Hazleton, Pennsylvania is facing being put under the state’s fiscal control as a result of the costs associated with defending – over and over again – it’s unconstitutional immigration ordinances. Hazleton made national headlines for threatening to revoke business licenses for employers found to have hired illegally present immigrants as well as barring landlords from renting to those individuals.
The laws were struck down repeatedly by the courts and the plaintiff, the American Civil Liberties Union, is suing for $2.8 million in attorney fees associated with the suit. That’s nearly a third of Hazleton’s budget and paying up would force the town in to receivership. A judge is expected to rule on this in the coming days or weeks.
The ordinances were championed by the town’s former mayor Louis Barletta who has since moved on to a seat in Congress. Barletta says he has no regrets. The measure was drafted by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach who has drafted similar bills around the US. Kobach has already told Hazleton officials to expect to lose on the attorneys fees action.