‘Right’ to Loiter: The Borough of Freehold, N.J., has backed down in the face of a federal lawsuit, sponsored by the Puerto Rico Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), that claims “day laborers” have a constitutional right to loiter on the city streets.
On January 1, Freehold closed a borough-owned “muster zone” where illegal aliens had been allowed to gather and wait for work. It then started issuing loitering tickets to illegal aliens who, well, loitered. Under the law, these tickets were issued at the “discretion” of a police officer, which PRLDEF challenged as discriminatory. On January 30, Freehold agreed to repeal the law.
But the borough will fight another part of the same suit, which claims it was unconstitutional for Freehold to close the “muster zone.” “That’s public land there so they can’t deny free speech,” PRLDEF’s Cesar Perales told the Asbury Park Press.
“We’re going to fight it because we’re on the right side of this issue,” said Freehold Mayor Michael Wilson.
‘Hate Group’: A local citizens group called PEOPLE–Pressing Elected Officials to Preserve Our Living Environment–inspired Freehold’s move to crack down on illegal immigration.
According to the Bergen County Record, PEOPLE called on the borough to hire an immigration attorney “who can think outside the box,” petition the state attorney to deputize police to arrest illegal aliens, and pressure local merchants not to allow illegal aliens to congregate on their property.
In response, the Record reports, members of the borough’s Human Relations Committee put out a press release calling PEOPLE a “hate group.”
In a classic display of liberal media bias, the Record headlined its story: “Fight against day laborers called ‘hateful.’ Leaders denounce proposals.”
“No, we are not systematically trying to rid the town [of immigrants], and we’re not racists,” Vanessa Minenna, a member of PEOPLE, told the paper. “What annoys me is that the borough residents have been systematically labeled by these people as racists.”
Meanwhile, the Asbury Park Press reported that Martin Perez, president of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey wants the state attorney general’s office “to monitor the group’s activities, study its literature and decide whether PEOPLE should be placed on the state’s list of hate groups.”
Will they next call for naming the Border Patrol a hate group?
Not a Gun Rally: Public school districts in Maryland gave students graduation credits for “public service,” “no homework” passes, early dismissal from class, and free rides on public school buses to attend a partisan political rally last week in Annapolis. Two unions, the Maryland State Teachers’ Association and the American Federation of Teachers, co-sponsored the event, which was organized to complain that Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s proposed $325 million increase in state education funding (the biggest increase in Maryland history) was not big enough.
The event inspired Ehrlich to correctly question the practice of requiring students to do “public service” hours to earn a high school diploma. “Giving back is a moral obligation, which I support,” Ehrlich told the Washington Times. “But forcing it as a graduation requirement is a different matter, particularly if this were a 2nd-Amendment . . . or pro-life rally. Do you think the [teachers] union would be quick to give credit for [that]?”