Thursday, September 9, 2010

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Down Hazelton Law

The U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Third Circuit today struck down a law from Hazelton, Pennsylvania that attempted to crack down on those who did business with undocumented aliens. The law imposed sanctions against landlords who rented to known undocumented aliens, and to deny business licenses to business that hired illegal immigrants.

The Third Circuit held that this was an intrusion into the power of the Federal Government to regulate immigration. In response to the decision, the Mayor of Hazelton vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Our Government is one of divided powers. The state and local governments have their domains, and the Federal Government has its own. The Constitution squarely gives the Federal Government the power to regulate immigration and nationality. Indeed, the Federal Government has a comprehensive body of law regulating the employment of aliens.

Given this broad constitutional power, and the comprehensive legal scheme that the Government has adopted to regulate employment of aliens, the Third Circuit's decision is correct. State and local government simply cannot adopt their own set of immigration laws.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Asylum Granted Based on Inter-Faith Marriage

On September 1, 2010, Immigration Judge Paul Schmidt of the Arlington Immigration Court granted asylum to a woman from Nepal who entered into an inter-faith marriage. The woman was raised a Hindu, and her family had arranged a marriage with a Hindu man. Before the marriage occurred, the woman came to the United States, met a Muslim, fell in love, married him, and converted to Islam.

The woman offered evidence that her father had threatened her life for marrying a Muslim. She demonstrated that her father was a violent man, who had beaten her, her mother and her sister in the past. The father had gone so far as to arrange for a fraudulent marriage certificate. State Department Human Rights Reports on Nepal indicated that the police tend not to take domestic violence in Nepal seriously.

Based on this evidence, Judge Schmidt found that the woman showed a fear of persecution based on her religion, and that the Nepali Government was unwilling to protect her.

A redacted copy of the decision can be found here.