The Equal Justice Center continues to empower immigrant and low-wage working people to enforce their fundamental employment rights - even in this era when the rights of immigrants and workers are under widespread attack. Our clients' determined action, backed by EJC's legal representation, have recouped nearly $1 million in wage cases in the last year alone.
With our newest successes in 2019, EJC and its clients have this year surpassed a new milestone – more than $12 million total recovered in wage cases for low-wage working men and women, since EJC began its wage justice work with a small staff back in 2003
These wage recoveries have come in cases brought by janitors, landscapers, restaurant workers, construction laborers, asbestos removal workers, agricultural and food processing workers, housekeepers, and factory workers, among others. Their claims typically challenge employers’ complete non-payment of any wages; or failure to pay workers for all of their work hours; or violations of federal and state laws requiring payment of minimum wage, overtime, or prevailing wage rates.
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.
EJC Helps Dreamers Sustain DACA while Helping Other Immigrants Become Citizens
The Equal Justice Center is taking vigorous action in two separate but parallel campaigns to provide greater protections for vulnerable immigrants in Texas.
First, even while the current Administration is pressing hard to close down the DACA program, the Equal Justice Center staff is working overtime to help as many young undocumented Dreamers as possible renew their DACA work permits and protections against deportation. Over the last seven years - from the very beginning of the DACA program in 2012 - the EJC has helped secure DACA protections for more than three thousand young undocumented Dreamers who have grown up in the U.S., completed their educations, and are now productive contributors to our society and economy. The only thing blocking the current Administration's attempts to terminate the DACA program are a few temporary injunctions issued by federal courts, allowing current DACA holders to continue renewing their two-year permits - for now. The EJC staff provides both individual legal assistance and large-scale community clinics that help Dreamers renew their DACA authorization and sustain their dreams, while pushing at the same time for a permanent solution through Congressional enactment of a Dream Act recognizing Dreamers as full and permanent contributors to our society.
In a second and equally important ongoing campaign, the EJC staff has been conducting large day-long legal clinics to help eligible immigrants successfully apply to become naturalized U.S. citizens. Reacting in part to the current climate of anti-immigrant policies and discrimination, a growing number of lawful permanent resident immigrants are seeking to apply for full citizenship. By becoming citizens they not only gain greater legal security for themselves and their families, they also gain the right to vote and, thereby, a stronger voice in shaping the policies that vitally affect them and their communities. Over the last year, and continuing on into the coming year, the EJC is organizing and conducting dozens of large-scale citizenship clinics where upwards of 50 immigrants in a day are able to get free professional legal assistance completing their citizenship applications. EJC typically conducts these citizenship clinics at schools, churches, union halls, or community organizations, drawing on the legal expertise and organizing skill of EJC staff combined with volunteer participation from pro bono attorneys, law students, and community volunteers.