Court Strikes Down Local Illegal Alien Law
A federal court has ruled that localities are prohibited from regulating United States international borders.
A U.S. judge on Thursday struck down as unconstitutional a local law designed to crack down on illegal immigration, dealing a blow to similar laws passed by dozens of towns and cities across the country.
U.S. District Judge James Munley said the city of Hazleton, 100 miles north of Philadelphia, was not allowed to implement a law that would fine businesses that hire illegal immigrants and penalize landlords who rent rooms to them.”Federal law prohibits Hazleton from enforcing any of the provisions of its ordinances,” Munley wrote in a 206-page opinion following a federal trial in which Hazleton’s law was challenged by civil rights groups.
The city of 30,000 blames a recent rise in illegal immigration for boosting crime and overburdening social services. The law was passed in July 2006 but was not implemented because of a court injunction won by opponents. About a third of the city’s residents are immigrants from Central America and around a quarter of the immigrant population is believed to be undocumented, according to civil rights campaigners.
Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta said the city would likely appeal the decision. “I believe both sides realized this wasn’t going to be the last day. This small city isn’t ready to stop fighting yet,” Barletta told CNN.
This one was a no-brainer and, unless they had no brains, Hazleton’s politicians damned well knew it. One understands the frustrations of local officials, who have to bear the brunt over the inability or unwillingness of the federal government to enforce our immigration laws. Still, they obviously don’t have jurisdiction.