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Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

May 14, 2008

Migrant farmworker Victor Marquez was traveling to his hometown in Querétero, Mexico, to pay for his new home, only to have his life savings seized by police who alleged it was drug money. During the May 5, 2008, traffic stop in Loxley, Ala., a police officer confiscated more than $19,000 from Marquez even though he earned a majority of the money by working the bean harvest in south Florida. Marquez was not charged. The Southern Poverty Law Center won the return of the money after the state refused to provide documents and information requested by SPLC lawyers representing Marquez.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

December 12, 1995

In 1995, a prison inmate confined to Alabama's segregation unit filed a pro se complaint to protect his First Amendment rights to receive newspapers and magazines. The ruling lifted a statewide ban against segregated inmates receiving outside reading materials.

Criminal Justice Reform
Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

August 09, 2016

After the federal government failed to release records under the Freedom of Information Act that would shed light on controversial – and potentially unconstitutional – immigration raids in 2016 that took more than 100 women and children from their homes and placed them in a Texas detention...

Criminal Justice Reform
Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

April 05, 2018

After the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the Constitution by blocking immigrants in isolated civil immigration prisons from accessing lawyers, the SPLC filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against the agency and other high-level federal officials.

The federal lawsuit...

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 09, 2012

After Alabama’s anti-immigrant law took effect, the U.S. Department of Justice obtained public school attendance records and found a decline in Latino student attendance. The Southern Poverty Law Center requested the same data to determine the law’s impact on Latino students’ access to a public education. The SPLC filed a lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Education after being denied the public records.

Date Filed

May 11, 1988

In 1988, only 11 of Alabama's 223 trial judges were black. The Center sued to end a system denying racial minorities the chance to elect judicial candidates of their choice. The federal district court disagreed, upholding a voting system found unfair in other states.

Landmark Case

Date Filed

June 11, 1969

When Montgomery, Alabama, closed its public parks and pools rather than integrate them, the local YMCA took over the city's recreational needs. As the YMCA continued to exclude blacks, Center co-founder Morris Dees sued and won a landmark court order that forced the YMCA to integrate its programs.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

March 10, 2008

Hundreds of guest workers from India, lured by false promises of permanent U.S. residency, each paid more than $10,000 to obtain temporary jobs at Gulf Coast shipyards only to find themselves subjected to forced labor and living in overcrowded, guarded labor camps. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the workers, David v. Signal International, LLC. Three years later, a lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC v. Signal International, LLC, alleging that Signal unlawfully discriminated against the Indian guest workers. 

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

January 28, 2011

Desiree Shelton and Sarah Lindstrom were both selected by their classmates as "royalty" for the Snow Days winter events at Champlin Park High School. In an effort to prevent them from walking in the royal procession together as a same-sex couple, the school told Shelton and Lindstrom that it was altering the royal processional. Less than 24 hours after filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of the couple, the SPLC reached a settlement agreement with school officials that would allow the women to walk together in the processional.

Economic Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

May 30, 2018

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has revoked the licenses of hundreds of thousands of people simply because they cannot afford to pay traffic fines and court costs. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit seeking to end the practice, which disproportionately harms African-American...

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