Patterico's Pontifications

7/27/2007

Federal Judge to Local Community: You Can’t Do Anything About Illegals in Your Community

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Court Decisions,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 10:12 am



The New York Times reports:

A federal judge in Pennsylvania yesterday struck down ordinances adopted by the City of Hazleton to bar illegal immigrants from working or renting homes there, the most resounding legal blow so far to local efforts across the country to crack down on illegal immigration.

. . . .

Judge [James M. ] Munley ruled that ordinances first passed last July by the Hazleton City Council interfered with federal law, which regulates immigration, and violated the due process rights of employers, landlords and illegal immigrants.

How does it “interfere[] with” federal law to deny rights to people who should not be here according to federal law?

“Whatever frustrations officials of the City of Hazleton may feel about the current state of immigration enforcement,” Judge Munley wrote in the 206-page decision, “the nature of the political system in the United States prohibits the city from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme.”

How does it “disrupt” federal law to deny rights to people who should not be here according to federal law?

It’s another illustration of what I discussed here the other day. The problems caused by illegal immigration (like jail and prison overcrowding, for example) are local problems, according to federal judges. But if local officials try to solve them by making their communities less attractive to illegals, all of a sudden it’s a federal issue that locals can’t do anything about — again according to federal judges.

UPDATE: Fred Thompson gets it.

UPDATE x2: I don’t know that the decision is wrong — just that its result is unfair.

59 Responses to “Federal Judge to Local Community: You Can’t Do Anything About Illegals in Your Community”

  1. And if the good citizens of Hazleton declared they were going to stop paying income tax until the federal government pulled its troops out of Iraq?

    alphie (015011)

  2. alphie,

    Then that would be *inconsistent* with federal law, wouldn’t it?

    Patterico (d7010a)

  3. […] has a question about the decision. How does it “disrupt” federal law to deny rights to people who should not be here according to […]

    Re: Hazelton Law Struck Down! | PAWaterCooler.com (afad56)

  4. What’s “inconsistent” is applauding when the federal government uses its power against the will of the American people in one instance and complaining when it does it in another instance.

    alphie (015011)

  5. “… violated the due process rights of employers, landlords and illegal immigrants.”

    How does it “interfere[] with” federal law to deny rights to people who should not be here according to federal law.

    I think that’s very clear. They haven’t received due process yet and being declared by a court of competent jurisdiction (an immigration court or similar) to being subject to deportation.

    So, if no court has yet found them subject to such, by what right does a local municipality deprive them of necessities of life?
     

    ““…the nature of the political system in the United States prohibits the city from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme.”

    How does it “disrupt” federal law to deny rights to people who should not be here according to federal law?

    Due process. Which can’t effectively be administered by a municipal government, only by the federal government.

    Unless you would see town councils decide immigration cases?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  6. Actually, how does a municipality deny them necessities of life like shelter even if they have been found to be illegal immigrants by an immigration court.

    By what international treaty does the USA deny shelter to illegal immigrants?

    Deportation, yes. Deny shelter, no.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  7. Any illegal immigrant is, by definition, evading the law and deportation. How do you expect the government to protect a “right to shelter and employment” for people who they are supposed to deport immediately?

    The city is not interfering in any way with the federal government’s pursuit of illegal immigrants or their due process once caught. Demanding companies employ legal residents is well within the city’s authority. Hiring illegal immigrants means a fradulent identity is being used, or under-the-table dealings are taking place. Both of which are issues under the purview of the local authorities.

    Fco (201cb0)

  8. Two things in the NYT article struck me as most significant:

    “I will not sit back because the federal government has refused to do its job,” Mr. Barletta said at a news conference on the steps of City Hall.”

