Recently, a Superior Court for San Diego County issued a temporary restraining order to stop the city of Vista from releasing the personal information of employers registered to employ contingent workers.
The decision came after Vista passed an ordinance requiring registration of anyone who hired day laborers from “uncontrolled locations.” Since then, there have been five requests for registry information. The most recent request came from an opponent of day-labor hiring who had allegedly threatened to make the information more widely available.
The American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial counties filed suit, claiming that divulging this personal information violates the right of privacy in the California Constitution. According to Vista City Attorney Harold Pieper, Judge Michael Orfield forbade the release of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of those registered under Vista’s ordinance.
Final note: Ordinances such as these are part of a national trend. Local governments, convinced the federal government is not doing enough to stem illegal immigration, try to take matters into their own hands. However, courts frequently strike down such laws.
Consider this example: Louis Barletta, the mayor of the city of Hazleton, PA, pushed through an ordinance that made it illegal for landlords to rent to illegal immigrants. The law also allows Hazleton to deny business permits to companies found to have hired illegal immigrants. Federal Judge James Munley ruled the ordinance was illegal because controlling immigration and the nation’s borders is the federal government’s job. He also said the ordinance violated the due-process rights of illegal immigrants, landlords and employers.