Riverside Rescinds Anti-Immigrant Ordinance, Declaring Parking-Space Victory

Riverside, New Jersey, a small suburb of Philadelphia and Camden, has rescinded its anti-immigrant ordinance, passed last year to punish those who hire or rent to undocumented immigrants. Riverside’s measure was similar to a Hazleton, Pennsylvania law that was struck down by a federal judge in July, after a trial in which Hazleton’s mayor could not substantiate his claims of immigrant-related problems. PFAW Foundation was co-counsel to a coalition of Riverside businesses, landlords, and residents in challenging the ordinance as vague, overstepping the town’s authority, unfairly putting businesses at risk, and violating civil rights under state law.

But despite the legal defects in Riverside’s planned crackdown on undocumented immigrants, reports indicate that it did succeed in its goal of driving out part of the town’s community, as apparent from struggling businesses shortly after the crackdown began, and from the AP report today, which notes, “The exact numbers are hard to pin down, but there seemed to be a precipitous drop in the number of Brazilians in the first few months after the ordinance was passed.”

Marcus Carroll, the one member of the township committee who voted against rescinding the ordinance, had this to say about the law’s desired impact in driving unwanted residents away: “You can go home now and find a place to park.”

Riverside, NJ

One year ago: Anti-immigrant protestors in Riverside, New Jersey. The sign says “Drive your vans back across the Rio Grande.” (Photo from the Courier-Post.)

Meanwhile, anti-immigrant efforts in northern Virginia continue. Earlier this month, we noted the Ku Klux Klan entered the debate in Manassas and Prince William County, and today the Prince William police department is expected to announce a new program to deport “traffic violators and those charged with shoplifting or other misdemeanors,” as WUSA reports. “We think it’s the toughest anti-illegal immigrant measure in the United States,” said county supervisor Corey Stewart, who added, “In the long term, by making our community safer, and removing illegal immigrants from our schools and our hospitals, this is going to save us all a lot of money.”