Representing Undocumented Hispanics in Injury Cases
I was eight years old when my family and I moved from a small mountainous town in Puerto Rico to South Jersey. We did not speak English, nor did we have family to help, so we relied on the kindness of strangers to help navigate this new country and its laws. I spent five years taking ESL classes in order to learn and perfect my English and to finally feel like I was part of a community. When you are unable to communicate and understand the language, you never feel you are part of the society in which you live. This experience left such a profound impact on my life, that it has been my mission to represent and educate those who do not have a voice.
There is not doubt the Latino population is growing not only in New Jersey, but in the United States in general. According the US Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2016, there are 57.5 million Hispanics living in United Sates, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics now constitute17.8 percent of the nation’s total population. Out of the 57.5 million Hispanics, 11 million are undocumented. In New Jersey, the Hispanic population is a growing and thriving. According to the American Immigration Council, more than one in five New Jersey residents is an immigrant, while nearly one is six is a native born U.S. citizen with at leas one immigrant parent. Whether a person is documented or undocumented they are deserving of representation.
Immigrants and undocumented persons are frightened by the current political climate. There has been a lot of talk about immigration reform and many professionals in the legal community must be prepared to tackle immigration related issues when representing undocumented persons. Injury attorneys should be prepared to discuss with their clients the different options that exist in injury cases. It should be explained, there are certain motions that can be filed which may prevent their client’s immigration status to be excluded from a case, as their legal status may not be relevant or a material issue in an injury case. An argument can be made that one’s immigration status may create an unfair prejudice for your client and their immigration status is of no consequence in a negligence case.
This is a defining time in American history-Hispanics are now the largest growing population. Legal professionals will represent an undocumented Latino at some point in their career and anticipating how to protect their rights is essential. Undocumented immigrants have the right to pursue compensation, whether they are here legally or not. As a Hispanic lawyer, I have dedicated my legal profession to serving Latinos, especially those that have been injured. Feel free to call me with questions toll free at 866-327-2952 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From immigration matters and family law to criminal and municipal cases, Jessica brings a wealth of experience to her practice at D’Arcy Johnson Day. Her fluency in both English and Spanish enables her to help so many members of the community, as she focuses on accident and personal injury cases, work injuries, medical malpractice, criminal law, and municipal court proceedings among other areas of practice.