Robert Vasquez, commissioner of Canyon County, Idaho, is at the forefront of the campaign to control illegal immigration. His unorthodox tactics and unbridled comments have some cheering him as a leader of immigration reform. However, others view him as an overzealous racist--and for good reason.
In April 2004, Vasquez sent a bill to the Mexican government requesting payment of $2 million, claiming that illegal immigrants were costing his county's taxpayers in the form of medical care, welfare and criminal justice services. He also has referred to the Mexican flag's depiction of an eagle gripping a snake in its talons as, "the Mexican chicken-and-worm."
"Do I have a broader agenda in mind?" Foster says. "Through my lawsuits, do I want to change what is going on in immigration? I don't think I can do that. All I can do is bring one lawsuit at a time and see what happens."
Grell--a former lawyer at Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue--believes Foster's moderate success may spur more plaintiffs to sue companies for hiring illegal immigrants using RICO, which was originally intended to allow the government to fight organized crime.