Movement Victories

Movement Victories

The La Union Del Pueblo Entero movement victories marked in the timeline below by the striped circle icons represent the victories during United Farm Workers under the leadership of Rebecca Flores, state director of South Texas. The ones marked by the full circles represent those accomplished by LUPE.

2019: Spanish Translations at Hidalgo County Commissioners Court

July 18, 2019

For two years, Spanish-speaking residents demanded the opportunity to fully understand and participate in the civic process during Hidalgo County public meetings. Now, with meetings being simultaneously translated, they are finally getting that opportunity. Interpretation is important because it ensures that residents understand what is being said at government meetings and allow them to comment officially on issues.

2019: Voter Purge Lawsuit

July 18, 2019

With the help of MALDEF we won a restraining order as part of a lawsuit challenging Texas Secretary of State David Whitley’s advisory to counties that singled out naturalized U.S. citizens for investigation and possible removal from voter rolls based solely on the fact that they were born outside the United States, in violation of their equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act.

2019: RFK Human Rights Awardee

July 18, 2019

We were honored and humbled to be named as one of the 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award laureates. The award honors those who stand up to oppression at grave personal risk in the nonviolent pursuit of human rights. The prestigious RFK Human Rights Award means that more people will learn about the work of border communities to create a welcoming environment where families can remain together and all can thrive.

2019: Keeping Eva Chavez Home with Her Son and Family | #LetEvaStay

July 18, 2019

Eva Chavez is a LUPE member who was detained and taken from her son during an ICE raid in 2018. At the same raid, her husband was taken and deported. ICE released Eva with periodic ICE check-in dates on account of her special needs son. LUPE, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and attorney Carlos Garcia accompanied her to each ICE check-in and worked tirelessly to keep Eva home with her son. This October, Eva’s ICE check-ins were reduced to once a year and she was cleared to pursue her U-VISA application that would allow her to remain permanently with her son.

2018: Break Bread Not Families

July 18, 2018

In collaboration with partner organizations, LUPE organized a 24 hour fast and prayer chain for 24 days in recognition of and in solidarity with the 2,400 children that have been separated from their parents at the border due to the Zero-Tolerance policy. Over 2,400 participants from across the nation fasted in support of immigrants and their families including Dolores Huerta, Cristela Alonzo, Rachel Wood, Aisha Tyler, Alfre Woodard, Martin Sheen, Kerry Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy and other members of the Kennedy family.

2018: Free Helen Nohemi campaign

July 18, 2018

LUPE worked with Rio Grande Valley families seeking assistance with locating children who were taken from them at the border. One such case involved 5-year-old Helen Nohemí who had been forcibly separated from her grandmother. Helen Nohemí was kept from her family for over 55 days and was asked to sign away her rights while alone in immigration custody. Our legal defense and organizing teams worked tirelessly to #FreeHelenNohemi, launching a petition that garnered over 10,000 signatures and became the first public petition campaign to successfully free a child from custody of Office of Refugee Resettlement.

2018: Higher Standards for New Neighborhood Developments

July 18, 2018

After three years of efforts by colonia residents, the county voted to adopt new rules that improve quality of life in new rural neighborhood developments. The rules mandate streetlights and strong flooding protections for neighborhoods developed outside of city limits, commonly referred to as colonias.

2018-2019: Census 2020 Lawsuit

July 18, 2018

Thanks to our lawsuit, a federal court in Maryland ruled that the Trump administration cannot add a Citizenship question to the 2020 Census. It was the third ruling by federal courts against the administration’s attempts to include the question in the decennial population count mandated by the Constitution. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) brought the lawsuit on behalf of LUPE and our members, who charged that a severe undercount would impact our community through loss of federal funding for schools, roads, and social programs.

2017: Victory Over FEMA’s Discrimination of Low-Income Residents

June 1, 2017

Working with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, LUPE filed a lawsuit in 2009 against FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Dolly for denying housing repair applications to low-income residents in the colonias. In February 2017, after an eight-year legal battle, the Court ruled in favor of LUPE and the homeowners and against FEMA, finding FEMA used illegal secret rules to deny applicants. After the ruling, members of LUPE in 2008 who applied for FEMA assistance may be eligible for money or benefits from FEMA.

2016: Defending US-Born, Citizen Children of Undocumented Parents

June 1, 2016

LUPE and a number of courageous mothers brought suit after Texas ordered state registrars not to accept the Mexican Consular ID from undocumented parents of children born in Texas seeking to obtain the birth certificates for their US-born, citizen children. Without their birth certificate, US-born children are effectively denied their rights as citizens from birth. LUPE, represented by South Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, won a settlement wherein the state agreed to accept a long list of commonly available documents so parents could secure their child’s official birth certificate.

2015-2017: Voting Rights

July 18, 2015

After the Texas Legislature passed the most restrictive Voter ID law in the country, LUPE brought suit against the state for fostering discrimination against low-income and minority voters. In July 2016, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law violated the Voting Rights Act and ordered the State to modify the provisions before the 2016 General Election. Subsequent rulings in the case have continued to find the law discriminatory.

2013: Immigrant Private Prison

June 9, 2015

With the RGV Equal Voice Network, helped stop the City of McAllen from constructing 1000-bed private prison that would have incarcerated immigrants for profit.

2012: Parks & Walking Trails

June 9, 2015

Working with the Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE) initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, LUPE members achieved the construction or renovation of three outside community spaces for exercise and recreation close to Hidalgo County Colonias.

2011: Drainage & Housing Improvements

June 9, 2015

Without the proper infrastructure, Colonia residents face persistent flooding, some tolerating standing water for weeks before it’s pumped out. Hidalgo County Commissioners agreed to devote at least $14 million of Hurricane Dolly Disaster Recovery funds to improve drainage projects. Additionally, colonia residents will be prioritized when the federal government distributes $122 million to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Dolly. This was the work of LUPE, ARISE, TOP, Proyecto Azteca and the rest of the Equal Voice Network’s housing and drainage team.

