Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A History of MALDEF

Funding Hate - Foundations and the Radical Hispanic Lobby- Part III

By Joseph Fallon
Volume 11, Number 1 (Fall 2000)
Issue theme: "America's porous borders"

MALDEF - The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Perhaps the most important book to examine the origin, activities, and source of funds of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) is Importing Revolution Open Borders And The Radical Agenda by William R. Hawkins. (The American Immigration and Control Foundation, Monterey, Virginia and United States Industrial Council Educational Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1994). The following paragraphs while based principally on the findings of Hawkins also include data from the MALDEF website at

Ironically for LULAC, the founder of the rival Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) was Peter Tijerina, State Civil Rights Chairman for the LULAC chapter in San Antonio. Tijerina felt LULAC had failed to use its victory in Hernandez v. Texas to pursue legal activism. He wanted LULAC to imitate the actions of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense Fund (NAACP-LDF). In 1966, Tijerina sent a LULAC member to the Chicago convention of the NAACP-LDF. As a result of the contacts established at the convention, the next year, Jack Greenberg, president of the NAACP-LDF, arranged for Tijerina to meet Bill Pincus, head of the Ford Foundation. Pincus agreed to advance Tijerina 'seed money' to create a five-state 'Mexican-American' organization modeled after the NAACP-LDF. This new organization would pursue civil rights litigation on behalf of 'Mexicans' as the NAACP-LDF was doing on behalf of blacks. Tijerina became MALDEF's first executive director, and, in 1970, Mario Obledo, former Texas Attorney General, became General Counsel. After MALDEF was established by 'seed money,' the Ford Foundation then awarded the organization a five-year grant in excess of $2 million.

MALDEF was a creation of the Ford Foundation in more ways than just funding. The Ford Foundation soon took control of virtually all important matters from where the headquarters should be located, to the appointment of its executive director, and the type of legal cases it should pursue.

Initially, MALDEF addressed a variety of issues ranging from education to school desegregation, voting rights to job discrimination, composition of draft boards to legal advice for anti-Vietnam war protesters. The Ford Foundation found this tactic unsatisfactory. The cases MALDEF was litigating were not radical enough. The Ford Foundation wanted precedent-setting cases to go before the U.S. Supreme Court whose rulings would effect the entire country. MALDEF was duly restructured to achieve those goals.

Since then MALDEF has redirected much of its effort to bilingual and bicultural education - i.e., promotion of the Spanish language and 'Hispanic' propaganda - and immigration - i.e., promotion of massive 'Hispanic' immigration in opposition to the wishes of the majority of U.S. citizens. Among some of its actions

* MALDEF supported the plaintiffs in 'Lau v. Nichols.' The ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court requiring non-English speaking students to be taught in English or 'other adequate instructional procedures' was successfully misinterpreted by MALDEF to mean education in languages other than English.

* MALDEF sought to amend the 'Bilingual Education Act' so general instruction could be conducted in languages other than English and bicultural programs could be included in the education.

* MALDEF filed charges alleging textbooks in California were biased against minorities.

* MALDEF litigated for free public education for the children of illegal aliens that successfully culminated in the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision in 'Plyer v. Doe.'

* MALDEF opposed California Proposition 187 that denied illegal aliens free social and welfare services and filed a class action lawsuit 'challenging its every provision.'

* Some individuals associated with MALDEF have demanded that U.S. citizenship be eliminated as a requirement to vote.

* MALDEF sought and received legal status to naturalize immigrants.

* MALDEF successfully lobbied for passage of the 'motor-voter' bill of 1993 that allows voter registration at welfare offices or when applying for a drivers' license; mandates mail-in voter registration and discourages States from verifying the applicant's eligibility or citizenship.

* MALDEF filed suit in 1997 to abolish the state requirement that students pass the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TASS), a three-part standardized test, for a high school diploma claiming among other things that the 'test contributes to the high drop out rates among Mexican Americans and African Americans.'

* MALDEF is defending 'affirmative action' enrollment at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

* MALDEF opposes immigration reform.

* MALDEF opposes securing the Mexican border even to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. When the Federal government launched 'Joint Task Force Six' to combat drug smuggling along the border, MALDEF filed suit to halt the project arguing in court that 'it would cause irreparable damage to the human and physical environment in the area.' What of the irreparable damage being done to the human and environment due to illegal aliens and drug smugglers? On that question, MALDEF is silent.

What is MALDEF's goal? According to Mario Obeldo, former head of MALDEF, 'California is going to be a Hispanic state. Anyone who does not like it should leave.' In 1998, Obledo was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Clinton.

MALDEF obtains the funding to support its activities primarily from corporations in particular AT&T and IBM, and philanthropic foundations. For the period 1991-1995, the total amount of 'gifts, grants and contributions' to MALDEF was over $17 million. Between 1996 and 1998, MALDEF received over nine million dollars from just three foundations the vast majority, over six million dollars from the Ford Foundation, $1,200,000 from Carnegie Corporation, and another $1,525,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation.

For the two-year period, 1995-1996, MALDEF paid a total of $720,992 in 'compensation of officers, directors, etc..' But paid $4,021,363 in 'other salaries and wages.'

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