NDLON in the News

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Redondo Beach to ask U.S. Supreme Court to uphold day laborer law

By Matt Stevens | October 6, try 2011 | 2:27pm | Source: L.A. Now Blog (LATimes)

 

Redondo Beach to ask U.S. Supreme Court to uphold day laborer law

Photo: Day laborers and supporters march on Redondo Beach City Hall. Credit: Brian van der Brug.

In what’s likely to be a final effort to salvage its controversial day laborer law, officials in Redondo Beach said they would urge the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appeals court ruling that declared the city’s anti-solicitation ordinance unconstitutional.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 9-2 last month to strike down the law, which has been on the books in Redondo Beach for about two decades.

Experts said the ruling could have consequences for dozens of other cities that have adopted anti-solicitation laws, which are often used to control day laborers who gather on public streets and sidewalks while seeking work.

City officials have maintained that the ordinance was meant to promote traffic safety, but it sparked controversy in 2004 when police arrested more than 60 laborers in a monthlong operation dubbed the Day Labor Enforcement Project.

Though the appeals court was decisive in its ruling, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski issued a sharply worded dissenting opinion, arguing that “when large groups of men gather at a single location, they litter, vandalize, urinate, block the sidewalk, harass females and damage property.

“The majority is demonstrably, egregiously, recklessly wrong,” he continued. “If I could dissent twice, I would.”

City Atty. Mike Webb said Redondo Beach modeled its law after a nearly identical Phoenix ordinance that the 9th Circuit upheld in 1986.

“If cities can’t do that then there’s no way for cities to be able to responsibly protect public safety and welfare,” Webb said.

But Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, one of the plaintiffs in the case, called the appeal a “scam of taxpayers’ money.”

“This is a violation of human and civil rights,” he said. “I thought this was going to be a time for dialogue, for openness, for finding constructive solutions — not engaging in this type of back-and-forth anymore.”

Photo: Day laborers and supporters march on Redondo Beach City Hall. Credit: Brian van der Brug.

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Day laborer center to host fundraiser

By Scott Brinton, sbrinton@liherald.com

Coloki, Inc., a nonprofit group set up by Merokean Liz O’Shaughnessy to run the Freeport Work Hiring Trailer that aids impoverished day laborers, will host a benefit fundraiser at Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall in Wantagh on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 5 to 9 p.m.

The evening will include an open bar, open buffet and live music?featuring Cat Parr & Friends.

Tickets are $50 each. Tax-deductible donations of $50 per ticket should be made out to Coloki Inc. and sent to Liz O’Shaughnessy, 27 Surrey Drive, Merrick, N.Y. 11566, or donations can be made safely via PayPal on Coloki’s website at colokiinc.com.

Tickets sold on the night of the event will be $60. For more, call Liz at (516) 996-9298.

The Freeport Work Hiring Trailer, which is made possible in part by a grant from the nonprofit, Port Washington-based Hagedorn Foundation, provides immigrant day laborers with a warm, dry, safe place to stay while they wait for landscapers and contractors to pick them up for jobs. A the same time, the trailer offers warm meals to dozens of day laborers who might otherwise go hungry, along with English language lessons.

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Day Laborers Respond to Secretary Napolitano’s Immigration Speech

Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, responded to Secretary Napolitano’s speech today at American University with the following statement:
“We are happy to hear Secretary Napolitano mention S-Comm and ‘termination’ in the same sentence. Despite the political spin and marketing campaign to defend a failed program, S-Comm has proven to be a disastrous policy for our nation and for our communities. It should be ended before it leads to the further Arizonification of the country.
Facts do matter, and the fact remains that New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts have all rejected S-Comm while Alabama, Arizona, and Georgia embrace it wholeheartedly. The program has undermined public safety, imperiled civil rights, and moved the immigration debate in the wrong direction. Rather than bring us closer to immigration reform with legalization for millions of Americans-in-Waiting, S-Comm has been used to defend the false premise that the country needs enforcement quotas to maintain unprecedented rates of deportation. This insidious premise is resulting in the criminalization of an entire generation of our society.
Secretary Napolitano is correct that ‘two opposites cannot simultaneously be true.’ The Administration cannot set its sights on deporting more hardworking individuals than President Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback” and at the same time authentically claim it is advancing immigration reform. It cannot criminalize and legalize people at the same time. Deportation rates must decline, S-Comm must be ended, and in places like Maricopa County in Arizona, human rights must be vigorously defended and prioritized by the Administration.
We acknowledge the Administration inherited broken immigration laws and a poisonous political environment, but S-Comm has made matters worse. We will continue to work with a growing chorus of voices calling for its complete termination.”
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Update from NDLON member organization VOZ Workers Rights and Education Project in Fight against E-Verify: Representative Blumenauer Declares Opposition to E-Verify Bill

