OCTOBER 27, 2008
Months after a federal judge ruled that an Arizona town could not prevent illegal aliens from loitering and soliciting work in the streets, officials will pay tens of thousands of dollars to settle the lawsuit filed by three day laborers.
The case involves Cave Creek, a quaint town of about 5,000 residents in Arizona’s scenic Sonora Desert. In 2007 lawmakers passed a safety measure to stop those searching for work—mostly illegal immigrants—from blocking traffic on public roads because it was creating a major hazard.
The ordinance made it a civil offense to stand on or near a street to solicit or attempt to solicit employment, business or contributions from vehicles. Three day laborers challenged the law and in June a federal judge blocked it, ruling that it was an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.
In her ruling, the judge actually wrote that the day laborers faced not only the loss of First Amendment freedoms, but also the loss of employment opportunities necessary to support themselves and their families.
Facing a costly litigation battle, Cave Creek killed its law like many other small municipalities across the nation. To finally close the case, the Town Council voted unanimously last week to pay the day laborers’ legal fees of $70,000. The workers were represented pro bono by several immigrant rights groups that actually wanted nearly double the amount from the town.
In its nationwide effort to fight illegal immigration, Judicial Watch had worked closely with Cave Creek officials to implement its now-defunct measure banning day laborers from loitering and soliciting work in the streets.
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