News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Friday, July 27, 2007

Scranton, PA law struck down

As predicted in this blog, most of the anti-immigrant laws being passed by local governments are so emotionally-charged and punitive they will not hold up in court. Here is what Washington Post Staff Writer Darryl Fears had to say in an article on Friday, July 27, 2007:

In a strongly worded opinion handed down at the U.S. District Court in Scranton, Pa., Judge James M. Munley ruled that federal law "prohibits Hazleton from enforcing any of the provisions of its ordinances," which impose a $1,000-per-day fine on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants, revoke the business license of any employer who hires them, declare English as the official language and bar city employees from translating documents to another language without approval.
To date, over 100 similar laws have been passed. Like the Scranton legislation, most will be repealed by federal judges. Despite claims to the contrary by those who propose these laws, all this kind of legislation accomplishes is to unearth the vein of bigotry that lies beneath the surface in many communities. The people behind these laws heap a myriad of accusations against the immigrants in their communities. In almost every case, these broad indictments are not supported by any evidence. Constitutionally-sound local laws are on the books against all the alleged crimes of illegal immigrants. Why not simply enforce those laws?

It's hard not to see these laws for what they really are: an attempt to institutionalize bigotry.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez