government prosecutes landlord for renting to migrants
A jury rejected the federal government's unprecedented prosecution Friday of a
landlord who rented to illegal immigrants, finding him not guilty of 62 criminal counts. Lexington
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The case is thought to be the first time that the government has prosecuted a landlord merely for renting to illegal immigrants.
"I'm just relieved," Hadden said after the trial. "I am relieved for all the landlords in the country. This jury saved a lot of landlords from a lot of worries."
Hadden's attorney, Russ Baldani, said the verdict sent a message.
"These are not illegals; they're human beings," Baldani said. "You can't solve immigration problems by choking off basic necessities for people that are here."
Immigration attorneys attending a conference in
Vancouvereagerly awaited Friday's verdict, said lawyer Charles Baesler, who was at the conference. Lexington
"The prosecution was essentially seeking to impose on every American business the obligation to verify the immigration status of every customer," Baesler said. "It was far beyond anything the government has attempted elsewhere in
. It's a significant defeat of the prosecution, but it's also a great victory for hard-working business owners who are trying to do the right thing while making a decent living." America
At issue was whether Hadden had violated federal harboring and inducing laws by renting to illegal immigrants. The laws, written in 1986, were intended to fight human traffickers and rogue businesses that exploit undocumented workers.
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"If they're going to use a 1986 statute, and all of a sudden in 2008 say we're going to use this to say you can't rent to undocumented aliens, then they need to let the landlords and apartment owners of
Americaknow that," said. "This is a country built on fairness, and this wasn't a fair prosecution." Richardson
This prosecution was one part of the government's effort to turn
each business person, each consumer, each citizen into an enforcer of the
immigration laws. Under this scenario, failure
to cooperate with the government's directives would lead to criminal penalties
for citizens. We've seen this in some