Workers’ Right Interview with LRCL Attorney, Alejandra Cuestas-Jaimes

La Raza Centro Legal provides ongoing legal aid for increasingly marginalized community members in the midst of a global pandemic. Learn more about a recent win in our Workers’ Rights department. In what ways have you seen COVID-19 affect the community that La Raza Centro Legal (LRCL) serves?  Alejandra Cuestas-Jaimes: As you can imagine, unfortunately, we in the Workers’ Rights Program (WRP), have witnessed a never-before-seen number of employment terminations in our community. The majority of the population we serve are also undocumented workers. They have been placed in an inconceivably vulnerable position given that they do not qualify for unemployment insurance, even though the majority contribute to the EDD. As a result, when many of these workers lost their jobs, they were left with nothing: no income replacement, no stimulus checks, no health insurance. Nothing. In 2020, San Francisco created an ordinance prohibiting Employer discrimination based on COVID status. How do you see this affecting our local immigrant community?  AC: Unfortunately, the ordinance you are referring to expired. But, it will be replaced by a permanent ordinance with the same goal that will take effect on March 7, 2021.  This ordinance (let us call it “the COVID Anti-Retaliation Ordinance”) will have a positive effect not only on the immigrant community, but also on the general San Francisco worker population. Because workers will know that if they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, their employers will not be able to retaliate against them due to their need to take time off to recover or isolate. This ordinance will also protect the rest of San Francisco’s population because...

LRCL Statement on January 6 Insurrection at the Capitol

La Raza Centro Legal stands against acts of violence and actions which harm others or which result in the loss of human life. The events of January 6 at our nation’s Capitol left us feeling a sense of tremendous shock and absolute grief, at both the incitement of violence and the subsequent acts of mayhem that resulted in five lives lost. We cannot remain silent upon viewing the loss of lives and the terrorist acts which occurred. We condemn the words and actions of our nation’s president and advisors who, just prior to last week’s lawlessness, incited a mob to act violently. We also denounce the individuals who committed the crimes immediately following as a direct result of the call to arms. While the country needs to better understand the motivations of the mob that invaded the Capitol, the evidence of racism and hatred of immigrants is heartbreaking. We mourn for the lives lost. Our hearts are heavy for the trauma suffered by those present that day at the Capitol, and we hope for a healing of their minds and souls. The United States, with the Capitol as its symbol, has been a beacon of human rights and democracy throughout the world. With the Capitol transformed into a scene of mob violence intended to intimidate legislators, it is easy to feel adrift. We face many challenges as we navigate through a lengthy pandemic and long delays for access to vaccines for even our most vulnerable community members. However, on the same day as the tragedy last week, our elected officials in Congress resumed their duties and conducted the final...

La Raza Centro Legal Attorneys Recognized in 2020 as Leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area Legal Community

At La Raza Centro Legal, our attorneys are legal experts in their fields who frequently present to the legal community, partner agencies,  law students and undergraduate students, and to the clients we serve.  We take pride in our passionate advocacy on behalf of our clients’ civil and human rights.   The expertise our lawyers have acquired while representing clients, have led them to be recognized in northern California as attorney trainers.  They have led Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses, as well as other types of presentations, in a variety of forums.  Here is a brief review of our attorneys’ recent CLEs, honors, and professional leadership posts:  On October 6, Workers Rights Program attorney Alejandra Cuestas-Jaimes, presented to workers, in conjunction with Excelsior Works, PODER, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and Communities United for Health and Justice, in several Facebook Live Events, on the topic of Workers’ Rights in California.    In September, Immigration Attorney Pilar Eslava and Executive Director Amanda Alvarado Ford presented to an honor sorority of pre-law students at University of San Francisco (USF), in a Virtual Conversation with Immigration Attorneys  On 10/26, Removal Defense immigration attorney Marcos Pacheco presented as part of a USF Student Immigration Law Association Panel on the topic, “Working in Immigration during COVID 19”.  It was moderated by USF Professor Heidi Ho and attorney panelists included SF Public Defender attorney Carla Gomez and Purves & Bogue LLP attorney Dorothy Ma.    On November 18, Marcos Pacheco presented a CLE as part of a panel presentation, through PLI with other expert attorneys, on the topic: Updates to Representing Unaccompanied Children in California.    On October 29, agency director Amanda Alvarado Ford presented to Latinx Studies Professor Michael De Anda Muniz, Ph.D.’s  undergraduate SFSU Latinx Studies course entitled Organizing, Civil Rights, Social Justice, and Community Organizations, and provided...

Congratulations Joe Biden & Kamala Harris

La Raza Centro Legal celebrates the voices of more than 74 million people in electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President of the United States. We are especially thrilled for the Bay Area’s Kamala Harris to make history as the first woman, first Black person and first South Asian-American to earn election as Vice President. For women and people of color everywhere, especially our daughters and granddaughters, this victory will provide a steady source of inspiration, standing on the shoulders of centuries of striving and determination in the face of overwhelming adversity and systemic exclusion. The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris also marks the beginning of an end to a destructive and divisive chapter in U.S. history, one in which the Latinx community has suffered particularly. We look forward to policy changes beginning on day one on immigration, labor, and human rights. We look forward to the new administration ending the senseless cruelty of locking children in cages and to fulfilling its promise to take every step necessary to unite 545 children still separated from their families. President-Elect Biden is also a champion for DACA and pledges to protect undocumented members of armed services, veterans and their spouses from deportation. While our arduous daily work on behalf of the Bay Area Latinx and immigrant communities continues, today brings us all relief, acceptance, and hope. Together, let’s write the next chapter in this work and in our lives. El pueblo, unido, jamás será vencido,Amanda Alvarado FordExecutive...