please respect her and her family’s privacy during this unimaginable time, as she focuses on Mark’s recovery and tries to heal from this devastating loss. 

    As we learn more information, we will share what we can with our HBA-NJ community.  In the meantime, we ask that you please keep Judge Salas, Mark and the entire family in your prayers.

    With love, sympathy and prayers,

     

    Melinda Colon Cox
    HBA-NJ President 


  • 13 Jul 2020 9:41 AM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)


    HBA-NJ’s STATEMENT ON THE COMMENTS MADE BY GOYA’S CEO, ROBERT UNANUE

    DATE: July 13, 2020

    This Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) is deeply disappointed in the remarks made by GOYA’s CEO Robert Unanue calling President Trump “a builder” and stating “we’re all truly blessed . . . to have a leader like President Trump”, as Mr. Unanue’s statements ignore the fact that President Trump is known for his degrading words and harmful policies against the Latino community.  HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox, stated: “President Trump has villainized our community, he has called us rapists, drug mules, and bad hombres, he has caged our children, and he has often described our community as ‘illegals’, marginalizing what our community has done for this country and suggesting that we are not wanted or needed here in America.  So when the CEO of a company like GOYA, which claims deep roots in the Latino culture, and that purposely caters to the Latino consumer population of the U.S., glorifies President Trump as a ‘builder’ without any acknowledgment of his checkered past with that same community, there naturally will be an eruption of emotion, sadness, frustration and anger from that same population.”   Mrs. Cox further stated, “As attorneys and as a bipartisan association that represents Latino attorneys across the state of New Jersey, the HBA-NJ believes in the sanctity of the constitutional right of freedom of speech; however, the right to free speech does not mean that one’s words do not come with consequences.  To have a New Jersey headquartered Latino company such as GOYA express such strong support and praise for President Trump – without any acknowledgment of the broken relationship the President has with our Latino community or the hurt and pain that our community has experienced as a result of his words – is reckless and dangerous.  As CEO of a company that prides itself in becoming ‘part of the culture’ of the Latino community, Unanue needs to be better, do better and must be held to a higher standard.”

    The HBA-NJ is an association that represents the interests, development and advancement of Latinos in the legal profession and seeks to protect the interests of the Latino community through policies, regulations and collaboration with other community and civic organizations.   HBA-NJ President Cox acknowledges that GOYA has done a lot of good for the New Jersey and Latino communities, explaining: “We have seen GOYA donate substantial amounts of food to various Latino communities and GOYA has contributed to our community in many ways, which has resulted in a very loyal Latino-customer base.  GOYA can and should certainly support initiatives and programs that will help the Latino community and minority-owned businesses gain access to educational and economic opportunities, but it can do so without forgetting our community’s reality, which is that we are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, our unemployment rate is at 14.5%, immigrant families remain separated and detained, our Puerto Rican families are still trying to recover from Hurricane Maria – without the necessary support from the Trump administration – and we continue to face discrimination and prejudices because of who we are.  With that reality in mind, Unanue must understand the pain and anger that he has unleashed as a result of his words.”  

    Mrs. Cox concluded,  “Goya is a powerful Latino-owned company, built on the backs of our community and our culture.  Personally, I hope that GOYA’s leadership publicly recognizes the insensitivity of Unanue’s words, so that this community can start to heal and can continue to support Latino-owned businesses like GOYA.”

     

  • 02 Jul 2020 10:05 AM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)



          Celebrating 40 Years 
    1980-2020

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY’S STATEMENT ON THE MURDER OF CARLOS INGRAM LOPEZ WHILE IN CUSTODY OF THE TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 2, 2020

    Carlos Ingram Lopez.  Another victim and name we must say and remember due to the same senseless use of deadly, excessive force by law enforcement officers, resulting in yet another brutal and unjust murder.  This must stop. 

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) is horrified by the murder of Carlos Ingram Lopez, a 27-year-old cooking school graduate from Tucson, Arizona, a father to a 2-year-old daughter, a fiancé, a brother, a son, a grandson, a cousin, a friend.  On April 21, 2020, Mr. Ingram-Lopez’s grandmother called the police early in the morning, stating that he was acting erratically and that he was experiencing what has since been described as a “mental crisis”. When the police officers arrived at the scene, Mr. Ingram-Lopez was naked.  Notwithstanding his state of mind, the officers restrained Mr. Ingram-Lopez face-down to the ground, handcuffed him, put at least one plastic blanket over him, and a mesh spit guard for 12 grueling and uninterrupted minutes before he stopped moving.  Carlos can be heard on one of the police officer’s bodycams making various pleas for help, in English and Spanish, for water (agua), and for his grandmother (nana), and asking her to help him (nana ayudame – help me). And, in an all too familiar plea made by minority victims of police brutality, Carlos also told the officers that he could not breathe.  The officers did not care.  The bodycam video of Carlos’ unnecessary and horrific death was just made public despite the crime being committed almost 2 months ago.  

