Archive for the ‘U.S. courts’ category

Judge Reinstates Hamas/AMP Lawsuit

January 8, 2018

Judge Reinstates Hamas/AMP Lawsuit, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abha Shankar, January 8, 2018

At a conference last week hosted by the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Abuirshaid tried to erase Jews’ historical claim to Israel. He claimed the “Zionist Project” is a “form of apartheid” that seeks to “Judaize” Palestine. “In creating false Zionist historical and religious narratives, it’s a deliberate attempt to deny the indigenous people of Palestine, us, from their rights and their own land. And Jerusalem is the bedrock to forge and falsify the history of Palestine and Judaizing it,” he said.

That’s the kind of message that would have fit right in with any of the Palestine Committee groups. When the suit was originally filed last May, the Boims’ attorneys issued a statement explaining that Abuirshaid and the other defendants “directed and controlled the organizations in 1996 … that are legally obliged to pay the judgment won by the Boims.

“These defendants cannot escape their legal liability and accountability for murder by merely changing the names of their organization.

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A Chicago federal judge on Thursday reinstated a lawsuit alleging that a virulently anti-Israel group and several of its activists are “alter egos and/or successors” of a defunct U.S. based Hamas-support network previously found liable for the murder of an American teen in a 1996 terror attack.

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) routinely sponsors conferences that serve as a platform for Israel bashers, and openly approves “resistance” against the “Zionist state.” One AMP official acknowledged the goal is to “to challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

AMP is also one of the principal advocates of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state. Its BDS campaigns include: Ramadan Date BoycottSodaStreamStop the JNFStolen Homes/Airbnb, and Stop G4S. Because they include groups dedicated to Israel’s elimination and single out Israel for criticism while they ignore other nations with severe human rights abuses, BDS campaigns are considered inherently anti-Semitic.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman not only vacated her earlier dismissal of the case, she also authorized limited discovery in the case. “[T]his Court placed too much weight to defendants’ declarations without providing plaintiffs with the opportunity to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery on the existence of an alter ego relationship. Accordingly, this Court will vacate its previous order dismissing the case … and permit plaintiffs to conduct discovery solely to address jurisdiction.”

This is a major victory for the family of 17-year-old David Boim. He was shot dead in Israel in May 1996 by Hamas terrorists. In a historic judgment, Boim’s parents Stanley and Joyce Boim won $156 million in damages against the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and other members of the U.S. Hamas support network called the “Palestine Committee.” The Committee was created by the Muslim Brotherhood to advance Hamas’ agenda politically and financially in the United States.

The IAP was the first to publish the genocidal, anti-Semitic Hamas charter in English. Its fundraisers benefited the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which – along with five former officials – was convicted in 2008 of illegally routing millions of dollars to Hamas. IAP fundraisers featured overt praise for Hamas, and skits in which Palestinians murdered Israelis.

A 1996 Dallas Morning News story captured the scene at one IAP rally:

Inside a Kansas City auditorium in 1989, a masked man stepped to a lectern and described in Arabic the “oceans of blood” spilled in Hamas’ armed attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.

He thanked two nonprofit organizations for being early allies: the Islamic Association for Palestine, sponsor of the conference, and the Occupied Land Fund [an early name for HLF].

An internal 1992 IAP document, “Islamic Action Plan for Palestine,” makes at least four specific references to Hamas, including its leadership role in the Palestinian intifada through “a lot of sacrifices from martyrs, detainees, wounded, injured, fugitives and deportees…”

IAP was among the first organizations the Muslim Brotherhood created in North America to specifically focus on the Palestinian cause, even preceding the Palestine Committee, the document said. Among the Palestine Committee’s tasks, “Asking the countries to increase the financial and the moral support for Hamas.”

At the time of the Boim judgment in 2004, IAP and other defendants claimed they were no longer in business and had no money to pay the damages. But that was a ruse, the Boims’ attorneys say, alleging that the defendants formed new organizations like the American Muslims for Palestine to escape their legal responsibility to pay damages. Successor groups, or alter egos, of organizations previously found liable for providing material support to Hamas need to pay the remaining judgment, the new litigation argues.

In 2015, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) first identified at least five AMP officials and speakers who worked in the Hamas-supporting “Palestine Committee.”

An April 2014 AMP-sponsored conference in Chicago, for example, featured former IAP Chairman Sabri Samirah.

“We are ready to sacrifice all we have for Palestine. Long Live Palestine,” Samirah said. “We have a mission here [in the U.S.] also to support the struggle of our people back there in order to achieve a free land in the Muslim world, without dictators and without corruption.”

