JULY 11, 2007
Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae brief in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California in support of a City of Redondo Beach, California ordinance banning illegal aliens from seeking work on city streets. U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall ruled in April 2006 that the ordinance, first implemented in 1987, violated the illegal aliens’ First Amendment right to free speech and issued an injunction preventing police from enforcing the law.
Judicial Watch contends the lower court misapplied the First Amendment in its decision, failing to differentiate between commercial speech, which is entitled to lesser protection under the First Amendment, and political or expressive speech, which enjoys greater protection under the First Amendment.
“Not unlike hot dog vendors or t-shirt sellers commonly seen on the streets of busy cities across America, day laborers ‘propose a commercial transaction’ to prospective employers by standing in certain locations, like streets or sidewalks…no political message is conveyed. The only message is ‘hire me,’” Judicial Watch argued in its brief. “The District Court erred in its review of the City’s anti-solicitation ordinance by not analyzing street-side solicitation of employment as commercial speech. By doing so, the District Court failed to apply the appropriate First Amendment analysis to the ordinance. Because of this fundamental error, the District Court’s ruling should be reversed.”
Judicial Watch also pointed out that the District Court was wrong to suggest there are no laws preventing undocumented workers from seeking employment. It is unlawful to for illegal aliens to work in the United States and for anyone to aid and abet the violation of federal immigration laws. According to a recent University of Illinois survey, at least seventy-five percent (75%) of day laborers in the United States are illegal aliens.