Looks like illegal immigrants really can hang out on a street corner and whistle at well-proportioned white women ask for work.

In fact, the most conservative U.S. Supreme Court in decades says so (sorry John & Ken). The court today denied a petition to overturn a lower-court decision that says Redondo Beach and other western municipalities can't ban day laborers from gathering and soliciting jobs.

The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, which challenged Redondo Beach's now outlawed rule, was ecstatic:

The 2004 case of Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach was a response to the City's undercover sting operation in which officers posed as employers hiring day laborers only to arrest the workers after they agreed to employment and entered the officers' vehicles.

In a statement sent to L.A. Weekly, MALDEF President Thomas A. Saenz said:

Today's denial of Supreme Court review is a singular victory for the First Amendment and its protection of free speech by all persons; the Amendment protects day laborers as well as the wealthiest corporation.

The denial only appears to make such anti-day-laborer laws illegal in western states, as it applies to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' overturning of Redondo Beach's law. (Unfortunately certain hick towns in the South will still be able to have similar laws, it seems, until they're challenged.)


The dozens of cities in the western United States with markedly similar anti-day-labor laws should act immediately to repeal them; each day that these laws remain on the books is a further unconstitutional deterrence of constitutionally protected expression.

So gather round, my Mexicans, and ask to be paid to go to white people's homes and paint them, fix their plumbing, and clear leaves from their gutters. Apparently it's the American thing to do.

[Added at 1 p.m.]: Saenz told us this afternoon that MALDEF's next goal will be to get the city of Costa Mesa to drop a similar law, which the group has also challenged in court.

And even though the Ninth Circuit's 9-2 decision outlawing such rules only technically affects the West, he says …

I would expect this decision would have an effect across the country. It's not binding [in the South], but it would be persuasive.

For now, he says, MALDEF is going to work to ensure that cities in the region covered by the Ninth Circuit will take heed:

We're starting with the ones in the Ninth because there are still plenty of cities with laws like this on their books.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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