Court Decision Obstructs Local Effort to Control Illegal Immigration
Third Circuit in Lozano v. Hazelton: States Must Accept Federal Mismanagement of Immigration, Chaos and Financial Ruin
(September 9, 2010 — Washington, D.C.) - Dan Stein, President of The Federation for American Immigration Reform today issued the following statement:
“Today, through its decision in Lozano v. Hazelton, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court injunction of an ordinance enacted lawfully by the City of Hazelton in response to the growing drain of its resources by persons unlawfully residing in the United States. The ordinance sought to invoke the City’s business and rental licensing laws to ensure employers and landlords provided jobs and rental housing only to those authorized to be in the United States.
The court decision is a classic case study in why U.S. immigration is out of control. The Third Circuit held that material portions of the Hazelton ordinance were pre-empted by federal law – the same legal basis that the Department of Justice used as justification to stop Arizona SB 1070. However, unlike the Arizona District Court, which focused on the Federal Government’s unlimited discretion to not enforce our immigration laws, the Third Circuit in Hazelton found that: (1) Congress did not intend to tolerate local laws that “drastically increase burdens on employers,” and (2) despite a federal prohibition on harboring illegal aliens, local governments had no authority to regulate rental housing when the tenants are illegally in the United States.
When the federal government is unwilling to enforce immigration laws, cities need to be able to act by taking reasonable steps to protect their citizens from the social, financial, and criminal costs of illegal immigration. Claiming that immigration enforcement is solely a federal responsibility rings hollow with the public when the federal government refuses to meet that responsibility. We believe that there is a need, and strong legal precedence, for a collaborative model of immigration enforcement under which states and localities assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law.
The Third Circuit acknowledged that the Ninth Circuit and Eastern District Court of Missouri had both upheld laws similar to the one in Hazelton, but still chose to reject the analysis of both of those courts. Instead, the Third Circuit accepted a tried and true formula of the ACLU and its allies that immigration law is too complicated for states to do anything other than dole out services at taxpayer expense, regardless of residency. This line of argument allows the Federal Government to continue to mismanage immigration while sending the states into financial chaos and ruin.
Moreover, the Third Circuit’s decision in Lozano v. Hazelton utterly ignores the growing public angst over out-of-control and costly immigration. It fails to respect the legitimate public purposes behind the Hazelton ordinance and adopts uncritically the arguments of the business and ethnic lobbies while leaving the people of Hazelton and everyone else in the Third Circuit’s jurisdiction without any meaningful recourse. No wonder the American people are running out of patience.
Powerless to control the mounting fiscal and social burdens of illegal immigration in their own community, the citizens of Hazelton have no choice but to appeal this decision.