La Shawn Barber

“The federal government has left Herndon on its own.”

Those words spoken by Herndon Planning Commissioner Robert Burk resonate with citizens of Herndon, Virginia, and Americans across the country. As more illegal aliens stream across the border and the federal government continues to ignore the problem, more local governments will be forced to deal with the problem on their own.

In response to illegal aliens loitering around a local 7-Eleven, creating a public nuisance while waiting for off-the-books jobs, the Herndon Town Council approved a plan to build a central location for the “day laborers.” Dennis Husch, a council member who voted against the proposal, described the conditions:

Daily we see up to 150 men seeking work around the intersection of Alabama Drive and Elden Street beginning about 6:30 am every day. That number dwindles to about 75 at 11 am when all of the jobs are taken. For the rest of the day and into the early evening, the men ‘hang-out’ along the street and at the 7-Eleven and socialize.

Unfortunately, the right to loiter is the law of the land. “We have been advised by the Town Attorney that loitering laws are not enforceable based on a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Husch. Fortunately, the council’s vote isn’t the final word. There are a few obstacles on the road to the illegal, taxpayer-supported center:

• Legal ActionJudicial Watch, a nonprofit watchdog group, filed suit against the Town of Herndon on behalf of Herndon taxpayers. “Can a town expend taxpayer monies or provide support to facilitate such illegal activities? Of course not,” said president Tom Fitton. “This proposed site is designed to facilitate illegal activity: the illegal hiring of illegal aliens…For the Town Council to recommend this plan would be illegal under federal law. But it would also be illegal under Virginia law.”

Herndon officials obviously know that using public funds to build the day labor center is against the law, but they probably figured if illegal aliens can get away with breaking the law, they can too.

• Zoning Action – Part of the proposed day labor site will be located in Loudoun County. On September 6, the Loudoun County Zoning Administrator ruled that the site would not be an appropriate use of the property, which is zoned as residential. Herndon must apply for a special exemption, but the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is considering legal action against Herndon.

La Shawn Barber

Freelance writer La Shawn Barber blogs at the American Civil Rights Institute blog.