    If every mayor of every city had the stones to take the bull by the horns Hazelton’s mayor, the collective pressure on the feds would not be easily blown off (as it is now).

    and,

    “The judge emphasized that illegal immigrants had the same civil rights as legal immigrants and citizens. ”

    Really? Then why doesn’t he just throw out every law in the books regarding entering our country illegally? Isn’t he then saying that there is no difference between being legal or illegal? All are granted the same rights and privileges? Does the President know this, does Homeland know this?

    No wonder everyone wants to come to America.

    Dana (3b28ec)

  9. No one is denying any emergency services to illegal immigrants. That’s as settled as law is likely to be.

    So illegal immigrants can qualify for all the emergency shelter they like. Say, until such time as their paperwork is worked out, if they are here seeking asylum and need some temporary papers to that effect.

    It’s just residential contracted shelter they would be disallowed from, under this law.

    luagha (88a84a)

  10. This whole “states can’t enforce immigration laws ‘cuz it’s a federal issue” bit has me puzzled. Do any other federal laws work that way? I know that California authorities go out of their way not to enforce federal prohibition on medical marijuana, but have always understood that to be a result of Prop 215, not anyone seriously arguing that California would violate federal law by enforcing it.

    Xrlq (3dd434)

  11. I agree with the decision, but I do wish the feds would do a better job of keeping illegal immigrants out of this country. I need them kept out of the country so that they’ll work for cheaper prices in their homeland.

    My investments in various manufacturing companies is bound to increase in value if we can just force these foreigners to stay in their own countries and accept $5-per-day factory jobs from U.S. corporations. Stop letting them think they can get a better wage by sneaking into the U.S.!

    A secure border is critical to cheap labor. After all, what’s the point of outsourcing labor to Mexico if the Mexicans can just walk across the border and get a better-paying job here? Why move a factory to Mexico at all?

    Phil (88ab5b)

  12. Xrlq:

    This whole “states can’t enforce immigration laws ‘cuz it’s a federal issue” bit has me puzzled.

    Because local judges can’t adjudicate cases regarding someone’s immigration status. Immigration is a federal issue not particular to any city or state. This is a valid point, but then advocates try to cover every other enforcement measure under the federal mandate, because they know it’s lazy and will not enforce the law.

    Fco (201cb0)

  13. I understand that states can’t adjudicate the question of whether someone is or is not a legal resident, but unless that issue is seriously in doubt, where’s the beef? We don’t bar states from deciding whether the stuff a defendant got caught with was or wasn’t cocaine, just because there is also a federal law prohibiting cocaine. Even if there were a federal law preempting states from defining controlled or illicit substances of their own (a better analogy since states can’t create their own new classes of illegal immigrants), no one argues that states can’t enforce drug laws just because there is also a federal law on point. All other things being equal, the laws of the United States are the laws of Pennsylvania, n’est-ce pas?

    Xrlq (3dd434)

  14. There’s no legal beef as far as I can see. Open border sympathizers are just muddying the waters by claiming that because immigration is a federal issue, state and local governments have no authority whatsoever to help enforce the federal law. Wether it be through apprehension of suspects and handing them over to ICE, or fining employers, or even so much as asking for immigration status when they are legally stopped by a policeman.

    If they can prevent the local and state authorities from enforcing any kind of immigration law, then illegal immigrants can almost live with impunity.

    Fco (201cb0)

  15. Just out of curiosity, Patterico, how would you say Plyler v. Doe applies here, if at all? I haven’t seen anyone else actually mention this case in this context, and I was wondering if there’s some reason for that.

    Rick Wilcox (71646f)

  16. And if the good citizens of Hazleton declared they were going to stop paying income tax until the federal government pulled its troops out of Iraq?

    You mean if they became a “Sanctuary City” for those who don’t want to abide by federal tax laws? Why would there be any problem with that?

    j curtis (ecc9cc)

  17. IANAL, and I haven’t the time to read 200+ pages (what!) of the judge’s reasoning. Can one of you legal eagles tell me:

    What federal law was interfered with? Specifically, the judge says,

    “the nature of the political system in the United States prohibits the city from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme.”

