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NYTimes: Hazleton Ordinance Was a "Legal and Moral Dead End"

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July 30, 2007

The New York Times editorialized on last week’s Hazleton decision, calling the town’s anti-immigrant ordinance a “legal and moral dead end.” The editorial continues:

As long as people like [Hazleton Mayor] Barletta persist in misusing the law to serve their prejudices, they will make the immigration system an ever more incoherent muddle. They will thwart reasonable efforts to grapple with the opportunities and problems borne in with the influx of newcomers. And they will continue to dehumanize not only their victims, but themselves.

Also of note in the post-Hazleton decision round-up: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader applauded the ruling, calling it “the proper decision.” The Chicago Tribune opined: “Illegal immigration is a national problem that requires a national solution. That’s why the patchwork approach attempted by Hazleton, Carpentersville and others is doomed to fail.” Albor Ruiz of the New York Daily News called the ordinance “draconian,” and wrote the decision was a “hopeful sign, despite the current climate of unmitigated hostility toward immigrants and their families.” Finally, from the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Congress has the responsibility of crafting immigration law. It didn’t need a court to tell it that.”

In towns across the country with laws similar to Hazleton’s, legislators are reconsidering whether it’s worth the court fight to enforce their local measures. In Escondido, Calif., the city council is now split on whether to revive the law that was tabled last year. In smaller towns surrounding Hazleton, such laws have been put on the backburner.

Two side notes: Could Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta be using his crusade against immigrants as a springboard for great political aspirations? Pennsylvania papers The Morning Call and the Times-Tribune both point out that Barletta is pondering a run for a Congressional seat. (Since when has divisiveness and intolerance hit home with Pennsylvania voters?) And the Standard Speaker delves into the financing of the town’s legal team.