Sunday, May 16, 2010

James Perry Opposes HB 1205

A few days back, I posted a blog entry that asked both James Perry and Helena Moreno where they stood on HB 1205, and I invited each of them to send me an email with their answer. I heard back from James Perry. Still waiting on Helena Moreno. Here's what Perry had to say (note that I lost much of the formatting of Perry's email blast in the cutting and pasting process, but the text that appears below in the forwarded message is verbatim from the email blast that Perry sent to me):

I'm opposed to the bill and have been actively working against it. Below is the email blast my organization did regarding the bill back in April.

James Perry

Begin forwarded message:

From: GNO Fair Housing
Date: April 20, 2010 4:44:10 PM CDT
Subject: Voice your opposition to anti-immigrant HB 1205!


The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) opposes House Bill 1205, "Louisiana Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2010," because it is likely a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The bill will increase racial profiling and discrimination on the basis of national origin in the state of Louisiana. Please call Representative Harrison at 800-935-2081 today to express your opposition to House Bill No. 1205!

Among many other problematic provisions, HB 1205 would make "it illegal to harbor, conceal or shelter undocumented persons in the state of Louisiana." According to the bill, first time offenders will be fined up to $1000 or imprisoned for up to 6 months. A subsequent conviction may include a $2000 fine and/or 1 year in prison. In order to prevent legal liability, landlords may be required to illegally profile tenants or face the risk of criminal prosecution. Courts have deemed such profiling and housing discrimination to be illegal under the federal Fair Housing Act.

The HB 1205 approach was previously ruled unconstitutional. For example, in 2006, the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania adopted laws similar to HB 1205 that criminalized landlords and employers for knowingly or unknowingly renting to or hiring undocumented people. The City of Hazleton was sued over the ordinances, and in 2007 the Court declared the Hazleton ordinances at issue unconstitutional and enjoined the City from enforcing them.

HB 1205 is also opposed by Puentes, a New Orleans based advocacy organization. Puentes raises additional concerns that HB 1205 would make it illegal to transport undocumented residents and require local and state police to verify the immigration status of anyone they arrest. Puentes argues that such requirements are illegal and require local and state police to engage in enforcement outside their jurisdiction. You can read Puentes' analysis of some of the other provisions of HB 1205 and find out how to get involved with efforts to stop the bill here.

You can read the text of House Bill 1205 here.

For more information about the Hazleton ordinances that have been struck down in Federal District Court, check out this video.

Then, call State Representative. Harrison at 800-935-2081 today, and tell him that you oppose House Bill No. 1205!

Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center
404 S. Jefferson Davis Pkwy
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 596 -2100
I'm impressed, and I couldn't agree more with Perry's advice on what to do about HB 1205. I should have known this already, especially since Perry's position has been partially informed by the advocacy on the issue done by Puentes-New Orleans; but I'm grateful to James Perry for filling me in nonetheless. If opposition to HB 1205 is important to you and if you will be heading to the polls to vote in the upcoming election, keep this in mind. If I lived in that district, and if the voting were held today, I'd be voting for Perry.

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