    But that’s not a law, that’s the judge saying he doesn’t like Hazelton’s actions based on his conception of the overall politics, not a specific law. Is it now lillegal to be “disruptive?”

    [His superfluous commentary about the “carefully drawn federal statutory scheme” is another tipoff that he’s using a political distinction rather than a legal one.]

    But does he also, perhaps elsewhere in his explanation, cite the fed law(s) he sees as being broken and the reasoning by which he sees that? Or is he merely adding a constitutional amendment against disruption?

    ras (adf382)

  18. … Judge Munley wrote in the 206-page decision …

    Hmmm. In my limited experience as a litigation lawyer, when a trial judge issues a very long written opinion, it often implies a few things (any number of which may be applicable):

    1. The judge knows the decision will be appealed and the law, the facts or both are complicated and the judge wants to be sure the appellate court understands the facts and how the judge applied the law to them;

    2. Either the law on which the opinion stands is unsettled or nonexistent or the judge is trying mightily to demonstrate that the case is factually distinguishable from a higher court opinion that if followed would lead to a different result;

    3. The judge might be stretching to read precedent in a way that supports the decision, but the judge’s logic eludes most everyone else, and so those others must be “educated.”

    4. The judge is in denial about precedent, and is relying on dissenting opinions to support the decision;

    5. The trial judge wants a promotion and is submitting a writing sample.

    I don’t know if any of the foregoing applies here, but ….

    ExRat (4444dd)

  19. 6. The judge is reasoning from a conclusion and attempting to hide it behind bafflegab.

    ras (adf382)

  20. Does anyone else who’s scanned the ruling agree that the judge’s standards for harm were based on peoples’ imaginings?

    The details (0c89cb)

  21. I haven’t read much of the decision yet, and I was planning on parsing it out tomorrow in a series of posts — I still might do that with Patterico’s approval — but I suspect that most of the dispositive analysis in the decision is on the question of federal pre-emption of all immigration enforcement under the Supremacy Clause. Areas where courts look for and find “implied” preemption — on the basis that the federal legislation is meant to “occupy the field” are the most ripe for controversy. Immigration is just such an area.

    The express power conferred on Congress in Art I, Sec. 8 that Congress shall have the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, has been interpreted to mean that Congress has the exclusive power over all matters involving immigration, and state governments have none.

    Right or wrong, I think that is where this case comes out, but I’ll be taking a closer look at it over the next 24 hours.

    wls (077d0d)

  22. Re the 206 page length, before you jump to any conclusions about how “long” the opinion is, you should take a look at each “page.” Because of the typeface used and the fact that it seem to have been converted from an electronic file to pdf rather than having been printed out, scanned, and converted to pdf, each “page” has far fewer words on it that normal. I read the first 10 pages online in about 2 minutes.

    wls (077d0d)

  23. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, absolute immunity for federal judges leads to abuses like this. abolish immunity NOW, put some federal judges in the role of defendant in civil or criminal courts and most of these fruitcake decisions will disappear

    james conrad (7cd809)

  24. UPDATE: Fred Thompson gets it.

    What a dick. A few lines after he describes an english only law, he says its about the effects of illegal immigration.

    Sorry. But I’ve never even had to show ID to rent a place. Now this little town wants someone (well, we know what people are going to get asked, right?) to prove their immigration status? to a landlord? BS.

    amarc (a649f3)

  25. But does he also, perhaps elsewhere in his explanation, cite the fed law(s) he sees as being broken and the reasoning by which he sees that?

    I would imagine it is title 8. About aliens and nationality. A power given to congress by the constitution.

    Do any other federal laws work that way?

    Probably intellectual property laws.

    amarc (a649f3)

  26. How do you expect the government to protect a “right to shelter and employment” for people who they are supposed to deport immediately?

