IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
VILLAGE OF HATCH, NEW MEXICO, Defendant.
This action is brought by the United States of America to enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614.
- Defendant Village of Hatch is a governmental subdivision incorporated in the State of New Mexico, located in Doña Ana County, within the District of New Mexico.
- The Village of Hatch is governed by a Village Mayor and the Village of Hatch Board of Trustees.
- The Village of Hatch exercises zoning and other authority over land within its boundaries. The residential lots within the Village of Hatch and the homes and mobile homes which may be located upon them are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- From 1986, the Village of Hatch, through its Mayor and Board of Trustees, has engaged in a course of municipal action intended to prevent permanent resident aliens of Mexican national origin from living in the Village. This course of action has been carried out, among other ways, through the use of zoning and land use policies which have effectively removed mobile homes as a source of affordable housing for such persons.
- In 1986, the Village of Hatch, through its Mayor and Board of Trustees, passed a moratorium on mobile homes being moved into the Village.
- On or about January 22, 1990, the Village Board of Trustees adopted Ordinance Number 233, entitled Village of Hatch Municipal Zoning Ordinance ("the 1990 zoning ordinance"). The 1990 zoning ordinance effectively prohibited all "non-grandfathered" mobile homes in the Village.
- On or about August 12, 1993, the Village Board of Trustees adopted Ordinance Number 256, entitled Village of Hatch Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance ("the 1993 zoning ordinance"). The 1993 zoning ordinance effectively prohibits all mobile homes not located within a lawful mobile home park, and severely limits the areas within the Village where mobile home parks are allowed.
- Statements by Village officials indicate that a purpose of the 1990 and 1993 zoning ordinances was to remove permanent resident aliens of Mexican national origin from the Village, and to help insure that such persons would not reside in the Village in the future.
- Part of the geographic area from which mobile homes are banned under the 1993 zoning ordinance includes Elm Street, a neighborhood populated predominantly by permanent resident aliens of Mexican national origin at the time of the passage of the 1993 zoning ordinance.
- The defendant was aware of the large concentration of families with permanent resident aliens of Mexican national origin which resided in mobile homes on Elm Street before it formally adopted the 1993 zoning ordinance, and before it began enforcing such ordinance.
- Defendant selected the mobile homes located on Elm Street for exclusive enforcement of the 1993 zoning ordinance because of the large concentration of families with permanent resident aliens of Mexican national origin which resided in mobile homes on Elm Street.
- A significant number of residents who are affected by the Village of Hatch's 1993 zoning ordinance have been forced or will be forced to move outside of the Village of Hatch -- such as to colonias presenting severe health hazards -- due to the unavailability of alternative affordable housing in Hatch.
- The purpose and effect of the Village's actions set forth above is to limit or reduce the number of families comprised of permanent resident aliens of Mexican national origin residing within the Village of Hatch.
- In taking the actions described above, the defendant has violated the provisions of the Fair Housing Act by:
- Making unavailable or denying dwellings to persons because of national origin, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
- Discriminating against persons in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the sale or rental of dwellings because of national origin, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and
- Making, printing, or publishing notices or statements with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on national origin, or an intention to make such preference, limitation, or discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
- The conduct of the defendant described above constitutes:
- A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights secured by Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq; and
- A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
- The defendant's discriminatory actions have caused injury to persons occupying or seeking to occupy residential dwellings within the Village of Hatch. Those persons are entitled to be compensated by the defendant for the injuries caused by the discriminatory conduct.
- The defendant's actions were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard of the rights of others.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an ORDER that:
- Declares that the 1993 zoning ordinance for the Village of Hatch violates the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq and, to the extent that it does, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3615, is invalid;
- Enjoins the defendant, its officials, agents, employees, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with it from continuing to enforce the 1993 zoning ordinance, from taking any other actions to limit the number of permanent resident aliens of Mexican national origin who may live in Hatch, and from continuing to discriminate on account of national origin in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq;
- Requires such actions by the defendant as may be necessary to restore all persons aggrieved by the defendant's discriminatory conduct to the position they would have occupied but for the defendant's discrimination;
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate each person aggrieved by the defendant's discriminatory conduct for their injury, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614 (d)(1)(B);
- Awards each person aggrieved by the defendant's discriminatory conduct punitive damages because of the intentional and willful nature of the defendant's conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
- Assesses a civil penalty against the defendant in an amount of money authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C), in order to vindicate the public interest.
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
DEVAL L. PATRICK
Assistant Attorney General
PAUL F. HANCOCK
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
JON M. SEWARD
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Post Office Box 65998
Washington D.C. 20035-5988
JOHN J. KELLY
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney
Chief, Civil Section
Post Office Box 607
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103
(505) 766-1060 > >