SEPTEMBER 19, 2007
Threatened with the exorbitant cost of defending a year-old law to curb illegal immigration, a southern New Jersey town has rescinded an ordinance that punishes those who hire and rent property to illegal aliens.
Under threat of litigation by a notoriously liberal civil rights group, the Riverside Township Committee voted to reverse the law this week because officials said they simply couldnâ??t afford the legal bills that come with defending it in court.
Other municipalities across the country have spent a fortune to defend their measures to curb illegal immigration and some–including Hazleton Pennsylvania, Farmers Branch Texas and Valley Park Missouri–have lost the costly court battles.
Riverside, with a population of about 8,000, is the first city to actually repeal its law prior to a court ruling. Local officials voted to rescind it after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit claiming that the measure violates civil rights under New Jerseyâ??s constitution.
An attorney with the group said that state law simply does not permit Riverside to strip immigrantsâ??even those in the country illegally–of their rights nor does it allow cities to control the rental or hiring decisions of businesses and landlords.
The ACLU has warned other cities considering adopting similar measures that they are discriminatory and unlawful and will not hold up in court. The group suggests that municipalities not blow city resources on the mean-spirited ordinances. No mention of the vast city resources that are draining municipalities across the nation, however.
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