    They’re not supposed to deport them immediately. I believe they have due process rights to hearings and a chance to appeal those.

    amarc (8aef57)

  27. amarc,

    Serious q: So any person who so much as runs 6 inches across the border is entitled to a full trial in a US court of law as to whether or not they can be deported or chased back?

    ras (adf382)

  28. 27

    Your question disintegrates them. Expect them to run and hide now.

    A Border Patrol Agent chaseing back an alien who has crossed 3 inches into the US is guilty of civil rights violation.

    j curtis (ecc9cc)

  29. J. Curtis, will you quit talking about Aliens?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  30. Seriously, though, the answer to your question:

    A Border Patrol Agent chaseing back an alien who has crossed 3 inches into the US is guilty of civil rights violation.

    is no.

    The agent didn’t touch the alien and the alien ran back of their own accord.

    Good work, agent!

    However, if the agent apprehended the alien on U.S. soil:

    Thus, aliens who are “present in” or have “arrive[d] in” the United States are to be deemed “applicants for admission” and must be accorded the inspection, screening, and attendant procedures that will result in either admission, asylum, or removal.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  31. 29

    will you quit talking about Aliens?

    Is it off topic in this thread?

    j curtis (ecc9cc)

  32. The agent didn’t touch the alien and the alien ran back of their own accord.

    What if he did touch the alien?

    j curtis (ecc9cc)

  33. Then he was trying to affect an arrest, he touched the alien, the alien fell back into Canada (hey, let’s not be prejudiced here and assume it was Mexico), then the agent says, “bummer” and doesn’t have to detain the former now repatriated alien.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  34. Christoph,

    Then “wet feet, dry feet” is unconstitutional, at least according to your logic, since US jurisdiction and laws are in effect w/in US waters.

    Correct? As long as the refugees do not turn back of their own accord, they can stay in the US and insist on a trial?

    ras (adf382)

  35. then the agent says, “bummer” and doesn’t have to detain the former now repatriated alien.

    Is the Border Patrol Agent guilty of civil rights violation for physically pushing the alien back to canada after said alien made it 4 feet onto US soil?

    j curtis (ecc9cc)

  36. Hey, you were talking about 3-inches.

    😉

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  37. But if he pushes the supposed alien into another country (and how does he know the person is an alien? Sight? Or due process? Which is he the absolute determiner on?) without detaining and investigating the person, he is not doing his job.

    What if it was a U.S. citizen attempting to return to the U.S. or a lawfully admitted person?

    By what right does this agent remove the person who has now reached U.S. soil to another country without following due process?

    I’m not running and hiding. The law and INS policy on this is very clear.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  38. Hey, you were talking about 3-inches.

    3 inches, 7 feet, 50 yards…where is the line drawn where it changes from “civil rights violation” to ” go ahead and smack his ass back from whence he came”?

    j curtis (ecc9cc)

  39. The law and INS policy on this is very clear.

    INS policy maybe; the law, no … If the law were clear we wouldn’t have this thread that originated in a 206 page decision against “diruptive” behavior.

    ras (adf382)

  40. Um, if you’re not a legal American Citizen, you don’t have any rights. You’re a criminal. How in the hell did this even make it to trial?!?!? Isn’t this some sort of Judicial Malpractice or incompetence?

    paul from fl (ae01cb)

  41. amarc #24 –
    I guess you haven’t rented a place in the L.A. area lately, or you would have had to submit a full credit background check for the landlord. Some also run you through an insurance claim check.
    Landlords, and by extension, the Property Management Co’s they use are being very careful about who they rent to out here. A little due dilegence before handing over the keys makes up for a lot of eviction problems you might not have in the future.
    If everyone who was attempting to rent/lease accommodations was required to undergo credit/background checks, where would the Federal question be? Same with prospective employees?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  42. Well, I don’t approve of it, but the public at large is heading to a place where things will be taken in private hands, and it will be ugly.

    Reporting live from AZ. . .

