Del Rio-Mocci v. Connolly Properties
Bolmer v. Connolly Properties

On October 1, 2008, the ACLU-NJ filed a friend-of-the-court brief in federal district court on behalf of numerous immigrant rights organizations in a case where an anti-immigrant organization filed a lawsuit against a landlord for "harboring" undocumentedl immigrants in Union County. The case involves claims brought under the racketeering statute (RICO). The plaintiffs allege that the defendants were involved in racketeering activity by engaging in a scheme to profit from renting apartments to undocumented tenants in violation of the federal statute prohibiting "concealing, harboring or shielding from detection an alien [while] knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the alien is in the country illegally." The brief argued (1) that renting to undocumented tenants does not amount to "harboring," (2) that RICO was not intended for this kind of conduct (and that in any event, the plaintiffs have not plead the elements of a RICO claim), and (3) that the policy implications of the case at the national and local levels (esp. implications for access to housing and inevitable racial profiling). On April 9, 2009, the judge agreed with our arguments and partially dismissed the plaintiffs' complaint, holding that providing housing alone (i.e., renting for profit) does not amount to "harboring" or to "inducing" illegal immigration. On September 16, 2009, the judge again sided with the defendants, and denied the plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration. The plaintiffs have appealed the district court’s decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. On October 5, 2011 the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that landlord did not violate RICO by housing undocumented immigrants.

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