    The Tucson Police Department, like most police departments across the nation, is under scrutiny for their use of excessive force on the black and Latinx community.  Mr. Ingram Lopez’s death, about a month before George Floyd’s death, is another troubling reason why police reform is warranted and necessary.  Since publication of Mr. Floyd’s death, society has witnessed deeply disturbing interactions between the police and peaceful protestors, some resulting in unnecessary serious injury and death.    

    Tuscon Police Chief Chris Magnus, known as a progressive, forward-thinking Chief, offered his resignation and conceded that the officers failed to follow proper protocol for dealing with a person experiencing a mental health crisis involving “excited delirium.” He also acknowledged that his department failed to disclose the death in a timely manner and that the three officers involved had violated department policy.  The three officers involved – Samuel Routledge, Ryan Starbuck, and Jonathan Jackson – have since resigned. Tuscon Mayor Regina Romero, Tuscon’s first Latina mayor, expressed outrage at the incident and said that a life was “needlessly lost” and that the three officers would have been terminated had they not resigned.

    There should be zero tolerance for such inaction and misconduct and the resignation of the officers is not a sufficient response.  HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox, stated: “There is no evidence that Carlos Ingram-Lopez was threatening the officers, resisting arrest or that the level of physical force used against Carlos was warranted.  Law enforcement officers are trained to protect and serve and should be held to a higher standard in these types of situations. The officers involved must be held accountable, regardless of whether there was any willful or malicious intent.  A human life was unnecessarily lost as a result of their failure to follow proper protocols for physical restraints and for handling an incident involving a person experiencing a mental crisis.  Resignation is not enough.  Carlos and his family deserve justice.”

    Police Chief Magnus has reportedly requested that the F.B.I. examine the circumstances that led to Mr. Ingram-Lopez’s death, adding: “I hope we can learn from this incident, do better, and achieve at least some level of healing within the community.”  The criminal investigation into the incident has also been sent to the county attorney’s office, which has to date, not determined or announced whether it will file criminal charges against the officers. 

    HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “Our hearts go out to the family of Carlos Ingram Lopez, who was only 27.  Our hearts also go out to the families of Rayshard Brooks and Elijah McClain, who were killed by police officers, and the countless other families affected by police brutality. An interaction between a police officer and an individual of the black or brown community should not be a death sentence.  We cannot afford to lose any more lives.  Time is up.  Our elected officials must act now and our community must show up and vote for the 2020 election to ensure that change is implemented.”

    ### 

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

    ____________________________________________________________________

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

  • 19 Jun 2020 2:58 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)

     Celebrating 40 Years:
    1980-2020

     

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY APPLAUDS THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
    UNITED STATES FOR ITS DECISION ON DACA.

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 19, 2020

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) applauds the Supreme Court of the United States’ (“SCOTUS”) decision to reject the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) attempt to rescind the program known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). DACA is an immigration relief program that allows certain individuals, who arrived as children in the United States, to apply for forbearance of removal proceedings.  An individual granted relief under DACA is eligible for work authorization and other benefits.  Approximately 800,000 individuals have been approved for DACA status since the program’s inception in 2012.  DACA recipients contribute to the rich diversity of the American population, work, pay taxes – over $8 billion a year according to the Democrats of the Committee on Small Business – and contribute to the economy, growth and livelihood of the United States.  This country is their home and the SCOTUS made the right decision to stop the current federal administration from rescinding the DACA program.   

    HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “The SCOTUS’ decision on DACA is a much needed victory and sign of hope for the Latinx community, especially for the lives of the 800,000 DACA recipients. In the opinion, the SCOTUS recognized the current administration’s and DHS’ haste in ending DACA, but the decision is a reminder that our elected officials must act and provide a legal pathway to citizenship.  DACA recipients, for now, can take a breath without the fear of DHS deporting them at a moment’s notice, but there is still much work to be done to protect our immigrant community.” 

    While the SCOTUS’ decision brings some much needed relief and hope to our immigrant population, the HBA-NJ urges the Senate to pass the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which was passed by the House of Representatives on June 4, 2019 by a vote of 237 to 187.  The passage of the legislation would provide protection to DACA recipients, Dreamers and other certain individuals from deportation by providing them with “conditional permanent resident” status, as well as an opportunity to obtain permanent legal status in the United States if certain qualifications are met.  As stated by HBA-NJ President Cox: “The SCOTUS decision is a great step in the right direction but the immigrant community deserves more.  Immigrants built this country and the United States is their home. The administration must recognize, accept and, most importantly, embrace this large sector of the population that makes America what it is today – beautiful, diverse and rich in culture and in color.”

