- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

The people of Hazleton, Pa., are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore. Massachusetts, meanwhile, is in an Alabama state of mind, and Floridians and Californians are in the same frame, using state and local law enforcers to crack down on illegal aliens (or the undocumented, as the liberals like to call them). Red-blooded Americans didn’t run from the British, and they ain’t running away from illegal aliens.

The mayor of Hazleton, Lou Barletta, says illegal aliens are “destroying” his city, participating in the types of crime, such as gang violence and drugs, that big cities like Atlanta, Washington and Los Angeles wrestle with day in and out, except Hazleton isn’t a big city.

The city of 35,700, located 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia, is a “quaint place of row houses and frame homes,” a colleague who visited there several years ago told me the other day. At least that was the picture back then. These days, Hazleton’s mayor says, “people are afraid to walk the streets,” and he vows to restore law and order.

And you can’t blame him. A 14-year-old boy is suspected of shooting a gun on a playground. Two illegals are suspected of fatally shooting another man. Says Mr. Barletta, “I don’t want them here, period.” The mayor’s comments punctuate legislative efforts by the city council to crack down not just on illegals but on the businesses that employ them and the landlords that house them.

What’s the draw of the illegals? The two aspects of the economy that have turned the American dream into Americans’ nightmare: cheap labor and cheap housing. Jobs and housing Americans are losing.

If the folks of Hazleton keep their spines stiff, the mayor and council will give final approval later this summer to legislation that would revoke the licenses of businesses that hire illegals and fine the landlords of illegals $1,000. And to top it off, the legislation also would make English Hazleton’s official language.

There are examples in other localities and states of such crackdowns. Massachusetts wants its state troopers to be granted the authority to arrest undocumented aliens. As things now stand, non-federal law enforcers can’t arrest illegals for being, well, illegal. Non-federal law enforcers have to wait for illegals to commit another crime, murder, rape, perhaps even a bombing, before they can say, “Hey, brother, show me your papers.” Amnesty-rights folks are throwing hissy fits, of course, concerned about racial profiling. But that’s ridiculous. Illegal aliens, like terrorists, come in all shapes and shades. (Don’t let the bigots persuade you into thinking that all the bad guys are either Muslim or Mexican.)

While there no longer are Paul Reveres to warn us “The regulars are coming,” there are local and state law enforcers who, during the course of their regular patrols and ordinary business, discern whether the documents presented by an “immigrant” look legitimate or not. After all, every time the police stop us we have to prove who we are, don’t we?

Whether Congress and a certain someone who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW are paying attention is an altogether different “Minute Ride.” Americans have said in poll after poll that they want to stem the tide of illegals, come down hard on employers who hire illegals and round up illegals and ship them back to wherever they came from. And now Americans in Massachusetts, Alabama, Florida, Hazleton and other jurisdictions are shouting in city halls and statehouses.

Congress, meanwhile, wants to take its own live show on the road, holding “field hearings” so congressmen can lend their ears to the cracker-barrel crowds. But know what? States and localities are simply doing what Congress first authorized them to do in 1996 — that is, enter into an agreement that greatly expands the powers of state and local law enforcers regarding immigration law.

No need to fret about ethnic or racial profiling. I’m sure the feds will tell the cops that if they pull over 10 Pancho Villa look-alikes, that they had better question 10 guys who look like Osama bin Laden and 10 chicks who look like Jennifer Lopez. Well, on second thought, scratch the J. Lo comparison; there probably aren’t that many gals in Every City USA who look like her.

The point is, the alien invasion is bearing down on America and Americans around the country are taking action into their own hands while politicians inside the Beltway sit on their thumbs. That, my dear readers, is the American way.

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