Attorneys with the national law firm, Chamberlain Hrdlicka, filed a lawsuit today in federal district court in Houston, Texas with significant consequences for the dynamic issues of family rights, immigration, and religious expression.
“We are honored to help the Rodriguez family in their efforts to stay united as a family,” said Wayne Risoli, Chamberlain Hrdlicka managing shareholder. “We are also pleased to see so many of our lawyers offer their time free of charge to help the family.”
Tax litigation shareholder Juan F. Vasquez, Jr., former Texas Supreme Court Justice David M. Medina, and board certified civil trial specialist David N. Calvillo and others represent four U.S. citizens who argue that the deportation of their father and husband, Juan Rodriguez, to El Salvador will constitute their de facto religious deportation as well.
The family members are devout Seventh Day Adventists and one of their religion’s fundamental beliefs or tenets is that families must remain together - for the formation of the children and in keeping with God’s plan for marriage. The threatened deportation of Rodriguez will substantially burden the free exercise of their religion when less restrictive means exist. Specifically, Rodriguez, a deacon in his church, has been reporting periodically without incident to the authorities. Rodriguez is a productive taxpayer with no criminal record and a record of positive contributions to his community.
The case also alleges violations of the substantive and procedural due process clause of the 5th Amendment and of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“The threatened de facto religious deportation of this family is an immoral action that tears at the fabric of this great land and of the loving and religious culture of immigrant families throughout the history of the United States,” said former Texas Supreme Court Justice David M. Medina.
“The family unit in the Hispanic and many other cultures personifies the story of the holy family in the Bible and serves as the bedrock for values embodied in the story of America,” said David N. Calvillo.
Juan F. Vasquez, Jr. added, “forcing parents to choose between freely practicing their religion and enjoying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness or accepting the de facto religious deportation of their children to a violence-torn nation is illegal and unconstitutional. That is wrong. Our nation can and should do better.”
About Chamberlain Hrdlicka
Chamberlain Hrdlicka is a diversified business law firm with offices in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Antonio. The firm represents both public and private companies as well as individuals and family-owned businesses across the nation. In addition to tax planning and tax controversy, the firm offers corporate, securities and finance, employment law and employee benefits, energy law, estate planning and administration, intellectual property, international and immigration law, commercial and business litigation, real estate and construction law.