    ###

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community. 

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers. 

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

     

     

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.


  • 05 Jun 2020 2:40 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)


    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY SUPPORTS GOVERNOR MURPHY’S HISTORIC NOMINATION OF FABIANA PIERRE-LOUIS TO THE NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 5, 2020

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) proudly supports Governor Murphy’s historic nomination of Fabiana Pierre-Louis as an Associate Justice for the New Jersey Supreme Court and urges the Senate to confirm her nomination.  If confirmed, Fabiana Pierre-Louis would be the first Haitian-American woman to sit on New Jersey’s highest court. 

    Diversity in New Jersey’s highest court is necessary to ensure that the Supreme Court reflects the diverse population it serves. Ms. Pierre-Louis’s nomination and anticipated confirmation will diversify our judiciary, helping to ensure that diverse perspectives and backgrounds are adequately represented. The HBA-NJ enthusiastically supports her nomination and applauds Governor Murphy for recognizing the importance and need for such diversity on the State’s highest bench.  As quoted in Essence, Governor Murphy acknowledged, “[G]iven the challenges which are being brought to the forefront of our society, and the questions which will undoubtedly rise to reach our Supreme Court – core issues of socioeconomic equality and equity – there is no better meeting of an individual and the times.”  The HBA-NJ agrees.

    Most importantly, Fabiana Pierre-Louis’s extensive experience makes her well-qualified and especially deserving of this appointment.  She is a graduate of Rutgers Law School, clerked for Justice John Wallace, Jr. (ret.) and practiced in private law for several years before joining the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.  While in the Department of Justice, Ms. Pierre-Louis was the first woman of color to hold the title of Attorney-in-Charge in the Camden and Trenton offices, overseeing and prosecuting criminal trials and matters on a range of issues, including child exploitation offenses, national security matters, and public corruption, among others.  She is the daughter of Haitian immigrants and a first-generation American citizen.  She was the first in her family to attend law school and to become a lawyer. 

    HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “I commend Governor Murphy for his decision to nominate Fabiana Pierre-Louis to the highest court of our state and for recognizing the importance of diversity on our bench. Ms. Pierre-Louis would be the first Black woman and, in fact, the first woman of color, to serve on the state’s highest court.  Her nomination is a crucial step in the much needed direction of our state and country.  New Jersey is a diverse state and our courts should reflect its constituents.  Ms. Pierre-Louis is not only a highly-qualified candidate, but she is known for her honesty, candor and integrity and has a history of upholding justice, which she would undoubtedly do as an Associate Justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court.  We urge the Senate to confirm her nomination.”

    ###

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101


  • 01 Jun 2020 6:04 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)



          Celebrating 40 Years:
    1980-2020

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY’S STATEMENT ON THE MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD AND OTHERS, THE PROTESTS AND THE NEED FOR CHANGE – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2020

    George Floyd.  Ahmaud Arbery.  Breonna Taylor.  We must say their names.

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) is saddened and outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who have lost their lives because of the color of their skin.  Recent events caught on camera have pulled back the curtain on an ugly and prejudicial America that has been too-often ignored – an America where individuals are treated differently and systematically targeted due to the color of their skin. Our black and brown communities will no longer remain silent or complacent in response to this culmination of ongoing, systemic, institutionalized oppression. In addition to these horrific recent acts of clear racism and violence, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastically disparate impact on minorities, claiming a disproportionally higher toll of lives among the black and Latinx communities and nothing is being done to prevent this injustice or to protect our communities.  Enough is enough. 

    The most recent murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer over an alleged counterfeit $20.00 bill is horrific and disturbing.  All of the Minneapolis officers involved in George Floyd’s tragic murder must be fully investigated and must be held accountable for their senseless killing of a black man who was not resisting arrest, not disobeying police orders and was murdered and treated disparately only because of the color of his skin.  The message must be clear – rogue police officers are not above the law and black lives matter. The HBA-NJ calls on our elected leaders to demilitarize the police and to help rebuild the community’s trust in law enforcement.  We must all work for justice and do our part every day by calling out each and every injustice including microaggressions.  We are in a time where the cameras are rolling and capturing terrible actions that have been ignored for far too long.  It is enraging and it should not require the senseless murder of a black man or violent protests across the nation for the government to take a stance on equal justice for all.  HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “We need our government officials to protect the rights of our community – all communities – regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion.  We need officials to effectuate real change through new legislation, regulations, police training programs and laws that ensure our police are properly trained to handle escalated situations with an alleged criminal and any inherent situation involving a person of color, because the truth is that racism and biases, whether conscious or unconscious, clearly exist and the consequences of that in our police departments have been deadly. Systemic reform is necessary.  Let’s truly make the American justice system fair and equal to all and let’s end the abuse of power that is so prevalent throughout society.” 

