News The Fight Over Casa Latina: Now in Legalese!
posted by September 28 at 18:09 PMon
Who wants to read the bitchy letter Judicial Watch sent the city over Casa Latina?
Well, here it is anyway, abridged with emphasis added:
We understand the City of Seattle has financially supported the operations of a non-profit organization involved in subsidizing and promoting criminal activity and has expended approximately $250,000 in citizen taxpayer funds in an award to the same non-profit organization for the purchase of the property at 17th Avenue South and South Jackson Street.
It cannot be reasonably disputed that users of day laborer facilities include undocumented workers. Studies conducted around the nation have confirmed that day laborers are predominantly persons not legally present or authorized to work in the United States. For example, a UCLA/University of Illinois nationwide survey of 2,260 day laborers, conducted in 2004 and published in January 2006, concluded that 75 percent of day laborers are undocumented.
We are aware of no reason to believe that day laborers in Seattle would be dissimilar from those in these other jurisdictions or different from the statistics cited in these studies. Thus it appears very likely the facility in Belltown is used by undocumented workers and employers of undocumented workers for illegal activities, namely the employment of undocumented workers. Likewise, the proposed Central District facility appears to be established, organized and funded for the express purpose of undocumented workers and employers of undocumented workers to engage in illegal activities, namely the employment of undocumented workers.
Federal law expressly prohibits the recruiting or hiring of an alien if it is known that the alien is not authorized to work in the United States. In addition, it is unlawful to hire any individual for employment in the United States without complying with federal employment eligibility verification requirements.
Certainly, facilitating the illegal employment of undocumented aliens, as is currently conducted under the auspices of the City and is further contemplated by the proposed Central District plan, may be deemed as encouraging or inducing an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, or at a minimum, aiding and abetting such conduct.
It is our understanding that the City does not require screening of day laborers to determine, whether, in fact, they are eligible to work in the United States. We are concerned that [this is] a direct violation of federal law, as they assist…and encourage violation of federal law.
For the City to use taxpayer resources in this manner is akin to a city operating its own “red light” district or illegal drug market. While the intentions behind the proposed facility may be well meaning, the establishment and operation of the proposed facility is not a proper use of taxpayer resources.
Kindly confirm that you will cease immediately expending citizen taxpayer dollars and resources for day labor sites and non profit organizations that promote criminal activity in violation of federal immigration law.
Up your nose with a rubber hose, says the City. (Also abridged with emphasis added)
The City rejects your demand. Your allegations are based neither in fact nor in law.
The Facts: Casa Latina is a non-profit, community organization that provides essential services to lower income Seattleites without regard to their race or national origin. Those services include finding permanent housing for homeless individuals, facilitating access to social and health services, offering English as a Second Language classes for all ages offering citizenship and work skills classes, partnering with the King County Bar Association to assist temporary workers to claim unpaid wages, and providing a clearing house for day laborers.
Judicial Watch charges Seattle, and by implication all other governments and corporations that fund Casa Latina, with violating federal immigration law based on nothing more than your unsubstantiated presumption that Casa Latina’s Latino clients are illegal aliens. If you had bothered to inquire, you would have discovered that Casa Latina requires identification documents from its clients in the day laborer program.
Your references to unnamed surveys conducted elsewhere purporting to document that a high percentage of day laborers are illegal only serves to prove that Judicial Watch’ thinly-veiled campaign of press releases, scare tactics, and threats of frivolous lawsuits are based neither on accurate facts nor applicable law.
Your efforts to bully the City into withdrawing financial support…will not work. Your asserted case is merit less.
We expect you to cease immediately your threats of frivolous litigation and any furter attempts to interfere with Casa Latinas provision of services to needy Seattleites.
The City will vigorously defend any lawsuit and wil consider all its legal options, including seeking sanctions against you for filing such a demonstrably frivolous lawsuit.
Them’s fightin’ words.
I emailed Judicial Watch to get a response to the city’s tough stance.
“The Seattle City Attorney’s office is misstating our legal position and is not being forthright concerning ‘identification documents’ supposedly ‘required’ by Casa Latina.”
I’ve got a call out to Casa Latina’s director to find out what their policy is.