Pennsylvania city anti-immigration law targeted in second lawsuit

[JURIST] Advocacy groups filed a second lawsuit Monday against the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania [official website] in an attempt to block the community's anti-immigration laws that will make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to reside or work in the town. The city's Illegal Immigration Relief Act [PDF text] and Landlord Tenant Ordinance [PDF text], set to take effect Wednesday [notice], mandate fines against landlords who rent to illegal immigrants [JURIST news archive] and requires tenants to register their personal contact information and pay $10 for rental permits. Landlords who do not comply face a $1,000 initial fine and an additional cost of $250 per day for each tenant. The laws also deny work permits to companies that employ illegal aliens. The laws were previously delayed from taking effect [JURIST report] while the city made revisions to the measures, following a challenge [JURIST report; complaint, PDF; ACLU materials] by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

The plaintiffs, including several illegal immigrants, the Hazleton Hispanic Business Association, and a businessman, are now seeking an injunction against the laws, claiming they violate the US Constitution because the federal government has the exclusive power to regulate immigration [CRS study]. Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta has vigorously defended the laws, claiming [letter] that the city has seen an increase in drugs, gangs and crime since illegal immigrants have moved into the area. Barletta claims the measures do not regulate immigration but only apply to those doing business with illegal aliens. AP has more.

 

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