CREEC Announces Executive Director Search

Amy Robertson and Tim Fox, Co-founders of CREEC, sent the following letter to the CREEC community on October 14, 2020 Dear CREEC Friends – We are very excited to tell you that CREEC will soon be hiring our replacement!  CREEC has started the search for a new executive director, who will take over the position that we have co-held since we founded CREEC in 2013. Here is a link to the job posting: https://creeclaw.org/creec-is-hiring-an-executive-director/ We started CREEC to continue litigating impact civil rights cases, and to expand the educational work we did not have the bandwidth for as a private law firm. Since then, CREEC has grown significantly, adding the Immigration Detention Accountability Project and formalizing our disability rights work into the Accessibility Project.  We are confident in and enthusiastic about CREEC’s strength as an organization, and believe that this is the right time – for the organization and for the two of us personally – to hire a new executive director to lead CREEC forward. This transition permits us to do what we love the most: litigate civil rights cases and educate about civil rights and CREEC’s work.  After the new ED is in place, Tim will be CREEC’s Litigation Director, while Amy will take on the august title of Senior Counsel. We appreciate your interest in and support for CREEC. All best, Tim and...

Welcome to the Board of Directors, Steve Dane!

We are honored to welcome civil rights leader in the fair housing, mortgage lending, and insurance discrimination world, Stephen M. Dane, as the newest member of CREEC’s Board of Directors. Steve has litigated a number of significant lending and insurance discrimination cases. He was lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the class action litigation Toledo Fair Housing Center v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. ($5.35 million settlement) and was co-counsel for the plaintiffs in HOME of Richmond v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. ($100.5 million jury verdict). Steve has testified before both houses of Congress on mortgage lending discrimination issues, and is the author of many articles in the field, including Eliminating the Labyrinth: A Proposal to Simplify Federal Mortgage Lending Discrimination Laws, 26 U. Mich. J. L. Ref. 527 (1993); Disparate Impact Analysis in the Mortgage Lending Context, 115 Banking L.J. 900(1998); Application of the Federal Fair Housing Act to Homeowners Insurance, Chapter Two of Insurance Redlining (G. Squires, ed., 1997); The Exposure of Securitization Trustees to Liability Under the Federal Fair Housing Act for Poorly Maintained Real Estate Owned Properties, Banking L. J. (Feb. 2014), at 153-164. Steve has also litigated several accessible design and construction cases, such as National Fair Housing Alliance, Inc. v. A.G. Spanos Companies, 542 F. Supp. 2d 1054 (N.D.Cal. 2008) (involving 82 multi-family projects constructed around the country since 1991; settlement valued at $15 million), and claims involving local and state governments’ failures to “affirmatively further fair housing” as a condition of their receipt of federal funding. See United States of America ex rel. Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York, Inc. v. Westchester County,...

Federal Judge Rejects ICE’s ‘Weak’ Implementation of Court-Ordered Custody Determinations of High Risk Individuals and Other Safety Measures

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb inside detention centers, Court finds ICE has fallen “far below” compliance with its previous injunction. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Last night in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal granted civil rights organizations’ motion to enforce a preliminary injunction in their class-action lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ordering the agency to perform custody determinations to all individuals in all of their detention centers across the country with medical risk factors that increase their risk of serious COVID-19 complications in compliance with the Court’s April 20 injunction. In his order, Judge Bernal found that ICE has fallen “far short” of complying with the April 20 order, adding that, “the Court is gravely concerned that Fraihat custody decisions are a disorganized patchwork of non-responses or perfunctory denials” and that, “more active monitoring of Defendants’ compliance is needed.” The Court went on to issue several clarifications to the April 20 injunction including ICE’s obligation to identify and track individuals with risk factors within five days of their detention and to make timely custody determinations, including individuals subject to mandatory detention. The order also clarifies limits on transfers between facilities, a practice that has contributed to massive COVID-19 outbreaks inside detention centers, and bans solitary confinement as a quarantine measure, a punitive and inhumane practice that goes against public health recommendations. “This order shows that ICE has essentially ignored the court for nearly six months,” said Pilar Gonzalez Morales, a senior attorney at the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center. “ICE’s actions are not just...

Months Later, the Fraihat Hotline Remains Necessary

“We couldn’t keep up with the calls and voicemails at first,” said Pilar Gonzalez Morales, Senior Staff Attorney at CREEC, “it was a tsunami of people who were in crisis, seeking re-assessment and needing help to do so.” In response to a motion for an emergency preliminary injunction filed by CREEC and co-counsel on March 25, 2020 in Fraihat v ICE, the court ordered ICE to conduct new assessments for every person at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 in ICE custody for release redetermination. If ICE cannot take the medically necessary precautions to protect medically vulnerable people in immigration detention, they should be released and allowed to shelter in place safely in their homes. To ensure contact with those medically vulnerable people, the court also ordered ICE to create a free, confidential hotline that detained people could call to contact Fraihat class counsel in May 2020. The word spread quickly. “The sheer volume of calls to the hotline showed us that ICE had followed at least one requirement of the court’s order and that was to post the redetermination ruling and hotline number in ICE detention jails,” said Gonzalez Morales. Unfortunately, it has also revealed the chaos of ICE’s inadequate COVID-19 response and utter lack of a consistent, navigable process in ICE detention prisons for immigrants who are eligible for re-determination and their advocates to follow. “We have learned from hotline callers that what should be a straight-forward redetermination application process for people who are medically vulnerable and scared of the COVID breeding ground that exists in congregate settings like ICE prisons, is actually a nearly impossible path full...

CREEC Receives Two-Year Grant from The Colorado Health Foundation

Grant will support a project to help remove communications barriers to health care for Deaf people. The Colorado Health Foundation (CHF) awarded CREEC a $150,000 grant over two years through its Amplifying Health Advocacy program. CREEC’s project proposes to investigate denials of legally required effective communication to Deaf Coloradans at health care facilities and then work to remedy violations systemically by providing effective policies and training. By removing this significant barrier – lack of effective communication – this project will help bring health within reach for the Deaf community in Colorado, a community that tends to be marginalized in our current economic, political, and health care systems. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) require medical providers to ensure that communication with Deaf people is as effective as communication with hearing people. For many medical providers working with Deaf people, this requires a qualified sign language interpreter, and not – as commonly but mistakenly assumed – written notes or lip reading. At CREEC, we know from our legal advocacy work with Deaf clients and from our disability rights advocacy colleagues that, unfortunately, Deaf people are frequently denied qualified sign language interpreters in medical settings despite the requirements of the ADA and ACA. As a result, Deaf people are often unable to access important information about their own health, describe their medical history and symptoms, or ask their health care providers questions. Health care providers also often require Deaf people to provide or pay for their own interpreters, which is both explicitly illegal under the ADA and ACA and puts an additional burden on low-income...