    Ray G (50194a)

  43. So why is it that a town that tries to help enforce federal law gets its pee-pee whacked, but a town that thumbs its nose at federal law by declaring itself a “sanctuary city” gets a free pass?

    I don’t get it. Must be one of those fancy legal thingeys.

    pdb (34ed36)

  44. I think we have to get to the point where someone finally defines what a “right” is and who is entitled to same.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  45. Hazleton is just over the mountain from where I live. I asked, on my poor site:

    If the law says that immigration matters are the exclusive province of the federal government, and the federal government won’t do anything about illegal immigration, does that mean that all immigration is de facto legal?

    And let’s not kid ourselves that federal law and regulations are designed in the slightest to stop illegals from working here. From the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, on the instructions for the I-9 form (which documents eligibility to work):

    Do not file Form I-9 with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or USCIS. Form I-9 must be kept by the employer either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. The form must be available for inspection by authorized U.S. Government officials (e.g., ICE, Department of Labor).

    The form I-9 has absolutely no value in keeping illegal immigrants from employment unless the employer is interested in doing so. Since the I-9 is not filed with the USCIS, and they specifically don’t want employers to file the form, there is no government agency which has any responsibility for keeping track of the form or the hiring of illegal immigrants. It is only when complaints and (very) sporadic enforcement catches some company doing so that anything happens. Since the ruling states that the federal government has sole jurisdiction over immigration, it would be a violation of privacy for a state or locality to even see the I-9.

    Dana (3e4784)

  46. The other Dana :) wrote:

    “The judge emphasized that illegal immigrants had the same civil rights as legal immigrants and citizens. ”

    Really? Then why doesn’t he just throw out every law in the books regarding entering our country illegally? Isn’t he then saying that there is no difference between being legal or illegal? All are granted the same rights and privileges? Does the President know this, does Homeland know this?

    Sad thing is, once they are here, to deport them you must prove, observing due process of law, that they are not allowed to be here. Quite frankly, once they are here, there really is no difference, save one, between being here legally or illegally, until the full course of the judicial system has been followed.

    The one difference is employment eligibility: to be hired, you have to prove that you are legally eligible to work, rather than someone having to prove you are not eligible to work. That is accomplished via the I-9 form, which specifies several methods of proving eligibility, many of which can be, and are forged, and the I-9 form remains in the employer’s files, and is not sent to the USCIS or Labor Department.

    Dana (3e4784)

  47. Thing is, the House passed a bill (back when the intelligent people controlled it) which would make being in the United States illegally a felony, but the Senate refused to go along, and our immigration laws are still what they were, before this became an issue. The judge probably arrived at the correct decision legally, regardless of whether it is popular or not.

    Still, a smart (meaning: Republican) congressman would introduce legislation which deputizes states and localities to pursue immigration violations when they have evidence that such has occurred, to check the immigration status of anyone who was apprehended for any other reason, or to allow states or localities to check I-9 forms.

    Employers have little incentive to make certain that a prospective employee is a legal immigrant, because they do not need to check the I-9 documents of a job applicant, but only someone to whom an actual offer of employment has been made. That means that employers actually have a disincentive to pursue I-9 eligibility, because, if the decision to hire has already been taken, finding a non-eligibility status invalidates something the company wants to do.

    And since federal enforcement is so sporadic, the odds are very good that no USCIG, ICE or Labor Department scrutiny of the I-9s will ever be taken.

    If, on the other hand, cities like Hazleton were deputized to scrutinize all I-9s held in a business’ files before the granting of a business license, smaller towns like Hazleton could actually do that job, and businesses would know that they could not accept fraudulent documents; there are many I-9 compliance firms which offer confirmation services to small companies to assist in this.

    Dana (3e4784)

  48. So the next time one of their police officers stops someone and they have an outstanding federal warrent, let them go, don’t wanna interfere with federal juristiction.

