Member News Digest: Updated COVID-19 KYR, Act to Protect Incarcerated People, Upcoming Webinars, & More


UPDATED: Know Your Rights During COVID-19

Check out the latest updates to our “Know Your Rights During COVID-19” doc, including new info on mutual aid, stay at home and shelter in place orders, and more to help you resist criminalization and militarization during the pandemic: bit.ly/KYRights2020

“We believe we can ensure community and societal safety in this health emergency without stripping our already limited rights…Now is the time to work to create desirable permanent changes to what has been the status quo. We believe that crafting this guide is a step toward this vision. ”

A Spanish translation will be coming soon! Many thanks to our partners and co-authors at Vision Change Win.


SIGN PETITION TO FDA: Expedite Review and Approval of Lifesaving Cuban Antiviral for COVID-19

“We urge that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration immediately implement the process for expedited approval of the sale and use of Alfa-2B to treat people in the US, as a matter of the utmost humanitarian urgency. We demand that politics not interfere with the science needed to save lives now.”

Please sign on at the link: https://www.change.org/p/steven-hahn-fda-expedite-review-and-approval-of-lifesaving-cuban-antiviral-for-covid-19

The petition was initiated by NLG member Dean Hubbard and the NLG’s Labor and Employment Committee, with support from the NLG International Committee.


4/9/20: Call to Action from WeCopwatch: Emergency: Ramsey Orta is in Danger!

The COVID-19 pandemic is particularly fast-spreading in prisons, jails, and detention centers. Ramsey Orta is imprisoned at Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, NY, and is facing the lack of hygiene, PPE, and healthcare that other prisoners are facing as well as targeted neglect and abuse (following a pattern by NYPD and COs since he filmed the killing of Eric Garner). He has been in solitary confinement frequently and whether in solitary or not, physical distancing hasn’t been followed. Orta is pleading for help amplifying his plight and plight of fellow prisoners, and is seeking an attorney.

Please see this post from WeCopwatch with phone numbers and email addresses to contact to demand that this abuse must end.

In addition, media or attorneys who can help directly are asked to contact OfficialRamseyOrta@gmail.com and WeCopwatch@gmail.com.


4/7/20: FCC FIling: Protect Incarcerated People and Their Families During the COVID-19 Crisis

We’re proud to join MediaJustice and other 60 civil rights groups in a filing with the FCC demanding phone justice for incarcerated and detained people. During the COVID-19 pandemic incarcerated and detained individuals are being deprived of family visits across the country in conditions that make them uniquely at risk to contracting COVID-19. As such we urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to immediately (1) Request predatory prison phone companies offer free phone and video calls with no fees incarcerated and detained individuals immediately for the next 60 days; (2) Press the prison phone industry to commit to the Keep Americans Connected Pledge; and (3) Deny Securus’ and all companies’ request to stop paying into the Universal Service Fund.

Read the FCC filing here and sign the petition at bit.ly/PhoneJusticeCOVID19.


4/1/20: Statement from the NLG Housing and Homelessness Committee on COVID-19

“People need safe, stable housing to survive COVID-19…. But authorities are instead using the pandemic as a pretext for breaking up encampments; unlawfully seizing possessions, including tents and personal property; excluding people who are homeless from adequate shelter that already exists within the community; and trying to force people who lack housing out of their communities altogether.”

Read this statement from the NLG Housing Committee on how capitalist frameworks around housing security are exacerbating the COVID-19 pandemic—and how people are fighting back.


3/27/20: Information for Arizona Renters During COVID in English & Spanish

The Southern Arizona Chapter of the NLG released a template “Dear Landlord” letter that renters can use to give notice to their landlords that, as a result of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be unable to pay rent.


4/8/20: Temporary Restraining Order Requested to Stop Dangerous EOIR and ICE Policies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The National Immigration Project of the NLG; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; the American Immigration Lawyers Association; and the Immigration Justice Campaign moved for an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in order to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-199 pandemic.

4/8/20: UCLA Students Urge #NoTechForICE!

UCLA NLG, UCLA Law Students Against ICE, and UCLA Law Students for Immigrant Justice issued this letter to their school’s administration concerning the school’s contracts with Westlaw and LexisNexis.

“In the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, ICE has continued to pursue arrests and deportations of our loved ones and community members, including right here in Los Angeles. These raids would not be possible without data disclosed through ICE’s contracts with Westlaw and LexisNexis’ parent companies…Since these services will be a part of our daily lives for the rest of our careers, we believe it is our ethical responsibility to demand that these companies stop being complicit in the surveillance, detention, and deportation of immigrants.” Read the full letter here and sign the petition here.


