HAZLETON, PENNSYLVANIA VICTORY BRINGS VINDICATION
June 6, 2011 - For Immediate Release
DENVER, CO. Hazleton, Pennsylvania, today won full vindication of its long battle for its right to address the impacts of illegal immigrants on its citizens as a result of a ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court granted Hazleton’s petition for writ of certiorari, vacated a ruling against Hazleton by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, and ordered the appellate court to reconsider its ruling in light of the Court’s May 26 decision regarding a similar law in Arizona.
In July 2007, after a two-week trial, a Pennsylvania federal district court ruled that ordinances adopted by Hazleton in 2006 were preempted by federal law and thus unconstitutional. In September 2010, two years after the case was argued, the Third Circuit upheld the lower court. Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), at the request of Mayor Lou Barletta, joined the City’s small legal team, which also includes the Immigration Reform Law Institute. Hazleton filed its petition on December 8, 2010.
“We are delighted with the decision of the Supreme Court and believe that our defense of Mayor, now Congressman, Barletta has been vindicated,” said William Perry Pendley, Esq., MSLF president. “We are very proud of Mr. Barletta and the courageous people of Hazleton.”
Located 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia, near the intersection of Interstates 80 and 81, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, incorporated in 1857, was home, during the 2000 Census, to fewer than 25,000 citizens. Since that time, its population has ballooned to more than 31,000. Most of that number comprises individuals who have entered the country illegally. Frustrated by the failure of the federal government to address the issue of illegal immigration and the problems it poses for the tiny, cash-strapped city—including violent crime, crowded schools, hospital costs, and the demand for services—the City Council, at the request of Mayor Lou Barletta, adopted legislation to deal with these problems. On September 12, 2006, Hazleton adopted two separate ordinances, the “Illegal Immigration Relief Act” and the “Official English Ordinance.” The former passed by a vote of 4-1, the latter unanimously. The trial, which lasted over two weeks, began only after weeks of discovery and the filing of various motions and briefs by the scores of attorneys representing the plaintiffs and the small band of lawyers representing Hazleton.
Hazleton’s efforts are similar to those by Arizona as a result of a ballot initiative approved overwhelmingly by voters in November 2004. Proposition 200 bars illegal immigrants from receiving “benefits” or from voting in elections. Both of these provisions have survived legal challenge thus far. Mountain States Legal Foundation, founded in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in metropolitan Denver, Colorado.
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is a nonprofit,
public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right
to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and economic freedom. It is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) entity
incorporated in the State of Colorado. Csontributions
to Mountain States Legal Foundation are tax deductible.
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