The Boims’ attorneys say that AMP’s current leadership and donors are “significantly identical” to their Palestine Committee branches, including the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), and the American Muslim Society (AMS) which served as another name for the IAP.

Rafeeq Jaber, a defendant in the new lawsuit, is a former IAP president and is now AMP’s registered agent in Chicago. AMP President Abdelbasset Hamayel was IAP’s secretary general. AMP’s conferences and other events are identical in their pro-Hamas message to conferences held earlier by IAP, including overlapping speakers’ lists.

AMP board member Osama Abuirshaid, a target of the current lawsuit, has close affiliations to both the IAP and the Northern Virginia think tank called the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), a Palestine Committee branch that was headed by senior Hamas member Mousa Abu Marzook.

Abuirshaid served as editor of IAP’s Arabic periodical, Al-Zaytounah, a mouthpiece for pro-Hamas propaganda. The magazine also published advertisements by terrorist-tied charities, including HLF, the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), and the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF).

UASR published an academic journal that prosecutors in the HLF case say was “involved in passing Hamas communiques to the United States-based Muslim Brotherhood community and relaying messages from that community back to Hamas.”

Abuirshaid has openly expressed support for Hamas. He criticized Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a 2015 tweet for designating Hamas as a terrorist organization. Calling Egypt’s capital “Cairo Aviv,” Abuirshaid dismissed the move: “Look who’s talking!? A terrorist murder regime.”

In a 2014 article written in Arabic, he praised the “Palestinian resistance” against the “Zionist aggression” in Hamas-controlled Gaza: “The facts of the current Zionist aggression have clearly shown that the Palestinian resistance is no longer in the position of receiving slaps without the response of some of them, and even many of them responding. It also showed the creativity of the resisting Palestinian mind, consistent with the severity of its being unyielding with long-range rockets, high-explosive missiles and bombs, and unmanned aerial vehicles, most of which are domestically manufactured, being designed to attack the enemy at the doorstep of its military bases by sea, landing behind its lines through tunnels, etc. It is a slap that Israel receives from the Resistance every day, and it finds no response except through the cowardly weapon of targeting civilians with artillery, air and sea missiles to raise the human and economic costs of the Palestinians.”

Abuirshaid has also praised Hamas war tactics: “There is a difference between Hamas, whose youth renewed their adherence to their starting point determined on liberalization, and Fatah, which has grown old after deviating from the creed of liberation and resistance upon which it was established.”

“There is a difference between those who resist and those who compromise; between those who constitute an army for liberation, and those who ready battalions of lackeys; a difference between those who rise up for the blood of martyrs, and those who spill it in the wine glasses of Israel,” he added.

At a conference last week hosted by the Muslim American Society (MAS) and theIslamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Abuirshaid tried to erase Jews’ historical claim to Israel. He claimed the “Zionist Project” is a “form of apartheid” that seeks to “Judaize” Palestine. “In creating false Zionist historical and religious narratives, it’s a deliberate attempt to deny the indigenous people of Palestine, us, from their rights and their own land. And Jerusalem is the bedrock to forge and falsify the history of Palestine and Judaizing it,” he said.

That’s the kind of message that would have fit right in with any of the Palestine Committee groups. When the suit was originally filed last May, the Boims’ attorneys issued a statement explaining that Abuirshaid and the other defendants “directed and controlled the organizations in 1996 … that are legally obliged to pay the judgment won by the Boims.

“These defendants cannot escape their legal liability and accountability for murder by merely changing the names of their organizations,” they said.

A Familiar Judge Wastes More Of Our Time Over Sanctuary City Orders

November 21, 2017

A Familiar Judge Wastes More Of Our Time Over Sanctuary City Orders, Hot Air, Jazz Shaw, November 21, 2017

Judge William Orrick III is certainly making a name for himself and becoming a hero of the #RESIST movement, but if he continues to have his findings overruled upon review it may not do much for his career. It’s also worth noting that prior to taking the bench, Orrick had a long history as a generous political donor while he was working as an attorney in the private sector. A quick look at Open Secrets shows the lengthy list of politicians who have benefitted from his generosity.

Wouldn’t it be shocking to find out that they were all conservatives and Republicans? Naw… just kidding. He gave to Hillary Clinton (2006), Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic Party of Iowa, John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Bill Clinton (multiple times), Barack Obama in 2004… shall I go on? I think you get the idea.

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Here we go again.

