Mass Loitering Arrest of Latino Day Laborers, Commonwealth v. Urias, et al.
Every morning, a group of immigrant workers in Woodbridge stand at a designated place in front of the 7-11 to wait for employers who come by in trucks to offer day jobs in landscaping, construction, and so forth. On October 19, 2004, police arrested 24 Latino workers outside the 7-11 and a nearby church, and charged them with loitering. Those who were able to provide I.D. were given tickets and released; others were jailed, and some were transferred to the custody of federal immigration authorities. On January 7, 2005, representing 11 of the arrested workers, we filed a motion to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the Prince William County loitering ordinance is unconstitutionally vague. On January 13, 2005, we reached an agreement with prosecutors that the charges would be continued for dismissal in 30 days. The police have agreed that the workers may stand at an area on the side of the 7-11 to wait for jobs and will not be subject to arrest.