- The Washington Times - Friday, March 9, 2007

Local jurisdictions across the country, beginning in Hazleton, Pa., have decided they need to act to control crimes committed by illegal aliens in their towns. A variety of laws against illegals as tenants, against illegals as company employees, and in favor of English as the required language, have resulted.

The dimensions of the problem are clear. A recent Justice Department audit (reported in The Washington Times Jan. 9) revealed more than 70 percent of illegal aliens arrested in the U.S. had previously been arrested for five or more crimes. The crime problem is compounded when you add the financial costs of additional medical care, additional education and additional police and prisons, due to illegal aliens.

Everywhere local Hazleton-type laws have been proposed, or passed, the counterattack has come from the American Civil Liberties Union and its ally, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. They claim such laws are beyond the power of local government since immigration is solely a federal issue. They also say such laws discriminate, since most illegals are non-Caucasian and speak Spanish.

So far, the local or federal courts that have heard the cases have accepted one or the other of these arguments. Many local governments, like Arcadia, Wis., have backed down after being threatened with litigation and its costs. But with the help of legal charities, Hazleton intends to see the case through to the Supreme Court.

Based on published sources and contact from people from various states, I estimate upward of 1,000 local governments stand ready to enact such legislation — if and when the Hazleton ordinances are upheld in the Supreme Court, as they should be.

Actions concerning the health, safety and welfare of a town’s citizens, including provisions about where people can work and do business have been part of the power of a “municipal corporation” since the late Middle-Ages. This is not new.

These local ordinances do not usurp federal powers — they all take federal law and the applicable facts as a given. None change in any way the federal definition of who is, or is not, an illegal alien.

As for the claim of discrimination, it is the personal choices of non-Caucasian Hispanics from Mexico, rather than Caucasian English-speakers (mostly) from Canada, to come across largely undefended U.S. borders and wind up in Hazleton and other towns across America. The Supreme Court has ruled in several cases that statistical inequalities based on individual personal choices do not amount to discrimination.

There will then be a direct contrast between the crime rates and expenses in Hazleton-type communities and the “sanctuary cities” like Los Angeles. LA has enacted Special Order 40, which forbids its police officers from enforcing immigration laws or even asking suspects about their immigration status.

The contrast between these two types of communities — between the results of the laws they choose to pass or not pass — should force the national issue. At long last, even Congress will be compelled to act to gain control of U.S. borders.

The contrasting approaches to the problems of illegal immigration are beginning to rise above the level of local government. Legislation similar to the Hazleton ordinances has been introduced in both the Georgia and California legislatures. They may pass in Georgia. They will almost certainly be defeated in the California legislature — though passage by initiative may be possible.

The key, however, is what happens in subsequent court reviews. And that will depend on the Hazleton decision.

Shays Rebellion in 1786 was a citizen uprising that brought about justice for unpaid veterans of the American Revolution. The Hazleton Rebellion of 2007 is a citizen uprising which can bring about justice for all citizens of the United States.

Note: This is a fast-breaking story, best followed on the Internet. Anyone interested in its development should use any search engine for combinations of “alien” with “crime,” “death,” “welfare,” “education,” “medical care,” etc., to find the latest stories. These will usually be local stories, since the national media have not caught up to this aspect of the subject. Don’t bother to search for “illegal aliens” since that phrase, though accurate, is seldom used: It is not politically correct.

John Armor has filed 18 briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, and has been legal counsel to the American Civil Rights Union since 1998.

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