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May 03, 2011

Taxpayers pay ACLU $300,000 to Defend Identity Thieves - Story of a Structural Problem

Fee shifting laws continue to allow the ACLU to force taxpayers to pay for its frivolous lawsuits designed to thwart immigration enforcement and encourage illegal immigration - often at the expense of the people's interest. What just happened in Weld County, Colorado is a case study. Identity theft is a huge problem, costing individuals in the U.S. $17 billion in 2010, according to one Department of Justice report. While a lot of identity theft is done for profit, some is done to gain employment. And illegal immigrants steal the identities of Americans every year. Enforcement authorities are right to stop it, but at the first whiff of interior immigration-related law enforcement, the ACLU springs into action - and we taxpayers pay them to do it.

Two years ago, Weld County, Colorado, enforcement authorities sought to stop identity theft through "Operation Numbers Game," which targeted tax preparers in an effort to find illegal aliens using the ID's and Social Security Numbers of citizens. "In that October 2008 raid, Weld sheriff's deputies found 1,338 suspects after seizing roughly 5,000 tax returns from Amalia's Translation and Tax Service in Greeley in a search for illegal immigrants committing identity theft. Weld District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow signed off on the search warrant," notes the Greeley Tribune.

The legality of this practice was immediately attacked, even though it's clearly in the public interest: "'Law enforcement gets criticized a lot for being reactive,' [Weld Sheriff John] Cooke said, 'and we were being proactive trying to stop the ID theft and impersonation cases, and we got shot down . . . Back when all this started happening, even after we got shot down by a local judge, the support from the community has been very good."

That didn't stop the grifters at the ACLU from suing the county, even though the issue was already in litigation based upon fourth amendment questions raised by some defendants. In other words, the ACLU just filed the second suit to grab attorney's fees. The Colorado Supreme Court split 4-3 against allowing the evidence from the searches to be used, although there are legitimate questions here regarding who's privacy interests are being protected and why. Weld District Attorney Ken Buck wound up settling the ACLU suit with taxpayer funds for $300,000 in attorney's fees: Buck said the $300,000 would go to fund the ACLU's legal attack machine, and not to any individuals affected. "It all goes to attorneys that ended up filing a lawsuit."

This example is just the tip of the iceberg, and the lesson here is clear: taxpayers are being bilked millions of dollars to pay the ACLU to stop immigration enforcement - which in turn winds up costing Americans billions. Counties usually settle these cases rather than take a change trying to defend against the scattershot claims mounted by the ACLU: only one claim has to stick - no matter how tenuous - and the taxpayers must pay all legal fees in this on-going scam against the public interest. The only question is why is it allowed to continue? If the ACLU wants to promote illegal immigration, that's their business: do we have to all pay for it? -- Dan Stein

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