WEBINAR: COVID-19 & Unilateral Coercive Measures as Acts of War

April 15th, 1 pm Eastern time (10 am Pacific, 5 pm UTC, 7 pm Central Europe)
Register now to join: https://bit.ly/SanctionsWarWebinar

Join this webinar by the NLG International Committee (IC) and International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) , where speakers will offer updates on the current impact of economic sanctions and blockades around the globe and discuss the political, colonial context of these measures, discuss the illegality of these measures, opportunities for legal challenges and building the global movement to lift all sanctions.

Speakers Will Include: Micol Savia (IADL, Geneva); Raji Sourani (PCHR, Gaza/Palestine); Roger Wareham, (Dec. 12th Movement, U.S.); Nina Farnia (NLG); Cristóbal Cornieles (Venezuelan Association of Jurists); Martha Schmidt (NLG IC)


4/3/20: Legal Community Open Letter Urges End to U.S. Sanctions on Iran and Venezuela

More than 200 lawyers and legal organizations signed onto this open letter calling on the US government to end its sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, as the countries race to fight COVID-19. The global pandemic has drawn attention to the devastating effects of US sanctions on these countries, as well as the ongoing blockade of Cuba, and how these illegitimate unilateral coercive measures undermine public health and global peace and security. The letter urges immediate cancellation of the unilateral coercive measures against Iran and Venezuela, noting that even before the global COVID-19 pandemic, these US sanctions were recognized by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the issue as a violation of internationally recognized human rights. Read the letter here.


4/6/20: International Legal Letter Demands End to U.S. Intervention in Colombia and Venezuela

Dozens of legal organizations around the world issued a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging an end to U.S. intervention in Latin America, particularly in response to the escalation of U.S. military activity in Colombia and threats against Venezuela: “While the efforts of the US gov. should be focused on addressing the current health crisis rather than warmongering, it has nevertheless decided to move forward with military mobilizations that threaten the welfare of the US and the Latin American region…The world needs global solidarity, not war.” Read the letter here.


4/3/20: Letter to AG Barr re: The use of the PATTERN risk assessment in prioritizing release in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The NLG is one of 150+ groups that joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in this letter to Attorney General William Barr urging him to rescind his recommendation to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to use “risk assessment” technology to determine which incarcerated people should be transferred or released during the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore justify leaving vulnerable people incarcerated:

“Tools like PATTERN are unfair, biased, and wrong on their own merits. But using them in a process to decide who gets the right to access social distance and freedom in the worst global pandemic in generations is particularly wrong. Therefore, we urge you to use your existing and expanded authority under the CARES Act to transfer as many people as possible into home confinement, without any of the limitations articulated in your memo, given that hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake.” Read the full letter here.


4/5/20 | Davis Vanguard | NLG Sacramento Opposes Cities’ Move to Stop Providing Records because of COVID-19

We need more transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic, not less. “During an emergency, the risk of misappropriation and mismanagement are heightened, especially in the absence of contingency planning. Transparency is a non-negotiable necessity to the public because all actions taken by our officials will quite literally determine life or death,” stated Elizabeth Kim, NLG Sacramento Chapter president.


4/5/20 | The Intercept | FBI Opened Terrorism Investigations Into Nonviolent Palestinian Solidarity Group, Documents Reveal

Chip Gibbons, NLG member and Policy Director at Defending Rights & Dissent, reveals the FBI’s terrorism investigations into the International Solidarity Movement, a nonviolent Palestinian rights group, in this exposé for The Intercept. “These cases demonstrate the FBI’s unwillingness to distinguish non-violent civil disobedience protesting government policy from terrorism.”


Submit an NLG Amicus Proposal

The NLG Amicus Committee is accepting proposals for amicus briefs to be submitted on behalf of the Guild!

This form is for NLG members, chapters, committees, and projects to propose cases well-suited for Guild involvement, and to help us identify who in our membership might assist in drafting and reviewing briefs: Amicus Proposal Form for NLG Members. Please answer the questions in as much detail as possible.

If you would like to request that the NLG sign onto a brief from another organization, please fill out the NLG Amicus Form for Outside Organizations.

After a proposal has been submitted, it will be reviewed by the NLG Amicus Committee and sent to the Executive Council of the NLG National Executive Committee for final approval. Because of time and monetary restraints, we may not be able to accept all proposals, but we will do our best to represent the interests of our members and entities.

If you have any questions, please email amicus@nlg.org.  Please allow 2-3 weeks for the Amicus Committee and EC to review the proposal and respond.


Members-Only Job Board

Are you searching for a movement related legal or organizing job OR internship?

A reminder that all current NLG members have access to our Members-Only job board! This resource includes open positions for attorneys, paralegals, organizers, legal workers and law students.

Check it out at nlg.org/job-board (NOTE: you must be logged in with your nlg.org account to view this page). Have a job or internship listing you’d like to share with fellow Guild members? Send it to jobbboard@nlg.org.

Posted in Member News Digest, News.