A judge in northern California has stepped in to “permanently” block one of President Trump’s orders regarding Justice Department grant money for sanctuary cities which refuse to uphold the law. This action will obviously be appealed, as several other such rulings have been, but for the time being, District Court Judge William Orrick III scores himself another turn in the headlines. (Associated Press)

A federal judge on Monday permanently blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick rejected the administration’s argument that the executive order applies only to a relatively small pot of money and said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.

The judge had previously made the same arguments in a ruling that put a temporary hold on the executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities. The Trump administration has appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It’s a stretch of the imagination to declare it a coincidence that this is the same judge they found to block a different sanctuary city order back in April. And given the location where the case was heard, the first round of appeals will go to the 9th Circuit, which means the ruling will probably go to the Supreme Court eventually. Much like the travel ban, it’s clear that you can eventually find a judge to rule however you like, providing you’re willing to shop around.

The decision itself remains just as dubious as the previous ruling. Orrick is claiming that the President doesn’t have the authority to repurpose funds which Congress has already authorized. That’s vague at best and seems to ignore the fact that we’re talking about money given to the Executive Branch for the purpose of issuing grants. That means there’s an application process (which we’ve covered here before) and not everyone who applies for one will receive the funding. Further, it’s the Justice Department who determines the criteria for receiving such grants. Congress simply made the funding available to set up and maintain the program.

Judge William Orrick III is certainly making a name for himself and becoming a hero of the #RESIST movement, but if he continues to have his findings overruled upon review it may not do much for his career. It’s also worth noting that prior to taking the bench, Orrick had a long history as a generous political donor while he was working as an attorney in the private sector. A quick look at Open Secrets shows the lengthy list of politicians who have benefitted from his generosity.

Wouldn’t it be shocking to find out that they were all conservatives and Republicans? Naw… just kidding. He gave to Hillary Clinton (2006), Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic Party of Iowa, John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Bill Clinton (multiple times), Barack Obama in 2004… shall I go on? I think you get the idea.

So we’ll apparently put the brakes on any progress in enforcing immigration law for the time being. And the to-do list for the Supreme Court grows even longer.

Trump administration challenges federal judge’s decision to block newest travel ban

October 25, 2017

Trump administration challenges federal judge’s decision to block newest travel ban, Washington Examiner, Ryan Lovelace, October 25, 2017

The Justice Department challenged a federal judge’s decision to block President Trump’s newest travel ban effort and urged the courts to hear its case in an expedited fashion.

The Justice Department Tuesday asked the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision by a federal judge in Maryland to block Trump’s newest travel restrictions hours before the restrictions were set to begin. Federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii acted last week to block the latest travel ban.

The Justice Department noted the likelihood the U.S. Supreme Court could soon hear the case too.

“The district court’s nationwide injunction prevents the government from implementing a national-security measure issued in response to a global review, undertaken by the Departments of Homeland Security and State, of foreign governments’ information-sharing practices and risk factors,” wrote the Justice Department attorneys on Tuesday.

“The injunction prevents the president from responding as he deems fit to risks the government has identified as currently affecting the nation’s safety.”

The Trump administration argued its challenge warranted it be expedited “on a schedule that will allow for Supreme Court review in the current term.”

The last of the legal challenges to Trump’s earlier travel ban measures, crafted by a second executive order, were rendered moot by the Supreme Court on Tuesday following the expiration of the 120-day refugee ban. The justices previously scrapped oral arguments over the travel ban litigation from its calender and tossed Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project following the end of the 90-day travel ban at issue.

The legal fight over Trump’s September proclamation implementing new travel ban restrictions began before the Supreme Court finished its review of the earlier legal fights without commenting on the merits of the travel ban cases.

92-Year-Old World War I Monument Declared Unconstitutional ‘Breach’ of Church and State Separation

October 21, 2017

92-Year-Old World War I Monument Declared Unconstitutional ‘Breach’ of Church and State Separation, PJ MediaTyler O’Neil, October 20, 2017

Photo Credit: First Liberty Institute

Klukowski argued that the Fourth Circuit’s decision “jeopardizes many longstanding memorials and monuments across the nation, including even Arlington National Cemetery.”

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On Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declared a World War I monument in the shape of a celtic cross unconstitutional, saying it “breached” the separation of church and state. The Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial has stood since 1925, honoring the 49 Bladensburg-area men who gave their lives during World War I. The American Humanist Association sued to have it removed in 2014.

“The decision ignored the fact that the monument was modeled off of World War I grave markers, thousands of which are in the shape of a cross like this one,” Ken Klukowski, senior counsel at First Liberty Institute, told PJ Media. First Liberty, along with Jones Day, represents the American Legion, which first erected the monument.

Despite the historical meaning and resonance of the cross-shaped marker, which harkens back to World War I gravestones, the American Humanist Association argued that the cross violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which bars Congress from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”

Klukowski argued that this is a misinterpretation of the Establishment Clause. “Current Supreme Court precedent holds that the Establishment Clause is violated only by government actions that officially adopt a religion as that concept was understood by the Constitution’s framers, or when the government coerces someone to engage in a religious activity,” he said.

“A passive display like this was historically accepted, and coerces no one,” the lawyer explained. “Moreover, in the Supreme Court case most similar to this case, the Court allowed a longstanding Ten Commandments display on public land to remain in place.”

In Van Orden v. Perry (2005), the Supreme Court ruled that a Ten Commandments display at the Texas State Capitol in Austin did not violate the Establishment Clause.

Klukowski argued that the Fourth Circuit’s decision “jeopardizes many longstanding memorials and monuments across the nation, including even Arlington National Cemetery.”

Perhaps because it is so important, eight Republican and Democratic members of Congress filed a joint amicus brief in support of the memorial. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joined Representatives Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Vicki Hartzler (R-Mo.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), and Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.).

Even so, Judge Stephanie D. Thacker, who wrote the majority opinion for the panel, asked what a “reasonable objective observer” would think about the memorial. In a vacuum, she argued the observer would perceive the cross as an enormous endorsement of the Christian faith.

Both Thacker and Judge James A. Wynn Jr., who joined her in ruling against the monument, were appointed by President Barack Obama.

“It’s a cross much more clearly and obviously than a memorial, David Niose, a lawyer for the humanist association, told The Wall Street Journal.

Judge Roger L. Gregory, the chief judge of the circuit appointed by President Bill Clinton, dissented, arguing that a reasonable observer would view the cross as less a promotion of Christianity than a historical monument.

“The American Legion’s commitment to preserving the Bladensburg Memorial has been unwavering,” Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty, said in a statement. “Their determination is appropriately illustrated by President Woodrow Wilson’s words engraved at the memorial’s base: ‘The right is more precious than the peace; we shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest to our hearts; to such a task we dedicate ourselves.'”

Reinterpreting this memorial as an endorsement of Christianity, rather than a tribute to the men who gave their last full measure of devotion in World War I, is an insult to their sacrifice and a gross twisting of history.

“This memorial has stood in honor of local veterans for almost 100 years and is lawful under the First Amendment,” said Michael Carvin, lead counsel for The American Legion and partner at Jones Day. “To remove it would be a tremendous dishonor to the local men who gave their lives during The Great War.”

Perhaps if the American Humanist Association took a moment to reflect humbly on the meaning of the monument and its historical context, they would not be so quick to disrespect the soldiers who fought for their freedom.

Judge in Hawaii blocks latest version of Trump’s travel ban

October 17, 2017

Judge in Hawaii blocks latest version of Trump’s travel ban, Fox News, AP, October 17, 2017

(Here we go again. — DM)

A federal judge in Hawaii blocked the Trump administration Tuesday from enforcing its latest travel ban, just hours before it was set to take effect.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson granted Hawaii’s request to temporarily block the policy that was to be implemented starting early Wednesday. He found Trump’s executive order “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor.”

The judge, appointed by former President Barack Obama, said the new restrictions ignore a federal appeals court ruling that found President Donald Trump’s previous ban exceeds the scope of his authority. The latest version “plainly discriminates based on nationality in the manner that the 9th Circuit has found antithetical to … the founding principles of this nation,” Watson wrote.

The government has said the new policy was based on an objective assessment of each country’s security situation and willingness to share information with the U.S.

Hawaii argued in court documents that the updated ban is a continuation of Trump’s “promise to exclude Muslims from the United States” despite the addition of two non-majority Muslim countries.

Other courts are weighing challenges to the latest travel restrictions.

In Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are seeking to block the visa and entry restrictions in the president’s latest proclamation.

Washington state, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, New York and Maryland have challenged the policy before U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who struck down Trump’s initial ban in January.

That policy led to chaos and confusion at airports nationwide and triggered several lawsuits, including one from Hawaii.

When Trump revised the ban, state Attorney General Doug Chin changed the lawsuit to challenge that version. In March, Watson agreed with Hawaii that it amounted to discrimination based on nationality and religion.

A subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed the administration to partially reinstate that 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees.

But it said the policy didn’t apply to refugees and travelers with a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the U.S.

Hawaii then successfully challenged the federal government’s definition of which family members would be allowed into the country. Watson ordered the government not to enforce the ban on close relatives such as grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts.

