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ACLU Makes Town Drop Anti-Illegals Law

From the open borders lobbyists at the Associated Press:

New Jersey town drops law targeting illegal immigrants

RIVERSIDE, N.J. — A controversial ordinance intended to punish employers and landlords who hire or house illegal immigrants would be too expensive to defend, Riverside officials said in voting to rescind the year-old law.

The ordinance had never been enforced, and Monday night’s 3-1 vote by the Riverside Township Committee put an end to it.

Township officials said they couldn’t afford the legal bills that would come with defending the law in court. Riverside is already facing one lawsuit over the anti-illegal immigration ordinance, and a federal judge earlier this year found a similar ordinance in Hazleton, Pa., unconstitutional.

The township meetings when Riverside adopted the law had been fiery. In contrast, Monday’s committee meeting was sparsely attended. No one from the public spoke about the ordinance.

Riverside, a suburb of Philadelphia, had become a haven for immigrants — first Portuguese, then more recently, Brazilians.

Officials estimated that nearly half the town’s population of around 8,000 were illegal immigrants, and officials said their numbers were putting a strain on public services and already scarce parking spaces.

The law set fines of $1,000 on first-time offenders who knowingly hired or rented to illegal immigrants. The move sparked protests, counterprotests and a lawsuit.

Marcus Carroll, the only member of the township committee to vote against rescinding the law, said the ordinance successfully drove unwanted residents away.

“You can go home now and find a place to park,” he said.

The Coalition of Riverside Business Owners and Landlords will probably drop its lawsuit challenging the ordinance, said David Verduin, president of the group.

Of course the article fails to mention that the township only rescinded this regulation under the threat of a lawsuit from the ACLU and the rest of the usual suspects:

Anti-Immigrant Ordinances: Riverside, N.J.

The “Riverside Township Illegal Immigration Relief Act,” attempts to ban undocumented immigrants from renting, residing, using property or being employed in the New Jersey town. The ordinance, in very vague, broad terms, applies to actions that “aid or abet” undocumented immigrants anywhere in the United States, and would impose $1,000 fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and bans employers from hiring them.

A coalition of Riverside business owners, landlords, and residents, represented by the ACLU of New Jersey, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, ACLU cooperating attorney James Katz of Spear Wilderman, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, People For the American Way Foundation, and Rangonese, Albano & Viola, filed suit against the ordinance in New Jersey state court. The suit contends that the ordinance goes far beyond the authority of Riverside under state law, and would require landlords and business owners to take unreasonable and expensive measures and possibly invade the privacy of their clients in order to comply. While not currently being enforced, the ordinance has already had a profound impact on the town: one-third of Riverside’s immigrant population has moved away, causing some businesses to close, while others have seen sales decline by as much as 50 percent.

On August 23, 2007, the Riverside Township Committee approved the first reading of a bill that would rescind the ordinance, citing a number of factors including the Hazleton ordinance’s defeat in federal court. On September 17, 2007, after the bill’s second reading, Riverside’s ordinance was nullified.

You can see the ACLU crowing over their latest victory over representative government and the rule of law here.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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