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Supreme Court Declines To Hear Case Involving Pa. City Ordinance That Barred Undocumented Immigrants From Renting Homes

(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case out of Hazelton, Pennsylvania involving a city ordinance that barred undocumented immigrants from renting homes in Luzerne County (See Previous Story).

As KYW Community Affairs reporter Cherri Gregg tells us, the case is a lesson to local governments regarding immigration.

The 2006 Hazelton law would have penalized landlords who rented property to individuals thought to be “illegal immigrants.” It was never implemented because a district court ruled it unconstitutional and pre-empted by federal law. Hazelton appealed and lost again at the Third Circuit and the Supreme Court’s inaction means the law is forever dead.

“To set up a whole independent city level of immigration and enforcement is something a city can’t do under the Constitution,” Omar Jadwat of the ACLU said.

Jadwat represented the plaintiffs in that case. He says local governments cannot discriminate — but there’s a lot they can do.

“Try to take more positive and proactive steps that will reflect the reality that immigrants are a part of our communities,” Jadwat said.

Hazelton mayor Joe Yanuzzi says he was “shocked” by the ruling, but after seven years of courtroom battles, he says the city is ready to move on.

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