A federal judge has restrained Hazleton, Pa., from enforcing two controversial local laws designed to keep illegal immigrants out of town, reports to the city’s Standard-Speaker. The ruling on both the Illegal Immigration Relief Act and the Landlords Tenant Registration Act came Tuesday night, a day before the city prepared to begin registering renters.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that many Hispanics – illegal or otherwise – have already left the city. That has hobbled Hazleton’s Hispanic business district, where some shops have closed and others are struggling to stay open. The ordinance, approved by the City Council in September, imposes fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and denies business permits to companies that give them jobs. The law empowers the city to investigate written complaints about a person’s immigration status, using a federal database.