U.S. Rep. Barletta: Supreme Court opinion vindicates City of Hazleton's illegal immigration ordinance

May 26, 2011
Press Release


WASHINGTON– U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, PA-11, applauded the decision by the United States Supreme Court that upheld a Hazleton-style illegal immigration law.

The decision, which was handed down Thursday morning, supports Arizona’s “Legal Arizona Workers Act” – a law that was specifically modeled on the law Representative Barletta spearheaded when he was mayor of Hazleton in 2006. Both laws were drafted by one of the nation’s leading immigration law experts, Kris Kobach.

“Hazleton is vindicated. The law upheld by the United States Supreme Court is a dead ringer for the business portion of Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act. Both require businesses to use the federal E-Verify program to check the immigration status of their employees. Both punish businesses – not the illegal aliens – through actions taken against their permits and licenses. Both laws use the exact same language, and the Supreme Court decision explicitly cites whole sentences of both laws and upholds them,” Rep. Barletta said. “The business section of the Hazleton ordinance is completely vindicated, and the landlord section of the ordinance is greatly helped by Thursday’s opinion.

“This is a great day for the City of Hazleton and for all legal residents of the city,” Rep. Barletta added.

In his decision, Chief Justice John Roberts said the Arizona law takes “the route least likely to cause tension with federal law” because “it relies solely on the federal government’s own determination of who is an unauthorized alien, and it requires Arizona employers to use the federal government’s own system for checking employee status.”

“I have always said that we have the right to regulate business licenses and permits, and today, the United States Supreme Court agreed,” Rep. Barletta said.

Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was the first city in the country to pass local ordinances aimed at stemming the flow of illegal immigration and the draining of small-town budgets by illegal immigration. Those ordinances, passed in June 2006, paved the way for other municipalities and states to enact similar laws.