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Archive for Friday, July 14, 2006

Small city passes law against illegal immigrants

July 14, 2006

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— The City Council approved a law Thursday night designed to make this small city in northeastern Pennsylvania among the most hostile places in the U.S. for illegal immigrants to live or work.

The 4-to-1 vote came after nearly two hours of passionate debate. Opponents argued it was divisive and possibly illegal, but supporters argued illegal immigrants' growing numbers have damaged the quality of life here.

"We must draw the line, and we are doing it tonight," Mayor Lou Barletta told a packed council chambers.

Barletta proposed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act last month as a response to what he said were Hazleton's problems with violent crime, crowded schools, hospital costs and the demand for services.

The ordinance would deny licenses to businesses that employ illegal immigrants, fine landlords $1,000 for each illegal immigrant discovered renting their properties and require city documents to be in English only.

The number of Hispanic residents in Hazleton, a former coal-mining town, has increased dramatically in the past six years.

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