By Jared Edgerton, Contributing Writer
The Court issued a ruling in favor of Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act Ordinance and ordered the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ to reconsider the law, which it struck down in 2007.
The Hazleton Illegal Immigration Relief Act Ordinance, passed in 2006, allowed the city to fine landlords $1,000 per illegal immigrant fount to be renting, and requiring employers to verify a citizens legal status before hiring them. Proponents say the measure was adopted to curb the inflow of illegal immigrants into Hazleton.
The ordinance gained national attention because it was the harshest anti-illegal immigration law at the time. Opponents argued that the law hurt Hazleton, saying the influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal, revitalized the town by bringing in new business. They challenged its constitutionality on the grounds of “Supremacy Clause” stating that it contradicted the existing federal law.
Before the it could be put into effect, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged it. Initially the courts sided with the ACLU.
Barletta celebrated the decision. “This is great news for the City of Hazleton and all municipalities in cities and states trying to cope with the burden of illegal immigration…This certainly is not good news for those that support illegal immigration.”
Attorneys from the ACLU responded to Barletta’s assertion saying “any celebration by the Hazleton officials would be premature. We’re certainly not putting up the white flag. There’s much battle left to be done in this case.”
Barletta believes that the ordinance is on firm ground to be upheld by the federal appeals court citing the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of similar legislation in U.S. Chamber of Commerce versus Whiting.
Barletta has introduced legislation to Congress similar to the ordinance passed while he was mayor saying “I don’t think the [Obama] administration is serious at all about solving our illegal immigration problems.”