A Hazleton, PA law that targeted illegal immigrants was struck down by a federal appeals court today.  The law wass actually passed in 2006 but has been held up in the courts.  The Hazleton, PA law also severed as a model for various laws, ordinances and resolutions around the country.

The Hazleton Law allowed for pulling the business licenses of those who hired illegal aliends.  Additionally, landlords could be fined if they rented to people out of status.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that the law infringed on the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate immigration.  Once again the supremacy clause is the underlying cause for state and local laws to be voided. 

According to the NY Times:

The appeals court in Pennsylvania found that Hazleton had clearly overstepped its bounds.

“It is of course not our job to sit in judgment of whether state and local frustration about federal immigration policy is warranted,” the judges wrote. “We are, however, required to intervene when states and localities directly undermine the federal objectives embodied in statutes enacted by Congress.”

Hazleton “has attempted to usurp authority the Constitution has placed beyond the vicissitudes of local governments,” the panel of three judges concluded unanimously.

Another appeal is planned by the city.

27 Thoughts to “Hazleton, PA Immigration Law Struck Down”

  1. “to intervene when states and localities directly undermine the federal objectives embodied in statutes enacted by Congress.”

    Huh? I thought that the Feds welcomed state enforcement of federal laws. Apparently the states can now cut back on enforcing the other federal laws now. Isn’t the apprehension and removal of illegal aliens a federal objective embodied by Congressional statute?

    States. Doing the job that American Feds won’t do.

  2. Wolverine

    Well, Cargo, not long ago I did sit in on a briefing session at which a DEA rep spoke. He emphasized to no end that the DEA never had enough agents and that they absolutely depended on state and local local law enforcement and on the ordinary, observant citizen to help them do their job. Different strokes for different folks.

  3. The same thing happens state to local with us being a Dillon Rule state here in Virginia.

    Where do you draw the line?

    I don’t like the idea that a landlord can be fined for renting to an illegal alien.

    However….I wish landlords could be fined for not checking on their dwellings and allowing a million people to live in one house. One near me, having nothing to do with illegal immigrants, rented his upstairs out and then his downstairs to someone else. What a mess. They alienated their front side neighbors by taking their parking space in front of their house, allowing their kids to have every toy known to man on the front lawn, the sidewalk, the neighbors’ lawn. They played music half the night on kill and partied till your windows rattled. The landlord should have been far more receptive to neighborhood complaints.

  4. Starryflights

    States and localities don’t enforce income tax laws, do they? Otherwise, a Virginia state trooper could pull you over and ask for your latest 1040.

    This was a good ruling by the judge. Immigration laws should be enforced by the federal government as it is part of its jurisdiction. States and localities must respect the Constitution of the United States.

  5. Second-Alamo

    “the law infringed on the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate immigration”

    Obviously the states need to sue the federal government for not doing its job!

  6. Second-Alamo

    So lets see, the illegal aliens hold power over the law abiding citizens as do the freaks that threaten to blow things up. America, I thought we were the home of the brave, not the home of the fearful! We talk about freedom, but I see those basic freedoms being eroded by those outside the country while we bicker over tiny individual freedoms within the country. It’s time to step back and look at the big picture. The freedom to govern our own country as we see fit is being given up to appease outsiders, and that has got to end!

  7. Starryflights

    SA, outsiders are not taking away your freedoms. The judge made his ruling based upon the United States Constitution. You need to respect the United States Constitution.

  8. Elena

    Starryflights :States and localities don’t enforce income tax laws, do they? Otherwise, a Virginia state trooper could pull you over and ask for your latest 1040.
    This was a good ruling by the judge. Immigration laws should be enforced by the federal government as it is part of its jurisdiction. States and localities must respect the Constitution of the United States.

    Great point Starry!

  9. Elena

    Wow, how did people here without proper documents get lumped in with terrorists??!!

  10. RV

    And what does this do to Corey’s Virginia Law campaign?

  11. Actually, the Constitution does not mention immigration. Not at all. It is case law that gave the Feds the power.

  12. If we only evaluated things mentioned in the constitution our only form of transportation would be horse and buggy. There would be no written communication other than penmanship.

    I am one of those rotten dirty dogs who feels that the Constitution is a living, growing document. The original framers wrote it so it could change with the times.

  13. e

    i am of the opinion that my mortgage is also a living, growing document. on monday i am going to my bank and paying off my balance with monopoly money

  14. Rez

    Moon-howler :
    If we only evaluated things mentioned in the constitution our only form of transportation would be horse and buggy. There would be no written communication other than penmanship.
    I am one of those rotten dirty dogs who feels that the Constitution is a living, growing document. The original framers wrote it so it could change with the times.

    I don’t think anyone even the founding fathers would disagree with the need to change the Constitution, that’s why an amendment process was constructed. What people object to is changing the Constitution (called reinterpretation) on the whim of one judge.