    With respect to the peaceful protests and the rebellions over the weekend throughout the nation, the message is clear – our black and brown communities are hurting.  While the HBA-NJ never condones violence, the anger, the frustration, the pain, the sadness, and the overall realization that black lives are too often overlooked is real and change is necessary.  We must acknowledge our differences, we must rebuild from past historical mistakes, and we must understand, believe and invest in an antiracist society to ensure that the injustice of George Floyd’s death does not happen again.

    The HBA-NJ knows and acknowledges that the majority of law enforcement officers have respect for their position of power, use their authority with fairness and integrity, and serve to protect all communities.  “We thank the law enforcement and police officers who dedicate their lives to protect the people and who see beyond color to ensure equality to justice for all.  We also thank the many police officers and other government officials that joined in the peaceful protests over the weekend, kneeling down by our community members and sharing in our pain.  Now, more than ever, we need all communities to unite and we need all our voices to be heard if we truly want to support and protect our black and brown communities”, said HBA-NJ President Cox. 

    HBA-NJ President Cox further noted: “Our hearts go out to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and to all the other families who have lost their loved ones due to police brutality and senseless acts of violence, racism and hate.  Our hearts go out to Christian Cooper for being faced with unprovoked verbal abuse and racism during his routine bird watching stroll in Central Park.  Our hearts go out to our black and brown communities who are scared, tired, frustrated and hurt.  Our communities need our help, and as lawyers, we must do what we can to ensure justice is served and find ways to lift our community.  We must act swiftly and with urgency.”   As attorneys, the legal profession has a duty to rise up and take a stance to ensure that the laws and rights of all people are equally, fairly and justly applied. The HBA-NJ stands with its black and brown communities, the family of George Floyd and the countless other black families who have lost loved ones unnecessarily because of the color of their skin, and we join you, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Garden State Bar Association, the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, and the many other affinity bar associations in New Jersey and across the nation, in solidarity, to protect our communities and to uphold the law equally against and for all communities.  HBA-NJ President Cox concluded: “To our black community, we hear you, we see you, and we stand with you.  Enough is enough.”

    ###

     

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

     

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

     

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

     

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

     

     

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

     

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

     

     

     


  • 27 Dec 2019 1:12 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)


     Celebrating 40 Years:
    1980-2019

     

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY APPLAUDS NEW JERSEY FOR RESTORING VOTING RIGHTS TO RESIDENTS ON PAROLE OR PROBATION AND EXPANDING THE EXPUNGEMENT LAWS.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 27, 2019

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) applauds the New Jersey Assembly and Senate for passing two bills, which benefit the Latinx community:  1) restoring voting rights to residents on parole or probation (A5823/S4260); and 2) revising and expanding expungement eligibility and procedures (A5981/S4154).  On December 18, 2019, Governor Philip D. Murphy signed both bills into law. 

    In a press release discussing the passing of both legislations, Governor Murphy said: “Our Administration is deeply committed to transforming our criminal justice system, and today we are taking a historic step to give residents impacted by that system a second chance.  I am proud to sign one of the most progressive expungement laws in the nation, which will allow more New Jerseyans the opportunity to fully engage in our society.  I am also proud to enact legislation that will restore voting rights to over 80,000 residents on probation or parole, allowing them to fully participate in our democracy.”

    With these two bills, New Jersey aims to restore some of the racial disparities of the criminal justice system.  The expungement bill creates a new “clean slate” petition for residents who have not committed an offense in 10 years and do not have a conviction for a crime that is not subject to expungement.  The bill also eliminates expungement filing fees and creates an e-filing system.  To implement the new provisions of the expungement law, the bill also appropriates $15 million to the Department of Law and Public Safety.  Further, as a result of the restoration of voting rights bill, which is effective March 17, 2020, approximately 80,000 residents, who are on parole or probation, will have their right to vote restored. 

    HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox noted: “Through the passage of these bills, historically disenfranchised groups, like the Latinx community, who are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system, will have their right to vote restored.  2020 will be a historic presidential election year for our nation, and these citizens will have the opportunity to take part of our democracy by exercising their constitutional right to vote.  Similarly, the expansion of the expungement law allows residents to reintegrate fully into our society.  The HBA-NJ applauds the New Jersey legislature and Governor Murphy for leading criminal justice reform in our great State.”

