ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Home Page


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

移民日报

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily


Chinese Immig. Daily




The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of
free information!
Copyright
1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

View RSS Feed

Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

HAZLETON ORDINANCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL; LAWS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COULD BE INVALIDATED

Rate this Entry

Anti-immigrant groups received a major setback today as a US DIstrict Court judge in Pennsylvania ruled  in a 206 page decision that Hazleton, PA's anti-immigration ordinances unconstitutional. The case dealt with ordinances that bar landlords from renting apartments to illegal aliens and a provision that allow for the revocation of business licenses of companies employing illegal aliens. The latter issue is particularly important since numerous state and local laws have passed in recent months that do this very thing.



The City of Hazleton really got slammed on this one based on the tone of the decision and the case provides a blueprint for challenging ordinances all over the country. No doubt the case will be appealed and given the propagation of these statutes all over the country, the Supreme Court could very well take up the issue.



There were many grounds for overturning the decision, but the most telling one was the Constitutional bar on states preempting federal laws.



Here is the decision -

Download hazelton_case.pdf



I've pulled some of the more important passages in the decision.



United StatesThis argument appears to be a species of argument often
heard in recent discussions of the national immigration issue: because illegal
aliens broke the law to enter this country, they should not have any legal
recourse when rights due them under the federal constitution or federal law are
violated. We cannot say clearly enough that persons who enter this country
without legal authorization are not stripped immediately of all their rights
because of this single illegal act. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution provides that no State may "deprive any person of life,
liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its
jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The United States Supreme Court
has consistently interpreted this provision to apply to all people present in
the United States whether they were born here, immigrated here through legal means, or violated
federal law to enter the country.>



>>

***



IRCA contains an express pre-emption clause that
pre-empts State or local laws dealing with the employment of unauthorized
aliens. The preemption clause provides: "The provisions of this section preempt
any State or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through
licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ, or recruit or refer for a fee
for employment, unauthorized aliens." 8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(2).>



***





Under federal law there are two types of immigration
enforcement: border enforcement, which is keeping unauthorized persons from
entering the country; and interior enforcement, which is distinguishing between
legal and undocumented immigrants already in the country and removing the latter.
(N.T. 3/15/07 at 14). In interior enforcement, officials must strike a balance
between finding and removing undocumented immigrants without accidently
removing immigrants and legal citizens, all without imposing too much of a
burden on employers and workers. Too stringent of an enforcement system will result in the wrongful
removal of United States
citizens and legal immigrants.United States foreign relations is affected by the manner in which the balance is struck.
Excessive enforcement jeopardizes our alliances and cooperation with regard to matters
such as immigration enforcement, drug interdiction and counter terrorism investigations.  Accordingly, the United States political system places the
responsibility for striking this balance with the United States Congress and
the executive branch. In discussing the ordinances in the instant case, city council and the
mayor did not consider the implications of the ordinances on foreign policy.
(N.T. 3/14/07 at 87-89). Their only concern, as might be expected, was for Hazleton.>>



***



The Ordinance, unlike its superior federal counterpart,
contains no antidiscrimination provisions.
>>



***



The employment provisions of IIRA differ from and conflict
with IRCA. It is thus in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the United States
Constitution.>>



>>

***



As Supreme Court Justice Blackmun noted: "[T]he structure
of the immigration statuses makes it impossible for the State to determine
which aliens are entitled to residence, and which eventually will be deported."
Plyler (Blackmun, J., concurring). Additionally, Supreme Court Justice Lewis F.
Powell stated: "Until an undocumented alien is ordered deported by the Federal
Government, no State can be assured that the alien will not be found to have a
federal permission to reside in the country." Plyler, 457 at 241 n.6 (Powell,
J., concurring).>>



>>

***



IIRA attempts to provide procedural protection to those affected
by it by resorting to courts that do not have jurisdiction over determinations
of immigration status. To refer those affected by IIRA to a court that cannot
hear their claim is a violation of due process. For the above reasons, we find
that IIRA violates the due process rights of both the employers and employees
and is thus unconstitutional. >>



