Garcia v. City of Laguna Beach (No. 06-CC-10595) - day labor center
Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit in the Orange County Superior Court against the City of Laguna Beach for spending taxpayer funds to operate the Laguna Day Worker Center, a day laborer site that helps illegal aliens find jobs and provides other public benefits, including English language instruction. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Laguna Beach taxpayers Eileen Garcia and George Riviere, who have been very active challenging the day laborer site because of all the illegal immigrants it attracts.According to public records, the City of Laguna Beach provided a $21,000 grant for Fiscal year 2005-06, and a $22,000 financed grant for Fiscal Year 2006-07 to the South County Cross Cultural Council, a non-profit organization charged with operating the facility. The City of Laguna Beach also uses taxpayer funds to provide portable restroom facilities, trash removal, and to pay for leasing the property from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).The City of Laguna Beach has expended taxpayer funds to operate the Laguna Day Worker Center since 1999. Day laborers using the center are charged a $1 referral fee each day he or she receives employment at the facility, while employers using the center pay a fee of $5. The center does not verify whether or not day laborers are eligible to work in the United States and does not require that day laborers provide any formal identification. According to several studies, the large majority of day laborers are in the United States illegally and therefore are not eligible to work in the United States.Federal law prohibits the hiring of an undocumented worker, or referring an alien for employment for a fee, knowing the alien is not authorized for such employment. Federal law also requires verification of eligibility to work in the United States.Judicial Watch filed an appeal to the California Court of Appeal and oral argument was held on September 17, 2008. The decision by the appellate court on November 26, 2008 upheld the lower court’s ruling in favor of the defendants. Since then, Judicial Watch has been considering alternative legal challenges.
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