Judicial Watch Petitions California Supreme Court to Review Laguna Beach Day Labor Site Lawsuit

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - January 7, 2009) - Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a petition with the California Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling in a Judicial Watch taxpayer lawsuit against the City of Laguna Beach, California, related to the Laguna Day Worker Center, a taxpayer funded day labor site that assists illegal aliens in finding employment. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit on behalf of Laguna Beach taxpayers Eileen Garcia and George Riviere, who seek to prevent any further expenditures of taxpayer funds for the site (Garcia, et al., v. City of Laguna Beach, et al.).

On November 26, 2008, a California Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the City of Laguna Beach in an unpublished opinion, prompting Judicial Watch's petition to the state's high court on January 5, 2009.

"This Court should grant review to resolve this important question of law that has significant and continuing consequences in communities across California," Judicial Watch argued in its petition. "Like many communities, the City of Laguna Beach... has sought to regulate the street-side solicitation of employment by day laborers. Also like many communities, the City has chosen a course of action that runs directly contrary to federal immigration law."

The City of Laguna Beach has expended taxpayer funds to operate the Laguna Day Worker Center since 1999. The center does not verify whether day laborers are eligible to work in the United States. According to several studies, the large majority of day laborers are in the United States illegally and therefore are not eligible to work in the United States.

According to public records, the City of Laguna Beach has given over $200,000 in grant money to the South County Cross Cultural Council, a non-profit organization, to manage the facility. The City of Laguna Beach also uses taxpayer funds to provide portable restroom facilities, trash removal, and to pay for leasing the property from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

Federal law prohibits the hiring of an undocumented worker, or referring an alien for employment for a fee, knowing the alien is not authorized for such employment. Federal law also requires verification of eligibility to work in the United States.

"The City of Laguna Beach continues to violate federal immigration law by helping illegal aliens obtain employment," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "This lawsuit is of great importance to the citizens of California. Communities across the state continue to waste taxpayer funds on day labor sites for illegal aliens in violation of federal law. The California Supreme Court can help put an end to this illegal practice once and for all."

A copy of the petition and related pleadings are available at www.judicialwatch.org.

Contact Information: Contact: Jill Farrell 202-646-5188