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Federal judge extends block on Pennsylvania city laws on illegal immigrants

[JURIST] US District Judge James Munley Monday extended a temporary restraining order [PDF text] blocking enforcement [JURIST report] of two Hazleton, Pennsylvania [official website] immigration laws for 120 days so that both sides can prepare for trial on their validity. The temporary restraining order was initially set to expire on November 14. Munley said that he would prefer that the trial commence within 90 days. The city's Illegal Immigration Relief Act [PDF text] and Landlord Tenant Ordinance [PDF text], adopted earlier this year and later revised in anticipation of challenge, were designed to make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to live or work in Hazleton. Under the new laws, landlords would be fined for renting housing to undocumented immigrants, and tenants would be required to register with the city and to purchase a rental permit; businesses hiring undocumented immigrants would be denied business permits.

Last week a coalition of community groups, business owners, and advocacy groups including the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund [advocacy websites] filed an amended complaint [PDF text; press release] seeking the restraining order [motion, PDF; JURIST report]. The city claims the laws are necessary to protect legal residents from crime. AP has more.

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