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Judge Munley Blocks Illegal Immigration Laws in Hazleton Pennsylvania


CofCC.org News Team

 A federal judge has struck down the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, ruling Hazleton’s proposed crackdown on landlords and employers doing business with illegal immigrants is unconstitutional.

While many Hazleton residents applauded Barletta’s stance, much of the city’s large Latino population – estimated to be about 10,000 and growing – immediately reacted in protest, gathering on the steps of city hall the night the ordinance passed wearing shirts reading, “I’m Hispanic, not a criminal.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups challenged the ordinance in federal court on behalf of several residents and community groups, arguing it would lead to civil rights violations against Latinos and conflict with the federal government’s sole authority to regulate immigration.

During the trial in March, Barletta, who was catapulted to nationally prominence when he proposed the ordinance in June 2006, testified that his city is besieged by gangs, graffiti and crime because of illegal immigrants. He acted for the good of all legal residents, he has said. Barletta vowed again this afternoon to appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. “I’m not ready to lose,” he said. “We’re not only fighting for Hazleton. We are fighting for cities across the country.”

Hazleton is at least the seventh city in the country to lose a case over a local ordinance targeting illegal immigrants. However, it is the first to be struck down after a full trial.

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