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Federal court weighs Pennsylvania city laws against illegal immigrants

[JURIST] The US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania [official website] heard opening statements Monday in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of two laws passed by the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania [official website; legal defense website] that make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to live or work in the town. Lozano v. City of Hazleton [case information, docket], which could take up to two weeks at trial, is reportedly the first case to address whether local governments can enact legislation to combat illegal immigration [JURIST news archive]. US District Judge James Munley [official profile] granted [JURIST report] a temporary restraining order [text, PDF] in November precluding enforcement of the Illegal Immigration Relief Act [text, PDF] and Landlord Tenant Ordinance [text, PDF] pending the outcome of the case.

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta [official website] says the laws passed in July are an appropriate response to illegal immigration, while numerous community groups, business owners, and advocacy groups including the Pennsylvania chapter [advocacy website] of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] and Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund [advocacy website; case materials] maintain that the measures are illegal. AP has more.

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