Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Hazleton Files to Dismiss Federal Lawsuit Challenging its Enforcement Laws Targeting Illegal Aliens
Hazleton defense attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit challenging the city's right to enforce laws targeting illegal immigrants. A 110-page supporting brief contends that Hazleton has the right to enforce the ordinances against landlords and employers renting to or hiring illegal immigrants under existing federal laws. Previous court decisions have held that local governments can enforce immigration ordinances through regulation of permits and fines. The motion also states the plaintiffs cannot prove the ordinances have directly caused them irreparable harm. A temporary restraining order is still in force blocking enforcement of the ordinances, which were first proposed by Mayor Lou Barletta in June. Several advocacy groups and private attorneys brought the suit, arguing the ordinances are unconstitutional and promote civil rights violations. They represent more than a dozen plaintiffs from Hazleton - several of whom are identified only as Jane and John Does - who say the ordinances have caused irreparable harm.