Puerto Rico

Jobless After Hurricanes, 10,000+ Puerto Ricans Now Eligible for Unprecedented 52 Weeks of ‘Disaster Unemployment Assistance’

Yesterday, Puerto Rico announced an unprecedented 52 weeks of federally-funded Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) for workers and self-employed individuals who lost their jobs due to Hurricanes Maria and Irma. This extension was authorized by a federal law and doubled the 26 weeks of benefits previously available for workers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who were left jobless after the devastation caused by the hurricanes. The National Employment Law Project (NELP) estimates that over 10,000 Puerto Ricans could qualify for lump-sum payments potentially totaling nearly $30 million. The individual payments will typically range from around $2,000 to $3,000 for those who receive the maximum weeks of additional assistance dating back to September 2017. 

FEMA Fails to Address the Needs of Hurricane Maria Victims

LatinoJustice has been engaged in a lengthy legal battle with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over its failure to adequately address the needs of Hurricane Maria victims on a range of issues. Today, Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, issued the following statement on the impending termination of Temporary Shelter Assistance and subsequent eviction of the hundreds of families.

Judge Orders Compliance with the Voting Rights Act for Spanish Speaking Voters Before 2018 Midterms in Florida

Tallahassee, FL- Voting rights advocates applaud the ruling from Judge Walker ordering compliance with Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act which requires voting and election materials and assistance be provided to U.S. Citizen voters educated in Spanish in Puerto Rico. Today’s decision recognizes the growing presence of Puerto Rican voters and their right to fully participate in elections that would impact their future.

Voting Rights Advocates Sue to Bring Bilingual Elections to 32 Florida Counties

Civic engagement groups filed suit against 32 Florida counties who are in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965’s requirement to provide bilingual voting materials and assistance, including ballots and poll worker support, for Puerto Rican-educated, Spanish-speaking United States citizens. The plaintiffs are represented by LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Demos, and the law firm of Altshuler Berzon LLP. Service Employees International Union also represents certain plaintiffs. Currently, many thousands of Puerto Rican and other Spanish-speaking Florida residents with limited English proficiency are being impeded from exercising their fundamental right to vote because elections in many parts of the state are conducted only in English.

Judge Extends TSA to August 31st Pending Ruling on TRO

Judge Hillman heard oral arguments in our case against FEMA seeking a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent massive evictions of evacuees from Puerto Rico staying in hotels nationwide under the Temporary Shelter Assistance (TSA) program. He issued an oral ruling to extend his prior order of a TSA extension to August 31st and reserved ruling on the TRO until then.


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