EJC Mobilizes to Defend Immigrant Justice
Since November 2016, the Equal Justice Center has dramatically intensified its long-standing work defending justice for immigrants and protecting the integrity of our communities from the new threats they now face from both the federal and state governments. In addition our immigrant justice mission operates hand-in-glove with our workplace justice mission, combatting wage theft and exploitation of low-wage working people, a very large proportion of whom are immigrants.
Working alongside our vital community partners, the EJC has taken a leading role organizing, leading, and staffing an ongoing series of legal education and assistance clinics for immigrant families. Our first immigrant fairness clinic was launched in Austin only ten days after the 2016 election. Since then we have led and helped staff more than twenty such clinics in a range of large and small cities across Texas. EJC also assists a steady stream of immigrant working families through individual legal assistance in our offices and in the community.
Included in the immigrant rights legal support provided through our various clinics and our individual legal representation are know-your-rights education about how to protect against unjust immigration enforcement; legal assessment for various kinds of potential immigration relief; legal help with citizenship applications and DACA applications for those who are eligible; and “family preparedness” planning for the custody and care of children, homes, and property in the dread event of detention and deportation.
The EJC plans to continue doing all we can up to the limits of our resources to help immigrant families and workers protect themselves, safely contribute to our communities, and defend the fair treatment they deserve.
EJC Helps Clients Recover $1.1 Million In Unpaid Wages in 2017
The Equal Justice Center experienced record success in recovering unpaid wages for low-wage working men and women in 2017, recouping more $1.1 million in wage cases during the last year.
With these newest successes in 2017, EJC and its clients have this year surpassed a new milestone – more than $10.5 million total recovered in wage cases for low-wage working men and women, since EJC began its wage justice work back in 2003.
The 2017 wage recoveries came in cases brought by landscapers, restaurant workers, construction laborers, asbestos removal workers, agricultural and food processing workers, and cleaning service workers, among others. Their claims typically challenged employers’ complete non-payment of any wages; failure to pay workers for all of their work hours; or violations of laws requiring payment of minimum wage, overtime, or prevailing wage laws.
The EJC clients who have brought and won these cases include U.S. citizens, authorized immigrants, and undocumented immigrants. EJC provides legal assistance to working people regardless of their immigration status.
The wage recoveries resulted from civil legal action brought by the unpaid workers themselves with EJC providing the workers’ legal representation.
“This success is especially remarkable and gratifying in 2017, since low-wage workers and immigrant workers are so hard-pressed in our present legal climate,” remarked Bill Beardall, EJC attorney and executive director. “This shows how we can still enforce employment rights and move justice forward, when we put the law into the hands of the workers themselves, empowering them to act as ‘private attorneys general.’”