The Hazleton Rebellion

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 10, 2007 | Go to article overview

The Hazleton Rebellion


Byline: John Armor, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Local jurisdictions across the country, beginning in Hazleton, Pa., have decided they need to act to control crimes committed by illegal aliens in their towns. A variety of laws against illegals as tenants, against illegals as company employees, and in favor of English as the required language, have resulted.

The dimensions of the problem are clear. A recent Justice Department audit (reported in The Washington Times Jan. 9) revealed more than 70 percent of illegal aliens arrested in the U.S. had previously been arrested for five or more crimes. The crime problem is compounded when you add the financial costs of additional medical care, additional education and additional police and prisons, due to illegal aliens.

Everywhere local Hazleton-type laws have been proposed, or passed, the counterattack has come from the American Civil Liberties Union and its ally, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. They claim such laws are beyond the power of local government since immigration is solely a federal issue. They also say such laws discriminate, since most illegals are non-Caucasian and speak Spanish.

So far, the local or federal courts that have heard the cases have accepted one or the other of these arguments. Many local governments, like Arcadia, Wis., have backed down after being threatened with litigation and its costs. But with the help of legal charities, Hazleton intends to see the case through to the Supreme Court.

Based on published sources and contact from people from various states, I estimate upward of 1,000 local governments stand ready to enact such legislation if and when the Hazleton ordinances are upheld in the Supreme Court, as they should be.

Actions concerning the health, safety and welfare of a town's citizens, including provisions about where people can work and do business have been part of the power of a "municipal corporation" since the late Middle-Ages. This is not new.

These local ordinances do not usurp federal powers they all take federal law and the applicable facts as a given. None change in any way the federal definition of who is, or is not, an illegal alien.

As for the claim of discrimination, it is the personal choices of non-Caucasian Hispanics from Mexico, rather than Caucasian English-speakers (mostly) from Canada, to come across largely undefended U. …

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