Representative Blumenauer Declares Opposition to E-Verify Bill

Portland, sick OR: In recent days, our fight to build the opposition against HR 2885, the E-Verify bill, has gained momentum! In a letter to the VOZ team, US Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) expressed his shared opposition to the bill. Blumenauer’s notes the technical flaws of the bill, as well as its misdirected ideology. Blumenauer notes, “E-Verify is a flawed system that too often misidentifies otherwise eligible workers.” He continues to argue that “even a flawless E-Verify program only addresses one aspect of a complex issue… We should reform border policy to address terrorists and cartels- not families’ simply trying to improve their lives.” While Blumenauer’s letter is a great step in building opposition to the E-Verify bill, there is still much work to be done. We are hopeful that the rest of the Oregon delegation will follow Representative Blumenauer and declare their opposition to the bill. You can help in this process! Call your representatives, and spread the word about E-Verify.

See the full letter here: Blumenauer Response on HR 2885

Help fight against E-Verify,  call your representative NOW!

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Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley

This case challenges the constitutionality of Alabama’s extreme anti-immigrant law, HB 56. On September 28, 2011, in a disappointing decision that departed from decisions in similar cases across the country, the district judge upheld the vast majority of the law.  Plaintiffs have appealed that decision to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The one bright spot in the otherwise disappointing district court decision was the finding that the anti-day labor provisions of HB 56 likely violate the First Amendment.  Those provisions were subsequently enjoined, and have not taken effect. NDLON is co-counsel in the case, along with the ACLU, MALDEF, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigration Law Center, and others.

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Rights of Curbside Jobseekers Upheld

By Robert Longley, Source: About.com Guide September 28, 2011

Rights of Curbside Jobseekers Upheld Apparently implementing its own plan to create new jobs, the San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 9-2 that your right to stand by roads holding signs asking for jobs is protected by the First Amendment.

It all started in May 1987, when Redondo Beach, California adopted an ordinance making it illegal for persons standing on streets, highways, sidewalks or alleys from soliciting drivers and passengers of vehicles for employment, business or contributions. The ordinance also made it illegal for drivers to “stop, park or stand” their vehicle in order to hire or negotiate with the curbside jobseekers.

According to a memo from its city attorney, Redondo Beach created the anti-street solicitation ordinance in reaction to traffic congestion, hazards and other “difficulties” resulting from the gathering of large numbers of day laborers – many of them migrant workers – at major intersections seeking work or contributions from motorists.

In 2004, two groups representing day laborers, the Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach (Comite) and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), filed a lawsuit challenging the ordinance’s constitutionality.

In defending its ordinance before the District Court of Central California, a Redondo Beach’s police officer testified that the day laborers had not only caused traffic hazards, but had committed “acts of vandalism, litter, [and] urinate near the businesses” in the areas near the affected intersections.

The District Court sided with the day labors groups, finding that Redondo Beach’s ordinance unconstitutionally restricted the day laborers’ and “other persons’” First Amendment rights of free speech.

Also See: Do Undocumented Persons Have Constitutional Rights?

Redondo Beach appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the District Court’s decision finding the ordinance unconstitutional.

In its 9-2 decision, the Court of Appeals stated that the ordinance failed to meet the “time, place, and manner of expression” First Amendment standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court. Under the “time, place, and manner of expression” standard, the government is allowed create regulations limiting speech only if those regulations address a specific “significant government interest” and provide for “ample alternative channels of communication.”

According to the Court of Appeals, the goal of the Redondo Beach ordinance – traffic control – could have been achieved by enforcing existing traffic laws and regulations without restricting freedom of speech.

“Because the Ordinance does not constitute a reasonable regulation of the time, place, or manner of speaking, it is facially unconstitutional,” wrote the Court of Appeals in its decision.

Latino Rights Group Cheers Ruling: The 9th District Court’s decision was praised by the Latino legal civil rights organization MALDEF as setting strong precedent on the rights of day laborers.

“Today’s en banc (full court) Ninth Circuit opinion resoundingly vindicates the First Amendment rights of day laborers throughout the western United States,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel, who argued the case before the Court of Appeals. “The dozens of similar ordinances throughout the region that purport to prevent day laborers from speaking on sidewalks are now even more plainly violative of the Constitution.

Saenz called on cities with similar ordinances to repeal them immediately. “The longstanding principle that the right of free speech belongs to everyone has been significantly bolstered by this decision,” he said.

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Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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