The judge’s order Tuesday prevents acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from implementing the latest travel ban.

Watson said he would set an expedited hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order should be extended.

Goodbye Blue Slips!?

October 11, 2017

Goodbye Blue Slips!? Power Line,  Scott Johnson, October 11, 2017

In news of interest to those of us who have been following the judicial confirmation wars in the Senate in general and in the matter of the nomination of Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit in particular, Fred Barnes reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken the reins, whipped the horse and expedited matters. Fred supplies this bill of particulars (the first of which I have slightly rewritten):

* McConnell has elevated the confirmation of judicial nominees to a top priority in the Senate. “I decide the priority,” McConnell said in an interview. “Priority between an assistant secretary of State and a conservative court judge—it’s not a hard choice to make.”

And when nominees “come out of committee, I guarantee they will be dealt with,” McConnell said. “Regardless of what tactics are used by Democrats, the judges are going to be confirmed.”

* No longer will “blue slips” be allowed to deny a nominee a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote on confirmation. In the past, senators have sometimes barred a nominee from their state by refusing to return their slip to the committee, thus preventing a hearing and confirmation.

“The majority”—that is, Republicans—will treat a blue slip “as simply notification of how you’re going to vote, not as an opportunity to blackball,” McConnell told me. The use of blue slips, he noted, is not a Senate rule and has “been honored in the breach over the years.” Now it won’t be honored at all.

* The so-called “30 hours rule”—which provides for 30 hours of debate on a nominee—won’t be overturned. But McConnell vowed to set aside time for these debates. And he can make this happen because he sets the Senate schedule.

We await the hearing on Justice Stras’s nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Let’s get the hearing scheduled and get the vote on his confirmation to the Senate floor. Give us “the ocular proof.” Let’s get it on.

In Minnesota we have to recognize the perverse role Al Franken has played to inspire Senator McConnell to ditch the use of a blue slip to block a highly qualified nominee from the Senator’s home state. For the blue slips it’s Frankenheit 9/11.

 

Feds Slap Tree Company With $95 Million Penalty For Hiring Illegal Aliens

September 30, 2017

Feds Slap Tree Company With $95 Million Penalty For Hiring Illegal Aliens, Daily Caller, Will Racke, September 29, 2017

AUBURN, AL – APRIL 23: Crews from the Asplundh tree service inspect a oak tree after it was cut down on April 23, 2013 at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn University decided to remove the dying oaks after they were poisoned by a rival fan shortly after the 2010 Iron Bowl. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

“Today’s judgment sends a strong, clear message to employers who scheme to hire and retain a workforce of illegal immigrants: we will find you and hold you accountable,” acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement. “Violators who manipulate hiring laws are a pull factor for illegal immigration, and we will continue to take action to remove this magnet.”

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A national tree services company will have to pay a record fine after admitting that it engaged in a scheme to hire illegal aliens, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Asplundh Tree Expert Co., a suburban Philadelphia-based contractor that trims and removes trees around power lines, pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal criminal charge and was ordered to pay a total of $95 million, the biggest penalty ever levied in an immigration case.

Federal Judge John R. Padova ordered the company to pay a criminal forfeiture judgment of $80 million, plus a $15 million civil penalty to satisfy additional civil claims for failure to follow immigration law.

Asplundh hired thousands of unauthorized workers between 2010 and 2014, using knowingly fraudulent identification documents, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia. Prosecutors said the company’s upper management was “willfully blind,” while mid-level regional supervisors knowingly violated immigration law and hired illegal aliens.

Asplundh allegedly used word of mouth referrals instead of a systematic application process, allowing supervisors to hire a compliant workforce of illegal laborers.

“This decentralized model tacitly perpetuated fraudulent hiring practices that, in turn, maximized productivity and profit,” prosecutors said in a statement. “With a motivated work force, including unauthorized aliens willing to be relocated and respond to weather related events around the nation, Asplundh had crews which were easily mobilized that enabled them to dominate the market. Asplundh provided all the incentives to managers to skirt immigration law.”

Asplundh employs 30,000 workers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, according to the Associated Press. The company was the subject of a six-year audit by investigators with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which discovered in 2009 that company managers were accepting sham driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers, green cards and other fake identification documents.

Three Asplundh managers, including a vice president, had previous pleaded guilty to felony charges in the case, the AP reported.

“Today’s judgment sends a strong, clear message to employers who scheme to hire and retain a workforce of illegal immigrants: we will find you and hold you accountable,” acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement. “Violators who manipulate hiring laws are a pull factor for illegal immigration, and we will continue to take action to remove this magnet.”