MALDEF Applauds State Judge's Decision to Block Two Valley Park Anti-Immigrant Ordinances

March 13, 2007

ST. LOUIS, MO – The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) strongly supports a state judge’s decision to permanently block two anti-immigration ordinances in Valley Park, Missouri. Last year, a coalition of private lawyers, law schools and civil rights organizations, including MALDEF, filed suit against the City on behalf of a group of residents, business owners, and a fair housing agency claiming that the ordinances violated federal law and fair housing protections.

“The ruling in this case should reinforce the message to other cities who have or are considering assuming the role and function of the federal government through anti-immigrant legislation, ‘It does not and will not work’”, stated MALDEF Regional Counsel, Ricardo Meza. Circuit Judge Barbara Wallace ruled the ordinances, which would have penalized businesses and landlords for hiring or renting to undocumented immigrants, were in violation of state law in that the fines were for amounts beyond those permitted and that they violated established landlord and tenant laws. The coalition partners also argued the ordinances resulted in racial profiling that was deterring Hispanics and other minorities from living in or doing business in Valley Park.

The coalition, led by local counsel Bryan Cave LLP, included MALDEF, Saint Louis University Legal Clinic, Washington University School of Law, Civil Rights & Community Justice Clinic, Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry, Jesus Ituarte at Schulte and Ituarte LLC, Anthony B. Ramirez at Anthony B. Ramirez P.C., Fernando Bermudez at Green Jacobson & Butsch P.C., the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Immigrants Rights Project.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund