Federal appeals court vacates ruling on Pennsylvania city immigration laws

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] has vacated a previous ruling [text] declaring Hazelton, Pennsylvania's immigration laws unconstitutional. Hazleton's Illegal Immigration Relief Act and Landlord Tenant Ordinance [texts, PDF] deny permits to businesses that employ illegal immigrants and fine landlords who extend housing to them. Last year, the Third Circuit rejected the laws [JURIST report] as unconstitutional, but May's Supreme Court [official website] ruling [JURIST report] on a similar Arizona law has caused a reconsideration of the laws. In June, the Supreme Court ordered the Third Circuit to reexamine the case [JURIST report]. The city cannot immediately implement the laws, as they were originally struck down [JURIST report] in 2007 by the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania [official website].

Illegal immigration has become the focus of much legislative and judicial activity recently. Earlier this week, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed a complaint [text, PDF] in the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama [official website] challenging [JURIST report] an Alabama law [HB 56 text] designed to restrict the actions of illegal immigrants. In addition to authorizing detention of individuals on reasonable suspicion they are illegal immigrants, the law provides harsh restrictions on employment for illegal immigrants. Businesses cited multiple times for hiring undocumented workers could lose their business licenses. Furthermore, undocumented immigrants are prohibited from applying for a job, and anyone transporting or harboring undocumented immigrants will be punished by a fine or jail time. The DOJ contended that various provisions of the Alabama immigration legislation are preempted by federal law and violate the Supremacy Clause [text] of the Constitution.

 

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