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Officers Lack Training to Enforce Ordinance, Police Chief Lacks Statistics

Sara Mullen,
ACLU of Pennsylvania
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March 20, 2007

The testimony in the suit against Hazleton’s illegal immigration ordinance continued Friday. Two Code Enforcement Officers, who are charged with investigating violations of the ordinance, both testified that they wouldn’t know how to determine whether complaints against illegal immigrants were valid, and that they had no training on enforcement of the ordinance or in verifying documents used to confirm the legal residency of individuals. One officer said he had never seen most of the documents the federal government uses in determining legal residency, and the other has not read the ordinance he would be responsible to enforce.

Sam Monticello, the city’s Director of Administration and Director of Community Development, who prepares a budget and keep tabs on city revenue, testified that his most recent budget narrative had no information regarding the expenses incurred by illegal aliens, which conflicted with Mayor Barletta’s statement “If we do not control illegal immigration, we will be bankrupt soon.”

Monday, two academics George Borjas, an econ and social policy professor from Harvard, and Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor from Cornell testified for the defense and plaintiffs, respectively. The day ended with testimony from Robert Ferdinand, Hazleton’s Police Chief, who believes there are illegal aliens in Hazleton, but doesn’t know how many. Ferdinand have a lot of inconclusive answers to the question of the amount of crime actually committed by illegal immigrants, and how many convictions, if any, resulted from arrests.