    Can also solve the California prison crowding by loading up all the illegals in prison on a bus, govenors parden ’em and they all get dropped off on the steps of the capitol in DC.

    Gerald A (dfa549)

  49. Re: 42.

    RayG has an important point I haven’t noticed elsewhere. The worst possible outcome of this is a vigilante response – but if the lack of federal enforcement means a defacto anarchy in this area, the situation may be perceived as intolerable by some. And that really could get ugly.

    But what can a small town like Hazelton do if its schools are overrun, its health systems overburdened, and its jails overfilled? I think they should fight back by suing the federal government for the costs that result from the failure of the government to keep its part of the contract. Of course… they’d lose.

    Second Biggest Billygoat (8dbeb1)

  50. Let’s just pass a law conferring United States citizenship on every human being alive on Planet Earth.

    Then collect taxes from them.

    Problem solved.

    I'm Geekier (12dd25)

  51. There is an interesting side story to this. The mayor who advocated for these laws is up for reelection. A Republican, he easily won the Republican primary. More interesting, though, he also won the Democrat primary with a massive write-in campaign organized at the last minute!!! Apparently so many Dems had stopped him in the street to say they wanted to vote for him, that he complied.

    I don’t know how the laws were written, but I thought it was similar to zoning laws. You can’t put a strip-club just anywhere because it is “legal”, and you can’t rent apartments to illegal immigrants just anywhere, either.

    I thought there was a comment by the judge about “protecting less desirable members of society”, which is mis-characterizing the issue.

    Dana- wasn’t there some serious crime done by illegal immigrants in Hazelton recently? It seems to me I heard something a few months ago.

    How does the charge, “Failing to keep sovereign borders and thereby subjecting the populace to danger from foreign criminals” match up with the complaints raised in the Declaration of Independence?
    (No, I’m not advocating such action, and no, i don’t mean all immigrants who are not here legally, just those who are the violent criminals.)
    That should tell Republican candidates how strong people feel about the issue.

    PS- can’t you please start playing a clip of “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson AIRPLANE when people say “Airplane”? Let the good counteract the bad.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  52. More from our unlected imperial courts what we need is to have all those idiot judges removed and sent to live in aplace very far far away from here like the ANROMEDA GALAXEY

    krazy kagu (0a3548)

  53. The Philadelphia physician asked:

    Dana- wasn’t there some serious crime done by illegal immigrants in Hazelton recently? It seems to me I heard something a few months ago.

    I don’t remember the details, but two illegals perpetrated a violent crime in Hazleton, which was teh impetus for Lou Barletta’s campaign against the illegals.

    Northeastern Pennsylvania, which includes Jim Thorpe, where I live, and Hazleton, was pretty much lily-white not all that long ago. Hazleton and some other cities in this area (the Allentown area in particular) have seen a major Hispanic immigration in the past several years, not where Hispanics have settled initially after entering the country, but a secondary immigration from Philadelphia and new York. This is a relatively poor, lower-priced area.

    The 2000 Census put Hazleton’s population at 23,329. The media is using the figure of about 30,000 for Hazleton’s population this year, an increase of roughly 25% in seven years. That, by itself, tells you that there is a lot of immigration into Hazleton.

    Dana (556f76)

  54. The Philadelphia physician also wrote:

    That should tell Republican candidates how strong people feel about the issue.

    Well, perhaps you weren’t watching much television duriong the 2006 campaign, but several endangered Republican incumbents, including Curt Weldon from the Philly burbs, tried a swing against illegal immigration in their camoaigns, and it didn’t work.

    Dana (556f76)

  55. I guess you haven’t rented a place in the L.A. area lately, or you would have had to submit a full credit background check for the landlord.

    I’ve done credit checks. But they didn’t ask for ID or my social security card.

    Quite frankly, once they are here, there really is no difference, save one, between being here legally or illegally, until the full course of the judicial system has been followed.

    Thats what keeps the people who are allowed to be here from being deported. So when we say that illegals have due process rights, in reality we’re saying we all have a due process right to avoid being deported.

