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.

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