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Press Release

Guestworkers who come to the United States are routinely cheated out of wages; forced to mortgage their futures to obtain low-wage, temporary jobs; held virtually captive by employers who seize their documents; forced to live in squalid conditions; and denied medical benefits for injuries, according to a new report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center today.

A civil jury in Linden, Texas, today awarded approximately $9 million in damages to Billy Ray Johnson, a mentally disabled black man who was taunted, knocked unconscious and dumped along a desolate road by four white men in September 2003.

A landmark decision in a federal lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center will provide relief to thousands of legal, foreign guestworkers who typically are forced to pay exorbitant fees to obtain low-wage, temporary jobs in the United States.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2007 Morris Dees Justice Award, an honor jointly sponsored by a renowned international law firm and the University of Alabama School of Law.

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance program, the award-winning producer of educational materials that promote respect for differences and appreciation of diversity, today released its first publication designed specifically for parents.

In an ongoing campaign against exploitation of migrant workers, the Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a class action against one of the Southeast's largest employers of foreign guestworkers.

On his first day of kindergarten, Lavonta Anderson was asked if he knew his address. When he said that he did not, his teacher pulled out a paddle and hit him repeatedly.

The shackling of teenage girls at a Mississippi juvenile prison has shocked state officials and prompted calls for immediate closure of the facility. Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) attorneys first exposed the incident in a letter demanding that officials investigate and immediately rectify abuses, unsafe conditions and violations of federal law at Columbia Training School, the state's juvenile prison for girls.

For the second time, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance program has won the highest honor from the Association of Educational Publishers.

Migrant workers who flocked to New Orleans to rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina were routinely cheated out of wages and faced other abuses while the U.S. Department of Labor made little effort to police the contractors employing them, a Southern Poverty Law Center attorney told a House subcommittee today.