Judicial Watch • Judicial Watch Files Brief in Support of Hazleton, Pennsylvania’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policies

Judicial Watch Files Brief in Support of Hazleton, Pennsylvania’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policies

Judicial Watch Files Brief in Support of Hazleton, Pennsylvania’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policies

MARCH 06, 2007

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in support of two ordinances enforced by the City of Hazleton relating to the employment and harboring of illegal aliens (Pedro Lozano, et al., v. City of Hazleton, Cause No. 3:06cv1586). The plaintiffs, who include unnamed illegal immigrants, are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Puerto Rican Defense Fund, among others.

"…The City of Hazleton has found it both reasonable and necessary for the public health and welfare to exercise its police power by enacting [these ordinances]," Judicial Watch noted in its brief, filed on Monday, March 5. "The subject matter regulated – the employment and harboring of persons ‘not entitled to lawful residence in the United States, let alone to work here – is certainly within the mainstream of [the City of Hazleton’s] police power…’"

The pertinent sections of Hazleton’s Ordinance 2006-13, otherwise known as the Rental Registration Ordinance, require a person desiring to rent a dwelling unit in the City of Hazleton to submit an application for and obtain an occupancy permit. (To obtain such a permit, an applicant must provide "proper identification showing proof of legal citizenship and/or residency.") Ordinance 2006-18, otherwise known as the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, prohibits any business entity in the City of Hazleton that holds a business permit from employing an illegal alien. This ordinance also prohibits any person or business entity who owns a dwelling unit in the City of Hazleton from harboring an illegal alien in that unit.

Judicial Watch argues in its brief that the City of Hazleton’s ordinances are consistent with federal law, and, in fact, assist in achieving the same goals and objectives articulated by Congress in enacting federal immigration laws.

"The purpose of federal immigration laws is to keep illegal aliens from coming here and staying here. This includes prohibiting businesses and individuals from illegally employing and harboring illegal aliens," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The ordinances enacted by the City of Hazleton are in complete harmony with federal laws and the intent of Congress. The ACLU and other special interest groups are dead wrong on this issue."

Judicial Watch’s amicus curiae brief is part of a larger campaign to help enforce our nation’s immigration laws. For example, Judicial Watch has ongoing litigation against taxpayer-funded day laborer sites that illegally assist illegal aliens with finding employment, and so-called "sanctuary policies" that prohibit police officers from enforcing federal immigration laws and cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

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