Solis Reportedly Told Center Graduates, "The federal laws are very clear and protect all workers equally, whether or not they have papers"; Current Labor Secretary Nominee Thomas Perez Served as Group's President
WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Mar 28, 2013) - Judicial Watch announced today that on March 14, 2013, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Obama Department of Labor (DOL) seeking records detailing the May 30, 2012 visit of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to CASA de Maryland's Langley Park training center. President Obama's current nominee for Labor Secretary, Thomas Perez, served as President of the Board for CASA, which described its chief goals in recent IRS filings as helping all people "participate and benefit fully" in American society, "regardless of their immigration status."
While taking part in a roundtable discussion at the center, Solis reportedly told CASA center graduates to report their employers for wage and hour violations, regardless of the workers' immigration status. "[Barack Obama] knows very well that it is very important to preserve the rights of the Hispanic community and of other communities in any area where they are working," Solis was quoted as saying. "The federal laws are clear and protect all workers equally, whether or not they have papers."
On June 1, 2012, Judicial Watch sent a FOIA request to the Department of Labor seeking access to the following information:
a. Documentation of funding to Casa de Maryland, directly or through its affiliation with Prince George's and Montgomery County Colleges;
b. Talking points, briefing books, or any other internal memoranda (in any language) developed in preparation for Secretary Solis's visit to Casa de Maryland this week;
c. Documentation of transportation, meals, and security associated with Secretary Solis's visit to Casa de Maryland this week, including invoices, reimbursement authorizations, and check requisitions; and,
d. Notes, agendas, minutes, and any other communications relating to Secretary Solis's visit to Casa de Maryland this week, including video, audio and e-mail contact with the press and third-party organizations before and after the event.
Under federal law, DOL was required to respond to the Judicial Watch FOIA request by June 29, 2012. According to the Judicial Watch March 14 lawsuit, DOL has "failed to make a determination about whether it will comply ... or notify [Judicial Watch] of its right to appeal any adverse determination ... Nor has [DOL] produced any records responsive to the request, indicated when any responsive records will be produced, or demonstrated that responsive records are exempt from production."
The Judicial Watch lawsuit asks the District Court to order DOL to conduct a search for all responsive records to the original FOIA request, produce al non-exempt records, enjoin DOL from continuing to withhold non-exempt records, and grant Judicial Watch attorneys' fees and litigation costs.
"The most transparent administration in history is once again in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. The outrageous stonewalling by the Obama Department of Labor strongly suggests it is covering up connections and policies that most Americans would find objectionable," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The Obama administration's partnership with a radical organization that openly encourages illegal immigrants to operate outside the law is especially egregious in light of the continued unemployment crisis for the American citizens and legal residents. No wonder there's a cover up."
In February 2012, Judicial Watch and its client, MDPetitions.com scored a major court victory over CASA de Maryland when the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County ruled against a CASA attempt to block a referendum vote on whether Maryland should provide taxpayer dollar subsidies for the college tuition of certain illegal aliens through the so-called "Maryland Dream Act."
On March 19, 2013, Judicial Watch cited the illegal activities of CASA in a statement opposing the nomination of Thomas Perez to be the next Secretary of Labor, saying, "Perez is a former president of the board of CASA (Central American Solidarity Association) de Maryland a group whose recent filings with the IRS describe its chief goals as helping all people 'participate and benefit fully' in American society, 'regardless of their immigration status.' In opposing the Perez nomination, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff Sessions (D-AL), described CASA, which was financially supported by the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, as 'a fringe advocacy group that has instructed illegal immigrants on how to escape detection, and also promoted illegal labor sites and driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.'"