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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Judge: Lawsuit against FEMA over aid to undocumented workers

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/ ... -news-palm

    Judge: Lawsuit against FEMA over aid to undocumented workers




    By Tal Abbady
    South Florida Sun-Sentinel

    December 1, 2006



    Farmworker advocates who sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency for refusing to assist undocumented workers displaced by hurricanes will likely have their day in court, according to a judge's ruling Thursday.

    U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp, in West Palm Beach, rejected much of FEMA's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

    The Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations Inc., and the Farmworker Association of Florida, statewide organizations, argued in their February complaint that according to federal law, FEMA is required to provide "short-term, in-kind, non-cash emergency disaster relief" to all hurricane victims regardless of their immigration status. To deny the aid based on legal status, the groups argued, imposed a hardship on low-income families with no resources.

    "We're very happy. We can prove the FEMA policy does discriminate against poor families," said Charles Elsesser, attorney for the coalition and farmworker association.

    Representatives for FEMA could not be reached for comment.

    The groups charged that FEMA, in violation of the law, denied aid on the grounds that the victims were not "qualified aliens," who include legal permanent residents, refugees and anyone granted asylum.

    The lawsuit was filed on behalf of undocumented workers -- mostly Mexican and Guatemalan field workers in Belle Glade and Immokalee -- left homeless after the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005. "Many of the farmworker households denied housing assistance were forced into homelessness, living in cars ... and were exposed to crime and disease," according to the lawsuit.

    FEMA filed a motion in June to dismiss the lawsuit. It argued, among other points, that federal law prevented the agency from being sued. The motion also noted that FEMA provides "non-qualified" aliens with emergency shelter, but not temporary housing assistance -- a discretionary decision that cannot be challenged in court, the agency said.

    In his ruling, the judge agreed that FEMA has the discretion to set its own rules but, under a separate law, upheld the plaintiffs' claim that the agency's denial of aid to low-income undocumented workers amounted to discrimination based on income status.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_L._Ryskamp

    Kenneth L. Ryskamp (born August 10, 1932) is a Senior Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He was nominated for appointment March 13, 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, appointed April 24, 1986 and entered on duty May 2, 1986, and took senior status January 1, 2000.

    In 1991, Judge Ryskamp was nominated to a position on the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit by George H. W. Bush but the nomination was defeated in the Senate because of his membership in a club that was said to be discriminatory.

    He earned an A.B. degree at Calvin College in 1953 and a J.D. from the University of Miami in 1956. From 1957-1959 he was clerk to Judge Mallory H. Horton, Third District Court of Appeals.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
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    Let me see, couldn't they turn themselves into ICE and have been deported so they could have been returned home. Secondly, the living conditions were so bad they didnít voluntarily exit the country, for a better life in their homeland. Oh but if they are holding out for Amnesty or Freebees, why go home. Now that they were denied Freebees, they are whining, mad and suing. Sounds familiar?

    They should not win this case.

    Dixie
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