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Justices call for review of city’s law on immigration

By Michael Rubinkam
Associated Press / June 7, 2011

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ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A Pennsylvania city will get another chance to defend its never-enforced illegal immigration law after the Supreme Court ordered a federal appeals court to reconsider the case yesterday.

Citing their recent decision upholding an Arizona employer-sanctions law, the justices threw out a ruling by the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals that prevented the city of Hazleton from enforcing regulations that would deny permits to businesses that hire illegal immigrants and fine landlords who rent to them.

Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act inspired similar laws around the country, including the one in Arizona.

Both measures were authored by the same scholar, Kris Kobach, currently Kansas’s secretary of state.

“This is a great day for all of those cities and states, and for the people of Hazleton who had to endure criticism from those who opposed what we were trying to do because the federal government did not want to do its job,’’ said Representative Lou Barletta, Hazleton’s former mayor, who pushed through the measures in 2006.

Hazleton, a northeastern Pennsylvania city of about 25,000, also wants prospective tenants to register with City Hall and pay for a rental permit.

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