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Friday, September 28, 2007

The Fight Over Casa Latina: Now in Legalese!

posted by on September 28 at 18:09 PM

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.

RSS icon Comments


I like the short answer - "The city rejects your claim. It is based neither in fact nor in law."


Posted by Will in Seattle | September 28, 2007 5:15 PM

Great work Josh - just so you hear from some of us who enjoy thorny social issues that affect thousand of REAL people - THIS IS REAL NEWS - please stay on it and ditch some of the other " misc. short life stuff".


Posted by Kip | September 28, 2007 5:20 PM

A progressive city council and firebox city attorney - go go go

And, Seattle need the workers. I have hired six or seven times from the labor pool in question - and each time have been very satisfied. Very. Hard working people,
friendly, for day labor it works well.

What more do people really contribute in any situation than their time and labor? Need to honor these workers, not shit on them.

Go go go firebox Carr

This outside group sounds Rovian.

Posted by adam and partner named steve | September 28, 2007 5:26 PM

In all seriousness, I would really appreciate it if the city did establish a red light district and an open air drug market. It would be a nice way of keeping it away from residential neighborhoods.

Posted by Gitai | September 28, 2007 5:58 PM

That part at the end where the City said "I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Now, go away, or I shall taunt you a second time-a!" was a bit uncalled for, but I can see why they said it.

Posted by elenchos | September 28, 2007 6:43 PM

better sung, but hey..

Solo voy con mi pena
Sola va mi condena
Correr es mi destino
Por no llevar papel
Perdido en el corazn
De la grande Babylon
Me dicen el clandestino
Yo soy el quiebra ley

No would ever become a lawyer if they had even a tiny amount of either musical or poetic ability. Lawyers are those who turn their own pettiness into power by means of a thousand thugs.

Posted by kinaidos | September 28, 2007 8:05 PM

There appear to be some pretty big holes in the city response.

1. The "identification documents" aren't named but if they include Mexico's ID card, even their consuls admit that they don't check immigration status of those they sell them to, and those who are here legally have no use for that ID. If it's U.S. document, it may have been obtained using one of Mexico's IDs.

2. The study JW mentions is pretty well known, and I knew exactly what they were refering to.

Posted by TLB | September 28, 2007 8:27 PM

Gitai @ 4

In all seriousness, I would really appreciate it if the city did establish a red light district and an open air drug market. It would be a nice way of keeping it away from residential neighborhoods.

I would too. Not only would it keep it away from residential neighborhoods but it would make your sex and drug shopping needs a lot easier. I mean right now illegal activity is spread all over the city and it's a real pain in the ass. I mean really, you try finding a reliable dope dealer at 2am, and hookers, Hell, you can cruise Aurora for hours looking for one. But if you had a large open-air drug market and red light district you'd know where the dope dealers and hookers were. Having it all concentrated in one area would increase economic efficiency (less time would be spent by people trying to find drug dealers) and reduce greenhouse gases (less time would be spent repeatedly cruising up and down Aurora or Pacific Highway South wondering if that woman at the corner in the short skirt was either an ugly prostitute, a transsexual an undercover cop, or worst of all, King County council woman Jane Hague.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | September 28, 2007 11:58 PM

It's amazing how so many liberals think illegal immigration is OK (and let's not fool ourselves, I doubt that Casa Latina is filling out I-9s on the workers they're aiding) given that illegal aliens are basically nothing more than scab labor.

Think about it. If GM had decided to settle its strike by hiring scab workers the liberals and progressives who read Slog would have been besides themselves with fury, condemning GM and those who crossed the picket lines and vowing to never, ever buy a GM automobile. OK, fine. But what is the refrain that we constantly hear from both liberals and progressives of the left and the market leninists on the right about illegal immigrants and illegal immigration? Well the refrain is "they're not doing anything, they're just taking jobs that Americans won't do". Now let's imagine for a second that GM had not only hired a bunch of scabs to replace the striking members of the UAW but had also said "hey, theire just doing jobs that the UAW isn't willing to do. I doubt that anyone would buy the argument, if anything it would probably piss people off even more.

So what are illegal aliens doing? Well we're told by both the market leninists and liberals and progressives that they're doing jobs that Americans won't do. But why won't Americans workers do these jobs? Is it because they're arent enough of them, or is it because there aren't enough of them who will work long hours for extremely low wages. Is it because Americans expect to be treated with a certain modicum of dignity? Is it because American workers aren't as easy to fuck over as illegal aliens. There are a lot of people who seem to think that workers should be grateful to accept whatever jobs they're offered and whatever wages they're offered, that unions are bad and that corporations are good and they're called Republicans. But it's amazing how many liberals and progressives have bought into their attitude about workers and fall to and goosestep alongside them when it comes to this issue.

