Update on ACLU, Illegal Aliens in Hazleton


ACRU Staff


July 30, 2008

When a federal judge two years ago struck down the efforts of residents and officials of Hazleton to protect themselves from crimes by illegal aliens, it was the first such case. Now there are several cases, some in which federal judges have rejected attacks and left such ordinances or laws standing. There are also now crime statistics in adjacent Virginia counties, suggesting that controlling illegal aliens protects the lives and property of legal residents.

The facts for this article, but not the legal conclusions, come from an article in the Citizens Voice in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on 27 July, 2008. It is an update on the case challenging Hazleton, Pennsylvania’s laws concerning illegal immigrants in that town.

Hazleton passed three related ordinances concerning employment by illegal aliens by local businesses, and housing for illegal aliens provided by local landlords. The purpose of all the ordinances were to make it difficult for people who are identified as illegal aliens by the federal government, to live and work in Hazleton. The final impetus for the law was the murder of a local resident by an illegal alien. The ordinances were passed by the City Council and confirmed by the overwhelming reelection of Mayor Barletta who supported the ordinances,

The ACLU both brought the federal case against the Hazleton ordinances, and applauded the ultimate dismissal against the apparent murderer, when the key witness who had turned over the weapon used and recounted the murderer’s confession, was deported from the US to his native country.

Hazleton has appealed the decision against it. The appeal should be set for argument before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in October or November. Hazleton received $427,000 in contributions to support its defense, mostly through its Small Town Defenders’ website.

In the meantime, federal courts in Valley Park, Missouri, and in Arizona have upheld laws similar to those in Hazleton. There have been losses as well. A federal court in Texas ruled to be unconstitutional, several ordinances in Farmer’s Branch, Texas, similar to those in Hazleton. The odds of success for the City on appeal are better than they were at trial when the issue was unprecedented.

Regular readers of these articles are familiar with the grounds for the Supreme Court review. Whenever there is a “conflict between the Circuits,” the Supreme Court is almost compelled to review the issue, since the Constitution cannot have different meanings in different parts of the country.

Since this issue is being raised in local jurisdictions and in states across the country, it is likely that such a conflict among Circuits will develop. Since the subject is growing, not shrinking, Supreme Court review seems inevitable.

Just today an example was reported of the effectiveness of local restrictions on the crime rates. While World Net Daily is not a well-known source, crime statistics are reported in each individual jurisdiction. The Daily has an article on 28 July, 2008, entitled, “Crime skyrockets in 1 county, plummets right next door.”

The article recites that Prince William County in northern Virginia, began a widely-reported crackdown more than a year ago on illegal immigrants there. The Supervisors for the County cited “higher crime rates” and “lower living standards” for their actions. Meanwhile, Fairfax County, located next to Prince William, continued its policy of inaction on the issues of illegal immigrants within its boundaries.

In overall numbers, the crime rate in Prince William County went down 19.3% in the first quarter of 2008, while the crime rate in Fairfax County went up by 22.0% in the same quarter.

A century ago, Justice Brandeis wrote about the states that they are “legislative laboratories” which prove or disprove the value of the laws they pass. His observation seems to apply equally well to counties and other local jurisdictions. When crime increases in places that encourage illegal aliens but decreases elsewhere, this is an indication that “sanctuary” policies mean that elected officials are gambling with the lives, safety and property of the citizens of their jurisdictions.

Source for original story on the Net:


Source for the comparative crime rate story on the Net:




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