The case brought against Hazleton, Pennsylvania for its Illegal Immigration Relief Act - which fines landlords and yanks business licenses of those who rent to and hire illegal aliens - opened on day 4 and the underlying question on whether the ordinance is constitutional hadn't yet been addressed. We eagerly awaited the witnesses today and whether the actual point of the case would be brought up.
The trial, Lozano v. City of Hazleton, is being held in Scranton, Pennsylvania in the William J. Nealon Federal Building and US District Judge James Munley is on the bench. Judge Munley placed an injunction on enforcement of the ordinance back in October, 2006 soon after it passed until the case could be resolved.
The day began with ACLU attorney Witold "Vic" Walczak calling an "expert" witness on immigration, Marc Rosenblum, associate professor of political science at University of New Orleans.
University of New Orleans
Who is Marc Rosenblum and why is he an "expert on immigration"? I decided to do some digging.
Marc Rosenblum was a visiting fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in the fall of 2005. What is the Migration Policy Institute? They state as one of their goals as "A new migration relationship between the United States and Mexico that reduces undocumented migration by combining higher levels of legal, permanent immigration with well-designed programs for temporary work that protect the labor and social rights of temporary workers and the domestic labor force." So basically their solution is increased immigration and a guest worker program.
The Migration Policy Institute is funded by the likes of the Ford Foundation
and Ford Foundation (Office for Mexico and Central America), which are contributors to MALDEF
and the Manhattan Institute
which has Tamar Jacoby
as a Senior Fellow. Tamar Jacoby is highly in favor of amnesty and actually is quoted as saying that it is good that illegal aliens are displacing American workers
Marc Rosenblum was also a counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) - a leading proponent of amnesty for illegal aliens - during the Senate’s immigration debate in spring, 2006 and Rosenblum helped draft last year's Senate immigration bill which favored amnesty.
So I would call Marc Rosenblum a proponent of illegal immigration and in favor of amnesty rather than an "expert on immigration".
Vic Walczak, ACLU
Under questioning Rosenblum stated that implementation of the Illegal Immigration Relief Act would cause discrimination against Hispanics in communities because employers and landlords would use the "eyeball test"
. He claimed that they would simply refuse to hire all immigrants in fear of losing their business licenses and/or facing fines.
Regarding the 1986 amnesty for illegal aliens Rosenblum made the following claim. “Employers worried about penalties so they used shortcuts. If you looked or sounded Latino you were more likely undocumented so they stopped hiring them,”. He also claims that back then employers feared being sanctioned for hiring illegal aliens. Obviously that wasn't the case because now we have millions of more illegal aliens in this country than we had back in 1986 and they seem to be getting hired by employers fine. So I'd call this point by Rosenblum totally incorrect.
Rosenblum also stated that implementation of the ordinance would slow hiring and the economy in America.
Kris Kobach, Hazleton
Hazleton attorney Kris Kobach
pointed out that employers can use the Basic Pilot Program
to verify an employee's legal status. Rosenblum said that there are too many flaws in the Basic Pilot Program for it to be reliable and that employers won't even get that far because they will be racist and just use the "eyeball test" when they see prospective employees.
"If you look or sound Latino, you'd be scrutinized more," he said, though he admitted on cross-examination to never specifically studying what the effects would be in Hazleton.
Rosenblum also pointed out that the Hazleton ordinance is more stringent than the federal laws regarding Basic Pilot, only giving employers 3 days to submit employee information when a complaint is filed rather than the federal systems 8 days.
Kobach did pin Rosenblum down by asking him straight out if the Basic Pilot Program was a good defense against fraudulent ID's to which Rosenblum conceded that it was.
They both agreed that the Basic Pilot Program had flaws, but Kobach did note that the federal government has been fixing them and improving the system. The system has been improved from 90% effectiveness to 93%. The other false positives go through an actual manual check by government workers, which can take a day to two weeks. Kobach also pointed to studies that found the Basic Pilot Program actually decreases discrimination by employers.
Kobach also got Rosenblum to admit that most of his "expert testimony" was speculative.
Mayor Lou Barletta
Mayor Lou Barletta
was called to the stand and questioned by Hazleton lead attorney Henry "Hank" Mahoney
on the reasoning for the ordinance.
Barletta pointed out the increase in crime in the area stating that violent crime had increased 60 percent between 2003 and 2006 both sending fear through the residents in the community and driving businesses out. He started looking to implement an ordinance last spring when a series of crimes committed by illegal aliens occurred. Crimes included murder, drug dealing and putting kids at risk by shooting BB guns at a playground.
Mayor Barletta said the community came forward and demanded that he do something.
"I understand those who say the federal government is in charge of regulating immigration," Barletta said. "However, these crimes are being committed on our streets."
During cross examination Vic Walczak pointed out to Barletta that statistics provided by Hazleton police show that less than one percent of more than 8,000 crimes in the city were committed by illegal aliens between 2001 and 2006.
Now this is a false statistic. Under federal law - pushed through by groups like the ACLU - you cannot ask an inmate if they are illegally in the country unless you are an immigration agent. Hazleton also does not participate in the Department of Homeland Security's 287(g) program which is used to screen local inmates for their immigration status. In Orange County, California they saw a 63% increase in the numbers of illegal aliens detected in their prison system when they joined the program. Since Hazleton is not using this program, the "less than one percent" figure is not a real statistic. Maybe if they joined the federal program they'd see a 63% increase and they'd find that the percentage of illegal aliens apprehended is quite a large number.
Mayor Lou Barletta and Attorney Kris Kobach
answer questions after day 4 testimony
At the end of day 4 I still don't see how any of this is relevant to the constitutionality of the ordinance. The only thing that came remotely close was only a speculation by Marc Rosenblum that employers may discriminate against hiring Latino's, but it's just tha,t speculation
Obviously the ACLU, a well funded organization, is going to draw this trial out for as long as they can because they can afford to. Hazleton on the other hand has gone through half of their legal defense fund on defending the Act which means they do not have time on their side.
I believe that Judge Munley, a Clinton appointee, is in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens. He is letting all of this irrelevant babble, that could be done in a single day, draw out for as long as possible. None of it is relative to the constitutionality of the Act and is being used by the ACLU and the other complaintants to put on a show about how nice, friendly and hard working illegal aliens are and how evil and racist the city of Hazleton is for trying to get rid of them. And through Hazleton they are pointing at all of us in this country who oppose illegal immigration.
Be sure to check out the recap of the other days of coverage in my Hazleton Archive
Hazleton needs funding. You can donate to their legal defense fund at Small Town Defenders. Their case could set the stage for reduced illegal immigration throughout this country, so donate today!
Hazleton Standard Speaker: 1; AP: 1; Times-Tribune: 1 ; University of New Orleans: 1; Manhattan Institute 1; Migration Policy Institute: 1