Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Third Circuit Court of Appeals re-hearing Hazleton Pennsylvania immigration case

An article in the Legal Intelligencer, Monday morning, gives notice of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' "re-examining the City of Hazleton's controversial immigration ordinance in a hearing set for today that could be the first court in the nation to reconcile the U.S. Supreme Court's two most recent pronouncements on state and local attempts to regulate the flow of persons into the United States.

"Hazleton, Pennsylvania's ordinance, which bars landlords and employers from renting to or hiring illegal immigrants, is set to be eyed by the federal appeals court in light of the justices' 2011 opinion in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting with its 2012 opinion in Arizona v. United States , both of which involved state legislation regarding illegal aliens.

"The case challenging Hazleton's ordinances is on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, which vacated the Third Circuit's 2010 holding when it decided Whiting. Since then, the high court has ruled in Arizona... "

The Legal Intelligencer's article summarizes that the upcoming decision "could be the first to reconcile the U.S. Supreme Court's two opinions, answering questions that the high court left open, according to Peter J. Spiro, a professor who teaches immigration law at Temple University. The Third Circuit took two years from when it first heard arguments to issue its initial opinion in Lozano v. City of Hazleton.

"The first of its kind in the country, Hazleton's ordinance was passed in 2006 during the tenure of then-Mayor Lou Barletta, who is now a congressman representing Pennsylvania's 11th District. It has not yet been enforced since U.S. District Judge James M. Munley of the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted an injunction in 2007 that was later upheld by the Third Circuit."

"At issue in the instant case," the District Court's decision said, "are 'IIRA', as amended by Ordinance 2006-40 and Ordinance 2007-6 , and 'RO'. IIRA defines 'illegal alien' as an 'alien who is not, lawfully present in the United States, according to the terms of United States Code Title 8, section 1101 et seq.' (IIRA § 3.D.). Title 8, section 1101, et seq. is commonly referred to as the Immigration and Nationality Act or 'INA'. The INA provides no definition for the term 'illegal alien' or the term 'lawfully present.' (N.T. 3/19/07 at 130)." [[Pennsylvania's ACLU had the pertinent ordinances posted on their website here ]].

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