March 12, 2007, - 12:45 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Today’s the start of an important battle between small city Hazleton, Pennsylvania versus the giant U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
As you saw on a recent episode of “60 Minutes,” Hazleton, led by Mayor Lou Barletta, is fighting to defend its laws that penalize business that hire or rent to illegal aliens. If big business is really against illegal aliens, they wouldn’t have a problem with the Hazleton laws. If big business was really “checking” prospective workers’ IDs and not hiring those they know to be illegal, the Chamber wouldn’t take on this fight.
But as we all know, big business is all for hiring illegal aliens. They’re not just for amnesty. They’re for their own personally imposed amnesty right now, in violation of the law.
So, the Chamber of Commerce has joined the ACLU in fighting Hazleton, using the absurd claim that the Hazleton ordinance is pre-empted by Federal law. Because we all know how effective The ICE Princess a/k/a Immigration and Customs Enforcement Chieftess Julie L. Myers has been in enforcing federal immigration law.
“We need to bring some stability into the system until we come up with a federal answer,” says Angelo Amador, Chamber director of immigration policy.
“If not, we’re going to end up with 50 state laws and a thousand local ordinances,” Amador adds. “A lot of people are copying what we think is a bad law.”
Huh? So long to local control and local sovereignty, a reason we fought the British to become more than just colonists. I guess the Chamber forgot that “All politics is local.”
And then, the Chamber and the ACLU are claiming the Hazleton ordinance violates due process of businesses. Huh? They have a right to challenge the allegations in court. And they will. They just don’t want to identify themselves in court as illegal alien employers and landlords in order to do so.
Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta, a former small-business owner, says he never expected to be on the opposite side from the Chamber.
“There’s nowhere in our ordinance that we regulate immigration. We punish businesses that hire illegal workers,” Barletta says. “I would rather stand on the side of the American workers than (with) businesses that break the law.”
Hazleton has been raising money for its legal bills in part by seeking donations on a special website.
As immigration legislation has languished in Congress, dozens of states have passed measures aimed at an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants. Barletta says more than 100 localities are considering imitating Hazleton’s law.
The Hazleton ordinance lets individuals lodge complaints if they suspect a business has an illegal worker. Firms that can’t verify an employee’s status have three days to fix the situation. If they don’t, the city can suspend the operating license. Workers who lose jobs at a business that had illegal immigrants on the payroll, under certain circumstances, can seek damages.
And that, my friends, is why the Chamber doesn’t like this. It will finally hurt them in their pocketbooks.
And Hazleton needs a lot of money to pay legal bills to defend itself and its laws in federal court. The city is raising funds and donations on a special website. I hope you’ll help proud, former small business owner and Mayor Barletta fight the well-funded U.S. Chamber of Commerce and ACLU.
Send checks to:
City of Hazleton Legal Defense Fund
c/o Mayor Lou Barletta
40 N. Church St.
Hazleton, PA 18201
Or donate online through “Small Town Defenders”.
*** RELATED: City of New Bedford, Mass. fights raided firm that hired illegals.
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