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2 Civil Rights Groups Launch Joint Defense Fund To Help Protect Immigrants

LOS ANGELES ( — The leaders of two national civil rights organizations Friday announced the launch of a joint legal defense fund aimed at protecting and advancing immigrants' civil rights in the United States.

The fund will help fight unconstitutional immigration enforcement actions, including unlawful raids.

Friday's announcement  by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and NDLON (National Day Laborer Organizing Network) was prompted by growing concerns among Latinos and undocumented immigrants, who fear of being deported as President-elect Donald Trump had promised on his campaign trail.

"We'll make sure that with this fund, we will protect undocumented people everywhere where we can in the courtroom, in streets, at city halls," said director of NDLON Pablo Alvarado. "While the President-elect's policies are unpredictable, those of his closest advisors are not. They are the architects of some of the country's most anti-immigrant legislation and their strategy is beginning to unveil itself."

MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz said he is concerned about Trump's plan to appoint Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.

"He's an anti-civil rights leader. He is against civil rights. He's never indicated any interests in ensuring that the constitutional guarantees against discrimination and in favor of equal protection are fully followed," Saenz said. "The Latino immigrant community will not be alone in confronting any draconian federal enforcement tactics or any state or local excesses catalyzed by the change in presidential administration."

The Director of Communications for the Center for Immigration Studies Marguerite Telford defended Sessions.

"He has a tremendous respect for the Constitution and respect the laws. He has no track record of discriminating against groups,"  Telford said.

Local city and county leaders said they will also help and protect immigrants including members of the Los Angeles City Council, Los Angeles County supervisors, police Chief Charlie Beck and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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