Protect and Defend

Welcome to my blog, Protect and Defend. You don’t have to understand me. You only have to agree with me. I can live with losing the good fight, but I can not live with not fighting that good fight at all. - Publius

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pa. city poised for immigration crackdown

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press WriterMon Jun 19, 2:24 PM ET

With tensions rising and the police department and municipal budget stretched thin, Hazleton is about to embark on one of the toughest crackdowns on illegal immigrants anywhere in the United States.
Last week the mayor of this former coal town introduced, and the City Council tentatively approved, a measure that would revoke the business licenses of companies that employ illegal immigrants; impose $1,000 fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants; and make English the official language of the city.
"Illegal immigrants are destroying the city," said Mayor Lou Barletta, a Republican. "I don't want them here, period."
Barletta said he had no choice but to act after two illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic were charged last month with shooting and killing a 29-year-old man. Other recent incidents involving illegal immigrants have rattled this city 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia, including the arrest of a 14-year-old boy for firing a gun at a playground.
"This is crazy," the mayor said. "People are afraid to walk the streets. There's going to be law and order back in Hazleton, and I'm going to use every tool I possibly can."
The City Council, which approved the measure in a 4-1 vote, must vote on it twice more before it can become law. The next vote is scheduled for mid-July.
When Barletta took office in 2000, Hispanics represented about 5 percent of the city's population of 23,000. The population has since shot up to 31,000, with Hispanics now representing 30 percent, lured to Hazleton by cheap housing, a lower cost of living and jobs in nearby plants, factories and farms.
City officials do not know how many of the new arrivals are in the United States illegally, but say they are fueling the drug trade, joining gangs and committing other crimes.
Municipal officials around the nation, frustrated at what they perceive as the federal government's inability to stem illegal immigration, have increasingly taken matters into their own hands.
In San Bernardino, Calif., voters will decide whether to adopt a measure nearly identical to the one in Hazleton. An Idaho county filed a racketeering lawsuit against agricultural companies accused of hiring illegal immigrants. In New Hampshire, a pair of police chiefs began arresting illegal immigrants for trespassing…
Whites in Hazleton seem to overwhelmingly favor the proposed crackdown. Barletta's office has been flooded with hundreds of approving e-mails and phone calls — from as far as California and Florida — and he got a standing ovation when he walked into a Hazleton diner for lunch.
"It's about time," said Francis X. Tucci, 57, who was born and raised in Hazleton and owns a hair salon in the heart of the Hispanic business district. "We were a nice community. You find bad everywhere, I understand that, but we're talking about here and now."
Some Hispanics approve of the measure, saying they are fed up with crime and graffiti. "If I was mayor, I wouldn't let anyone in who had a criminal record," said Rafael Rovira, 69, a naturalized American citizen from the Dominican Republic…
Jose Lechuga, 42, came to the United States illegally in 1982, received amnesty in 1986 and now operates a grocery store and restaurant in Hazleton. He said the mayor is "confusing illegal people with criminals."


Blogger The Plumber said...

With Murtha and Specter, I'd given up hope for Pennsylvania.

I smell the fresh ink of the lawsuits being penned by the ACLU already.

Tue Jun 20, 02:02:00 AM  
Blogger Truth-Pain said...

Just goes to show that while the immigration battle seems to have lost its appeal to the national media outlets,.. it is in full bloom at the local level, where all politics are relevant. The only reason that guy (forget his name) won the open Congressional seat in California was that he kept hammering away at the illegal immigration issue. THAT was the difference maker.

Tue Jun 20, 08:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be interested to see how things shake out in this one. If it works well, then you may have a real, workable plan to get what you want. I know there is a sheriff in Ohio who is doing something similar to this...can't remember where I saw that article, sorry. Do you think the population reduction will help or hurt the local economy?

Tue Jun 20, 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

Anon, I think you mean Sherriff Arpiao (?) in Arizona right outside of Phoenix who is using anti-smuggling laws to arrest illegals.

Tue Jun 20, 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Any time an issue nearly disappears from the MSM and I still hear locals discussing that issue, I think, "Hmmmm...People have their own minds after all."

Yesterday I called a maid-service here. I out and out asked, "Are your workers legal immigrants? I want to see the proof!"

The fellow on the phone--Jesus--said that he gets that question all the time. Because these workers are legit, the rates are a bit higher, but not outrageous. I can't afford the rates at the moment, but I'll be saving up.

Crack down on the employers as a first line of enforcing immigration laws already on the books.

Tue Jun 20, 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I'm well aware of ARpiao in AZ. While, again, I disagree with him on this one, I am a bit of a fan. ANy sheriff that makes felons wear pink jumpsuits in jail and feeds 'em pb and j gets a gold star in my book. This other guy is in Ohio, I'll try to find the link later today and put it up here. I think this battle is going to end up being handled on a local level all over, as W doesn't seem to know what he wants to do anymore. AOW, you spoke to Jesus? Ask him why he isn't returning my calls!

Wed Jun 21, 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger quakerdave said...

Fear not, as Pennsylvania still has Man-Dog Santorum on its roster.

Yup, that damed ACLU. Satan incarnate, that lot.

AOW: Do you ask EVERY contractor you call that question? Or just the one that will supply you with "domestics"? Do you ask that when you enter a restaurant? Or when you're in the emergency room, awaiting treatment? At the local Wal-Mart?

I'm NOT being snotty here (for a change): I'm dead serious.

I think the mayor of Hazelton should just get the Minutemen to build a fence around his little town. That seems to be THE best answer to this problem in most people's minds. I'm sure that no 14 year old native-born white kid has ever fired a weapon illegally in his town, or in anyone else's, either, for example, before all those illegal humans showed up. And graffitti? Gangs? No such things anyplace else, for sure.

Wed Jun 21, 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

QD, but you miss the point here. He is not saying that the police are not also going after gang members who are citizens as well, and in fact Barletta is not even going after illegals, only businesses that break the law by hiring people who are here illegally, and landlords that allow illegal immigrants to rent a house or apartment while being here illegally.
Mayor Lou Barletta was on Lou Dobbs tonight and what he said was that any gang members in Hazleton will be arrested and those who are here illegally will be arrested and then given over to INS.

What this town is doing is simply enforcing federal laws because the federal government is not. How is there anything wrong with enforcing the laws?

Wed Jun 21, 08:14:00 PM  

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