    ### 

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey  

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community. 

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers. 

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101
     

     

     

     

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

     


    ©2019 Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.

     


  • 20 Dec 2019 5:05 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)

    Celebrating 40 Years:
    1980-2019 

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY COMMENDS THE STATE FOR PASSING HISTORIC LEGISLATION THAT EXPANDS ACCESS TO DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS REGARDLESS OF THEIR IMMIGRATION STATUS 

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2019

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) commends the New Jersey Assembly and Senate for passing bill A4743 on Monday, December 16, 2019, and Governor Philip D. Murphy for signing the bill into law on Thursday, December 19, 2019. 

    This legislation represents a significant advancement of Latinx rights in New Jersey.  The legislation creates two categories of driver’s licenses.  The first category allows New Jersey residents who do not qualify for a REAL ID Act license—either because they are unable or unwilling to prove lawful presence in the U.S.—to receive a standard license.  The second category of licenses may be used for federal purposes (REAL ID Act compliant) and is available to those who prove lawful presence in the U.S.1

    In discussing the historic impact that this legislation will have during a press conference on the day the bill was signed, Governor Murphy stated, “Today is a simple recognition that our immigrant communities and each of you are a vital part of our State and of our economy. . . .  Our roads will be safer, and our ranks of uninsured drivers will be lower, and that’s good for all of us.”  In addressing concerns that the legislation could result in discriminatory use of the information, the Governor noted, “We are going to protect you and your personal information and that of any other resident who applies for a standard driver’s license.  Insurance companies won’t be allowed to hike your premiums because you don’t have a REAL ID [license] and employers or landlords or even the government won’t be allowed to discriminate against you.  We honor and welcome our immigrant brothers and sisters in our immigrant communities – we are, after all, a nation of immigrants.”

    Following Governor Murphy’s speech, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, the primary sponsor of A4743, discussed the time, dedication and effort that went into passing the legislation, as well as the positive impact the bill will have on various communities.  Assemblywoman Quijano explained, “along the way, we learned that other communities faced obstacles to secure their driver’s licenses too.  Communities like senior citizens, the homeless, LGBTQIA, and survivors of domestic violence will also benefit from better and more inclusive access to driver’s licenses.  While faced with stiff opposition [to the proposed legislation] at times, [and] temporary defeat, we stood steadfast and today we celebrate.”

    Senators Nellie Pou and Teresa Ruiz also participated in the press conference, noting the importance of this legislation to the Latinx community and commending all of the legislators, advocacy groups, and individuals who worked tirelessly to push for the passage of the legislation.  In explaining the need for legislators to use their voice and power to make a difference, Senator Teresa Ruiz stated, “We truly have the power to write policy that engages every community and creates equity, and fairness and inclusion and, ultimately, safety for women who want to raise their daughters in a better world.”

    By passing this legislation, New Jersey becomes the 15th State (plus DC) to expand access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status.  The new legislation will become effective by January 1, 2021.  Notably, it includes certain safety measures to ensure its proper implementation.  For example, the chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission must implement a two-year public awareness campaign to educate the public about the requirements and availability of a standard license versus a REAL ID license.  An eleven-member advisory board will oversee the Motor Vehicle Commission’s implementation of the law.  Finally, within 12 months of the law’s implementation, the advisory board will issue a report to the Governor’s office and State Legislature with its findings and recommendations to address any issues or concerns with the legislation.

    In reiterating the HBA-NJ’s support for the legislation, its President, Melinda Colón Cox stated, “The HBA-NJ applauds the legislature for passing this historic and progressive legislation.  New Jersey has joined the ranks of a growing number of states that grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, a population that cannot and will not be ignored any longer.  This law promotes mobility for undocumented New Jerseyans and allows them to become productive members of society, while enhancing our economy, making our roads safer, and empowering our Latinx community.  By passing this law, New Jersey has sent a powerful message that immigrants are an integral part of our community and deserve equal access to fair and equitable treatment under the law.  Si se pudo!”

    __________________________________

    1 For more information regarding the bills and REAL ID Act, please review the HBA-NJ’s June 6, 2019 Press Release wherein the HBA-NJ expressed its support of the proposed legislation, available at https://www.njhba.org/page-647227/7661984.

    ###

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

     

     

     

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Cólon Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

     

     

    ©2019 Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.

    You received this email because you are a valued friend of ours.  Please unsubscribe if you no longer wish to receive such communications from us.

     


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Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

Hispanic Bar Association                         of New Jersey

P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

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