  15. Rez

    By the way, I am curious about one thing. I hear a lot of people say that Arizona had the wrong approach, they should go after the businesses that hire illegal aliens or landlords.

    So the judge says that is unconstitutional. What now for ideas from those that espouse those concepts? I recall that this was the approach of Sharon Pandak in one of the elections.

  16. And I am one of those people who think that old situations can be applied to new ones with some degree of flexibility. If we amended the Constitution every time there was a new invention we would never get anything else done.

    I am not a Constitutional conservative…but you all knew that…..

    The Constitution is reinterpreted every time a case is heard. What makes them activist judges is whether or not we agree with the decision. Clarence Thomas reinvented as often as David Souter reinvented in my world.

    Need to Know was the person who was advancing the idea about the employers.

  17. hello

    Moon-howler :I am one of those rotten dirty dogs who feels that the Constitution is a living, growing document.

    Okay, I can agree if you ONLY mean that it changes thru time with amendments. However, I doubt that is what you meant. I looked it up and according to wikipedia you are right in line with Al Gore: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_Constitution

    “A prominent endorsement of the Living Constitution concept was heard in the 2000 presidential campaign by the Democratic candidate, Al Gore.[citation needed] One of its most vocal critics is Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia”

    I think I identify more with Scalia than Al (this century’s best con artist) Gore. Also, isn’t that the definition of a ‘progressive’? Are you a progressive?

  18. Rez

    There were more people than Need to Know who were advancing the idea.

    And by the way, it is not reinterpreted. There is the concept of “settled law” which prevents that very thing.

    There is no need to amend the Constitution involving technology. The Constitution is a compilation of general principles. If the new situation falls within the general principles of the Constitution that is fine. When it doesn’t, it needs amendment if the country feels it should be.

    If you continually change a law without legislative action, it eventually becomes anarchy.

  19. RingDangDoo

    @Starryflights
    >States and localities don’t enforce income tax laws, do they?

    Stop paying your state and local income taxes and see what happens. 😉

  20. Wolverine

    Well, Moon, you certainly have hit on something which is absolutely spot on. Landlords. I cannot tell you how many times in our covenanted community career landlords or absentee owners have simply rented and then just turned their backs. Always difficult to get them to take action with regard to misbehaving tenants. Many do not respond either to scoldings or to fines imposed by the board of directors. About the only sure method is to launch the attorney we have on retainer — something which never fails to drain the tight community budget. In my opinion, if we had more landlords who were conscientious and honest, we might have far less inter-racial antipathy in our neighborhoods — as well as fewer HOA property managers with ulcers.

  21. Rez, I believe you misunderstood me. I meant on this blog, Need to Know was leading the charge about going after the employers. Yes others agreed with him but he was the main spokes person on this blog.

  22. I agree Wolverine. And some of those landlords simply do not care. It isn’t their problem. When I lived in a particular townhouse community that shall go nameless, many years ago, I used to go over to the zoning office weekly to get names and addresses and contact people to let them know their house was being torn up. Sometimes I got a postive response. Sometimes I didn’t. It was very frustrating.

    Where I lived, they wouldn’t fine them…usually for the reasons you mentioned. I forget the details. It was been a long time ago.

  23. Rez, I doubt if we will ever agree.

    How about Murray v. Curlett? It was decided 8-1 with Potter Stewart being the only dissenter.

    So who were the activist judges? Americans have hated this ruling since it happened. No less than 150 different bills have been attempted to overrule this decision but to date, nothing has worked.

  24. Hello, I am not an ideologue so I don’t know. I don’t like those kinds of labels. Do you mean Glenn Beck’s definition of a progressive or Hillary Clintons?

    Interpretations vary with different people. Each justice will read something new into a case. The part we skip, because we aren’t sitting on the bench, is the collection of all those other cases that the justice is also taking into consideration in making a decision.

    I am basically against amendments. They should be few and far between. 27 in over 200 years isn’t a lot.

  25. Scout

    Some folks here slept through high school civics (or perhaps just forgot). This case was a sure loser for the City of Hazelton, and anyone who knows their way around the Constitution knew it. (ditto Arizona’s “vote-for-me-I’ll-blow-in-your-anti-immigration-ear” S.1070). Constitutional Conservatives are more than happy to see these things get struck down. It’s a fair criticism that the federal pols have for decades made a hash of immigration policy (although the current administration is far more aggressive on the enforcement front than any of its predecessors) and that it needs fixing, but that doesn’t cause the Constituion to spontaneously alter itself and create powers for localities (or states) that never existed.

  26. Rick Bentley

    This needs to be in front of the Supreme Court.

    As does SB 1070.

    IMO the interpretation of the Constitution that gives citizenship to illegal immigrants’ children does too, it is a weird interpretation of a law intended to give freed slaves’ children and Native Americans citizenship and the ramifications have become real and severe.

  27. Not all native Americans got citizenship from the 14th amendment. I think they had to apply and actively seek it. Perhaps one of our attorneys can explain it. I am not even going to try.

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