Americans also can't be fucked over by their employers as easily as illegal aliens can. So in endorsing illegal immigration liberals and progressives are not only endorsing a policy which depresses wages for unskilled jobs but they're also endorsing a policy which largely benefits big business by giving them a cheap and tractable labor supply which further reduces the bargaining power of American workers. Justifying illegal immigration by saying that illegal immigrant workers are necessary to do jobs that Americans won't is as legitimate as saying that slavery was justified because white people didn't like picking cotton in the hot sun all day and getting whipped by sadistic assholes.

There's also a certain amount of racism in the statement that illegal aliens are doing the jobs that Americans won't do. Illegal aliens are not coming to America to become software engineers, neurosurgeons, NASCAR drivers or airline pilots, they're coming here and doing shit jobs, waiting tables, busboys, dishwashers, prep cooks, hotel maids, day laborers for patronizing liberal assholes who post on SLOG, nannys for attorney general nominees, etc, etc, etc. These are not really great jobs, the hours are long, this work is hard and dirty and contains little or no dignity. Now. I'd like to ask all of the people who think that illegal immigration is so great because it gives us a cheap labor supply. how much they would have to be paid to take one of these jobs. Seriously, how much would they have to pay you to be a day laborer, a hotel maid, a prep cook or dishwasher or busboy? If the answer is that you wouldn't do those jobs for the wages they pay then why is it, if these jobs are too lousy for you to do them then why aren't they too lousy for any other American to do them and why then if they are too lousy for an American to do for the money why it is OK for an illegal alien to do them for the money they pay.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | September 29, 2007 12:40 AM

Liberals tolerate illegal immigration for the same reason they tolerate illegal pot smoking: it shouldn't be illegal. The reason they are so easy to exploit -- and thus undermine US wages -- is that they are unable to stand up for themselves. Anyone who tries to stand up for them is accused of being a criminal.

It used to be easy for them to drive a wedge between black workers and white workers. Now they do it with native and immigrant.

It isn't by accident that the corporations want the freedom to cross borders for capital but not labor. They want labor tied to the land, or else dehumanized and stripped of all rights. Empowering people labeled illegal frightens the corporations, and for good reason.

Posted by elenchos | September 29, 2007 8:58 AM

Supporting illegal immigration is wrong. Follow the law or change it.

Posted by Jennifer | September 29, 2007 12:16 PM

You mean the way Bush's IRS enforces the tax code to the letter? Or his EPA makes sure the corporations don't get away with anything?

Nobody obeys every law. And every government agency enforces that part of the law that the people in power want enforced.

It isn't my fault that it takes more power to change a law than it does to selectively enforce it. But I promise: if even half the people of this country themselves wanted to obey every single law, I'd do the same. Until then, I'll be a realist, and I certainly won't act like "illegal" immigrants are any more illegal than the rest of us.

Posted by elenchos | September 29, 2007 3:48 PM

Since when is it the city's job to enforce federal law?

Posted by keshmeshi | September 29, 2007 4:51 PM

The City response is really weak and the legal posturing that is occuring now is an attempt of the City Council, Mayor and other politicians who have funded this project to cover their as*es. They all know that what CASA does is illegal according to Federal employment & immigration law.

What other organization(s) would the City allow to operate illegally and with taxpayer funds?

- CASA Latina DOES NOT check documents. If they did they would not have any clients.

- CASA Latina's day laborers are predominantly here illegally. (Else why not work for more $$s and have L&I etc.)

- The more day laborers that CASA Latina runs through their 'employment agency' (basically that is what they do), the more $$s CASA and Hillary Stern makes.

It is not right for CASA to profit from day laborers and to create a safety problem for the Central District and the surrounding neighborhoods (I.D., Leschi, Mt. Baker, Capitol & 1st Hill) in the process.

Plus the City, State and County taxpayers and neighboring residents get to pay for it... Unfortunately... with more than just dollars.

CASA Latina is NOT the solution for the day laborer problem in Seattle.

Posted by Bob S | October 6, 2007 4:57 PM

13 -- If the City is providing TAXPAYER funds to an organization, it should ensure that those funds are being used legally. Else future Federal funding could be put in jeopardy. fact, the City has included language in the CASA grant that REQUIRES CASA to comply with all applicable laws and shield the City from any potential liability.

Posted by Bob S | October 6, 2007 5:05 PM

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