2010: Testifying before State Board of Education

June 9, 2015

LUPE leaders and staff testified during the Board of Education’s public hearing to ensure that Cesar Chavez would not be taken out of 5th grade US History curriculum. Due to numerous testimonies from civil rights groups and concerned parents, as well as thousands of faxes & calls to Board members, the State Board of Education decided to accept Cesar Chavez as part of the ‘required’ curriculum to teach 5th grade students.

2010: Food Stamps & Assistance

June 9, 2015

On behalf of LUPE and community members, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid filed a lawsuit against the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s practice of illegally keeping low-income families from obtaining food stamp aid, resulting in only half of qualifying families receiving assistance. Efforts are underway to ensure that Texas works to eliminate the backlog of food stamp applications by reviewing applications in a timely manner.

2008: DHS Lawsuit

June 9, 2015

In conjunction with South Texas Civil Rights Project and other non-profit groups, LUPE filed a petition seeking clarification from Border Patrol on its plan to keep checkpoints open and follow immigration enforcement procedures during hurricane evacuation.

2008: Delegations to Valley Police Chiefs Re: 287g

June 9, 2015

LUPE member delegations met with police chiefs in nine Valley cities to discuss the harmful impact on communities due to 287g (local police enforcing immigration law). The police departments agreed that they did not want to lose the trust of the community through enforcement of 287g. Also as a result of these meetings, the Hidalgo County sheriff’s department now accepts the LUPE membership card as a form of ID for families who want to visit relatives in county detention.

2005-2007: Colonia Streetlights

June 9, 2015

In 2005, the Legislature authorized counties to expend a portion of their CDBG funds to install and maintain streetlights in colonias. In 2007 they authorized those same counties to collect a fee from colonia residents to pay for the electricity used by those streetlights.

2001-2007: Driver’s License for Immigrants

June 9, 2015

The Texas Legislature passed a bill removing the requirement that applicants present a Social Security Card to apply for a license.  This provision would have enabled undocumented immigrants to obtain a license in Texas.  Although the bill passed with overwhelming support, the Republican Governor used his veto power to kill the legislation.  In every session since 2001 the Republican majority has blocked any effort to pass a bill to allow immigrants to obtain a license.

2001: Resident Tuition for Undocumented Students

June 9, 2015

Through the organizing efforts of a broad coalition, the legislature passed a bill permitting all graduates of Texas high schools to enroll at any university in Texas and pay resident tuition rates instead of ‘foreign student’ rates.

2009: FEMA Lawsuit Re: Hurricane Dolly

June 9, 2015

In conjunction with Texas Riogrande Legal Aid, LUPE filed a lawsuit against FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Dolly for denying housing repair applications to low-income residents in the colonias. The judge ordered FEMA to publish clearer standards for determining which disaster victims qualify for repair funds and ordered the agency to reconsider denial of home repairs to Hurricane survivors in the lower Rio Grande Valley.

2011: Anti-Immigrant Legislation

June 9, 2015

Defeated over 100 anti-immigration bills in Texas legislature as part of statewide “Texas Can do Better” campaign coordinated through the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance and the Equal Voice Network. Organizations from across the state of Texas participated in the campaign, lobbying law makers, building alliances with local businesses and churches, engaging grassroots leaders from various communities, and protesting in front of the state Capitol.

2012: Colonia Streetlights

June 9, 2015

After an 8 year campaign, LUPE and ARISE members won the installation of streetlights in 13 Hidalgo County colonias. Working with the Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE) initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, LUPE members worked with Hidalgo County Commissioners and their precinct staff to fund and install the streetlights.

2015: Colonia Streetlights

June 1, 2015

We worked with county officials and state legislators to pass HB 3002, a bill that gives the county additional tools and authority to install streetlights in rural neighborhoods. Under legislation passed in 2007, the County already had the authority to install streetlights and collect a fee to pay for the electricity the lights use. HB 3002 created a process for collecting that fee through the county tax assessor.

1987: Pesticide Controls

June 9, 1987

Under threat of another discrimination lawsuit, the Legislature wrote a law which established requirements that growers record their use of pesticides and provide farmworkers access to those records.  It also required training for farm workers and distribution of pesticide use information.  Under a Republican Commissioner of Agriculture most provisions have been declared superseded by federal Worker Protection Standards.

1985: Minimum Wage improvement

June 9, 1985

The Legislature raised the state minimum wage from $1.70 to $3.35 per hour.  Later revision permanently tied the state minimum to the federal minimum wage.

1985: Unemployment Compensation for farmworkers

June 9, 1985

Following the same argument as the Workers Comp law, the Supreme Court forced the Legislature to provide coverage to farm workers who had been excluded.

1984: Pesticide Controls

June 9, 1984

Texas Department of Agriculture adopted a set of rules requiring farmers to warn neighbors (when requested) of impending aerial spraying.

1984: Inclusion under Workers Compensation law

June 9, 1984

In light of a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court, a special session of the Legislature adopted legislation guaranteeing coverage for all farm workers.

1983: Clean Toilets & Drinking Water in the fields

June 9, 1983

Texas Dept. of Health adopted field sanitation rules rather than face a national boycott of Texas fresh vegetables which ‘might be contaminated by human waste.’

1981: Ban of Cortito

June 9, 1981

Legislation passed; Growers subsequently began requiring workers to use a knife for weeding seedlings.  In 1987 a law was passed to outlaw unnecessary stoop labor but the Republican Governor vetoed it ‘because workers already had Workers Compensation coverage.’