COSTA MESA—The City of Costa Mesa repealed its unconstitutional anti-solicitation ordinance three years after civil rights organizations sued on behalf of the Asociación de Jornaleros de Costa Mesa, whose members had been restricted from peaceably expressing their need and availability for work in the city’s public areas and Colectivo Tonantzin, an organization dedicated to protecting the interests of immigrant workers and their families in Orange County.
“Workers whose goals are to put food on their tables and who are exercising their First Amendment rights to do so, will no longer have to fear harassment at the hands of their city,” said Lucero Chavez, attorney for the ACLU of Southern California. “The City of Costa Mesa can no longer restrict their fundamental rights.”
Federal courts throughout the country have consistently struck down anti-solicitation ordinances and have ruled in favor of preserving the free speech rights of day laborers, which allows them to express their availability for work on public sidewalks and public areas. The repealed Costa Mesa ordinance prohibited day laborers from standing on public property and sidewalks to solicit work. It subjected laborers to a $1,000 fine and imprisonment up to six months.
“We are glad to see this law repealed,” said Scott Sink of Colectivo Tonatzin. “The right to work is a human right and Colectivo Tonantzin stands in solidarity with the Asociación de Jornaleros de Costa Mesa.”
"Day laborers deserve our thanks for advancing constitutional rights for all Americans," explained Jessica Karp, NDLON Staff Attorney. "Anyone who's ever felt the uncertainty of unemployment should rest assured that the right to publicly express your availability to work and provide for your family is once again protected in Costa Mesa."
"The Ninth Circuit decision in MALDEF's challenge to a nearly identical ordinance in Redondo Beach left the City of Costa Mesa with no choice but to repeal this unconstitutional ordinance. At long last, free speech is again protected for all in Costa Mesa," stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel.
Read more about the case: Asociación de Jornaleros de Costa Mesa v. Costa Mesa
Media Contact: Marcus Benigno, 213.977.5252