PA Town’s Anti-Alien Law Encouraging Latinos To Leave


Nearly four months have passed since the Hazleton, Pa., City Council approved a law designed to make the city, in Mayor Louis J. Barletta’s words, “one of the toughest cities in America for illegal aliens.” Although the ordinance has not taken effect, it has had its desired result: Barletta guesses that as many as 5,000 Latinos may have left town, reports the Los Angeles Times. “The drug dealers are starting to leave town,” said a longtime resident. The street is “better empty than full of drug dealers and murderers and thieves.”

Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act would impose penalties on landlords or employers who allow undocumented immigrants to live or work in the city. More than 30 cities and towns have considered or passed ordinances based on Hazleton’s. Most are waiting to see whether the law withstands court challenges arguing that local governments have no right to regulate immigration. In Hazleton, Police Chief Robert Ferdinand worried that “as crime continued to increase and violent criminal activity continued to increase, the remaining decent people would leave the city and leave it to the criminal element.”


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