Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hazleton Ruling "Bizarre"

Espresso Pundit scooped me while I tried to spend a few days making a living. But he missed a few interesting aspects of the issue. For one, the ACLU took the case for several illegal aliens living in Hazleton who represent a growing population of illegal aliens in the area estimated to number in the thousands or about 1 of every 10 in the city. The city has been funding their defense with donations, not taxpayer money.

The U.S. District judge, Munley, is a Clinton appointee. Here are some of his statements from Reuters: "Even if federal law did not conflict with Hazleton's measures, the city could not enact an ordinance that violates rights the Constitution guarantees to every person in the United States, whether legal resident or not." And from International Herald Tribune: Hazleton's law was at odds with current federal immigration policy, which he said avoids excessive enforcement against illegal immigrants so as not to jeopardize foreign relations. Hazleton, he said, failed to consider "the implications of the ordinances on foreign policy."

Mayor Barlett called the decision "bizarre," and Kris Kobach from the city's legal team complained about the judge allowing 10 illegal aliens to file anonymous depositions instead of testifying, a right not even granted to U.S. citizens. Kobach also took issue with the judge's position that people are not illegal unless a federal immigration judge rules that they are.

Considering this law was held up by an injunction a year ago and the injunction had no impact on other states or cities passing such laws, and the unusual bases for this judge's ruling, it's hard to see this ruling having much of an impact on similar laws passed elsewhere.

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