Posted on September 3, 2004

MALDEF Urges Governor To Sign Bill

HispanicVista, Aug. 29

(SACRAMENTO, CALIF.) MALDEF commends the California State Legislature’s approval of Senate Bill 37 (Senator Joseph Dunn) — an important bill which would provide a measure of justice for the unconstitutional forced deportation of millions of American citizens and permanent residents of Mexican descent during the 1930s. The measure was approved by a 29-8 vote in the Senate and will now go the Governor for his signature.

“During this shameful episode in our history, hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens and permanent residents were rounded up, herded into buses and railroad cars and deported simply because of their Mexican descent,” said Ann Marie Tallman, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “This caused incalculable harm and trauma, tearing apart families and causing loss of property.

“It is time that these reprehensible actions be brought to light and that its victims be allowed to seek reparations. We expect Governor Schwarzenegger to recognize this tragedy of terrible injustice, and we urge him to sign this measure into law,” said Tallman.

A companion measure, Senate Bill 427, also authored by Senator Dunn would create the “Commission on the 1930s Repatriation Program.” SB 427 would require the Commission to gather facts and conduct a study regarding the unconstitutional deportations of U.S. citizens and legal residents of Mexican descent, between 1929 and 1944, during the 1930s “Repatriation” Program. SB 427 will return to the Senate for a vote to concur with Assembly amendments. This vote is expected before close of session tomorrow.

A national nonprofit organization, MALDEF promotes and protects the rights of Latinos through advocacy, community education and outreach, leadership development, higher education scholarships and when necessary, through the legal system.