Court Upholds Day Laborer Law
JUNE 11, 2010
In an unexpected but welcome victory for immigration enforcement, a notoriously liberal federal appellate court has ruled that a southern
The surprise ruling, issued this week by the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, comes amid legal defeats to a number of local ordinances enacted to help curb a nationwide crisis caused by illegal immigration. In this case, the
In 2006 a federal judge ruled that the city’s ban on day laborer solicitations violates the First Amendment free speech rights of illegal immigrants and targets a certain group. The measure was actually passed more than two decades ago but the city didn’t begin enforcing it until 2004 and an immigration advocacy group filed a lawsuit after police arrested numerous violators. Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae brief with the federal appellate court in support of the city.
In its decision, a divided 9th Circuit panel consisting of three judges said that Redondo Beach’s ordinance is a reasonable response to traffic problems that officials say day laborers soliciting work are causing at two city intersections. Furthermore, the ruling says that
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Kim Wardlaw maintains that the measure violates day laborers’ free speech rights because its “overbroad and thus violates well-established principles of our First Amendment jurisprudence.” Laws in other parts other country designed to ban day laborers have faced similar scrutiny from different courts.
Just last month a federal judge in New York ruled that a Long Island town can’t enforce its “unconstitutional” law prohibiting illegal immigrant day laborers from seeking work on public property and people from hiring them. Oyster Bay passed the public safety measure last fall because day laborers—and those who hire them—were creating dangerous traffic situations in the municipality’s main roads. In a lawsuit, a group of day laborers claimed that the town enacted a law with a “discriminatory community animus” against Latinos.
A similar ordinance in Mamaroneck, a working class village located about 25 miles north of
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