    Um, if you’re not a legal American Citizen, you don’t have any rights.

    Thats not correct. It’s also not correct that criminals have no rights.

    amarc (05d9a7)

  56. Dana-

    I identified Curt Weldon more with being supportive of the Iraq war and defending President Bush against blame for 911. Perhaps immigration had a part also, but it did not register on my radar.

    I found an article about the crime, etc., at
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/21/AR2006082101484.html
    “…in May, when several illegal immigrants walked up to a local man at 11 o’clock one night and shot him in the forehead. One suspect had four false identity papers. “It took us nine hours of overtime just to run down who he was,” Barletta said. [Barletta is the mayor, grandson of immigrants.]
    This, he said, came on the heels of crack dealing on playgrounds and pit bulls lunging at cops.
    “I lay in bed and thought: I’ve lost my city,” he recalls. “I love the new legal immigrants; they want their kids to be safe just like I do. I had to declare war on the illegals.”

    Hazleton has upped that ante, and four neighboring municipalities in Pennsylvania and Riverside, N.J., already have passed identical ordinances. Seven more cities, from Allentown, Pa., to Palm Beach, Fla., are debating similar legislation.

    “The ideas that these things are happening spontaneously would be mistaken,” said Devin Burghart, who tracks the immigration wars for the nonprofit Center for New Community in Chicago. “What is driving folks is fear of change and changing demographics.”

    [Mr. Burghart asserts “fear of change” and “changing demographics”, I think that is translated as “conservative racists” are the reasons for these moves. The self-proclaimed reason of being against an illegal activity, is apparently not a believable/viable reason.]

    Barletta insists there’s no whiff of racial antagonism. “This isn’t racial, because ‘illegal’ and ‘legal’ don’t have a race,” he says.

    …Many whites who attended the council vote serenaded Latino opponents with chants of “Hit the road, Jack!”…

    But it’s a complicated tapestry. To walk Sixth Street, near the ridge line, is to hear white old-timers warn about the gang graffiti and drug dealing on playgrounds, and then listen as Latino homeowners echo those complaints. A Puerto Rican metal worker and a ponytailed white truck driver swap stories about Mexican laborers driving down construction wages.

    Connie and David Fallotovich sit on their porch on a cool summer evening. They sort of miss their sleepy old white city, and they favor a crackdown — why should an illegal immigrant get a break? They also see their new Dominican neighbors as a big improvement.

    David, a custodian, jerks his head at the house next door. “The couple now is really nice. Tell you the truth, buddy, a white family lived there for 20 years and they were a . . . nightmare.”

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  57. For all the crimes commited by illegal aleins lets hold the illegal alein supporters as well as those idiot judges held totaly liable

    krazy kagu (8d6a8f)

  58. I don’t know if federal law has “preempted” state and local laws affecting illegal immigration, but I do know that Congress can clarify the lack of preemption any time Congress wants to. They ought to do so here.

    This is an area that cries out for federal-state cooperation, instead of absolute federal control. If the Hazleton ordinance goes down, then a lot of other legislation may go down too, including a much-needed statute recently signed in Arizona by Democratic Governer Janet Napolitano.

    Andrew (08ba2c)

  59. Our system of government contemplates a federation wherein the federal authority has pre-eminence over the authority of each individual state. If it weren’t so, then we’d have the States dictating what the constitution of the United States should be, with respect to due process rights, etc. In the case of immigration, the federal authority has power under the supremacy clause of the constitution. But in other areas, for example, in issuing driver’s licenses, the states can require citizenship. But in Hazleton, the city cannot deny residence or employment to undocumented persons. In a like manner, States cannot restrict movement of persons between states, including undocumented persons. The constitution holds that all persons are created equal, not only citizens. See DeCanas v. Bica 424 U.S. 351 (1976).

    Armando (25c2de)


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