ADL Hails Successful Federal Convictions in 2008 Hate Crime in Shenandoah, PA

Philadelphia, PA, October 15, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today applauded the conviction of two men in the July 2008 bias-motivated fatal beating of Luis Ramirez, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.  

In May, 2009, after a Schuylkill County jury acquitted the two of the most serious changes, instead convicting them of simple assault, the League wrote to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, urging him to file federal criminal civil rights charges.

"For the past five years, ADL has documented a growing atmosphere of bigotry and xenophobia and a disturbing increase in the number of violent assaults against Hispanics – legal, and undocumented immigrants – and those perceived to be immigrants. It is no accident that, as some voices in the immigration debate have demonized immigrants as "invaders" who poison our communities with disease and criminality, haters have taken matters into their own hands," said Berny Brownstein, ADL Eastern Pennsylvania-Delaware Chair and Barry Morrison, ADL Regional Director. 

"This successful Justice Department prosecution sends a strong message that, whatever one's views on the immigration debate, bias-motivated violence is utterly unacceptable and will be punished to the full extent of the law."

In the aftermath of the crime, professionals from the ADL's Eastern Pennsylvania Regional Office in Philadelphia worked with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and other community groups and government agencies to respond to an increase in community tensions in and around Shenandoah.