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Mamaroneck, NY

Westchester, NY: (Jun-11-07) The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, which represented six Hispanic immigrant day laborers, filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Mamaroneck, of Westchester village, alleging police officers discriminated against and intimidated the minority workers by asking for their immigration status. The village had set up a hiring site on the edge of a park in 2004, but closed it in February 2006, unhappy at the swelling numbers of laborers. Mamaroneck said its resources were being strained and it wanted other municipalities to take some of the load. The number of workers went down and those who stayed took to the streets; the village put them and the contractors who came to hire them under increased scrutiny, launching a campaign of harassment and ticketing. The village was also accused of stepping up street patrols, which contributed to the discrimination.

The suit claimed that there should be specific prohibitions on police misconduct and discriminatory behavior towards day laborers, including a prohibition against routine police inquiry into their immigration status. The suit said that the village's crackdown violated the laborers' right to equal protection. In a settlement reached, the village was ordered to pay $550,000, ending the racial discrimination lawsuit. [FORBES: DAY LABORERS DISCRIMINATION]

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Published on Jun-12-07


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