CATA v. Bridgeton

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey settled a lawsuit it filed on behalf of the Farmworkers' Support Committee against the City of Bridgeton for charging a fee of more than $1,500 for an immigrants rights march held on May 1. Within 10 days of filing, Bridgeton agreed not to collect any fees for the May 1 march or impose any fees for marches or other free speech activities in the city's public forums under its existing ordinances and policies. The city retained the right to adopt new ordinances that regulated such activities. CATA retained the right to challenge such an ordinance if they believe it to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid.

This May 1, as last year, the Farmworkers' Support Committee, also known as El Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas or CATA, held a march in Bridgeton to express support for immigration reform. In 2006, CATA's march was not charged any police or cleanup fees. As it did last year, CATA this year applied for a permit and worked with the police and the city to determine the route. Both years, the march occurred without incident. However, this year Bridgeton demanded CATA pay a police fee in excess of $1500. The ACLU-NJ argued that the fee amounts to a user's tax on free speech and is unconstitutional.

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