>>

***



Because the IIRA does not provide notice to challenged
employees or tenants, does not inform the employers and owners/landlords of the
types of identity information needed, and provides for judicial review in a court
system that lacks jurisdiction, it violates the due process rights of employers,
employees, tenants and owners/landlords. It is therefore unconstitutional.>>



>>

***



We therefore find that Ordinance 2006-18, as amended,
does not on its face violate the plaintiffs' right to the equal protection of
the laws.>>



>>

***



We find that we lack adequate information to balance the
plaintiffs' privacy interest in the data requested with the City's need for
that information. Neither party has presented sufficient evidence of what type of
information will be required from plaintiffs, and plaintiffs have not adduced
case law that would allow us to conclude that immigration information is on its
face private data. We will therefore dismiss the plaintiffs' privacy rights
complaint.>



***



Accordingly, section 1981 forbids the defendant from
prohibiting undocumented aliens from entering into leases. Thus, the Tenant Registration
Ordinance and the housing provisions of the IIRA, which forbid such contracts,
are in violation of section 1981
>>



***



Whatever frustrations officials of the City of Hazleton may feel about the current state of federal immigration enforcement, the nature of the political system in the United States, in its zeal to control the presence of a group deemed undesirable, violated the rights of such
people, as well as others within the community. Since the United States Constitution protects even the disfavored, the ordinances cannot be enforced. prohibits the City from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme. Even if federal law did not conflict with Hazleton's
measures, the City could not enact an ordinance that violates rights the Constitution guarantees to every person in the United States, whether legal resident or not. The genius of our Constitution is that it provides rights even to those who evoke the least sympathy from the general public. In that way, all
in this nation can be confident of equal justice under its laws. >>



















































Submit "HAZLETON ORDINANCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL; LAWS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COULD BE INVALIDATED" to Facebook Submit "HAZLETON ORDINANCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL; LAWS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COULD BE INVALIDATED" to Twitter Submit "HAZLETON ORDINANCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL; LAWS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COULD BE INVALIDATED" to Google Submit "HAZLETON ORDINANCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL; LAWS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COULD BE INVALIDATED" to StumbleUpon Submit "HAZLETON ORDINANCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL; LAWS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COULD BE INVALIDATED" to Reddit Submit "HAZLETON ORDINANCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL; LAWS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COULD BE INVALIDATED" to Digg Submit "HAZLETON ORDINANCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL; LAWS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COULD BE INVALIDATED" to del.icio.us

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags

Comments

  1. Calouste's Avatar
    "Mayor Barletta [of Hazelton] has vowed to appeal against the ruling.

    He called the decision bizarre, saying the judge had protected the rights of people illegally in the country."

    He doesn't get it, does he?

    The judge doesn't protect anyone, the Constitution does.
  2. Justices's Avatar
    I think you are forgetting about appeals.
  3. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    See my comment mentioning the case will likely go to the Supreme Court.
  4. Another voice's Avatar
    Greg:

    What are the grounds for the appeal can you shot some light to this point and educate the rest of us? o
  5. TX's Avatar
    Its not the Judge who protected the right of people illegally, this racist mayor needs to understand that this country's great constitution protects the right of each individual in this country regardless of their status.

    The Constitution of this country is what makes it the greatest in the world. When individuals like the Mayor of Hazelton go against the constitution, they are stripping this country of the exact elements that makes it so great. If.....God Forbid, this country loses its greatness, like the United Kingdom did years ago, we know who will be responsible. I hope this case does go to the Supreme Court so it could be a symbol of defeat for all the bigotry and hate that is so evident in our society today. This will show all the Lou Dobbs and talk show hosts of America, who so praised Bartlett, their true place in society.
  6. Tom Negri's Avatar
    Happy Day Greg and All!

    Greg, great blog, and super recap. I would hope that this will begin to set the record straight. Certainly a setback for those anti-immigration folks and perhaps others will begin to understand the issues more clearly. If indeed they read the decision......

    Tom
Put Free Immigration Law Headlines On Your Website

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers Enter your email address here: