Pennsylvania Bar Association Supports Ruling on Hazleton Immigration Case

HARRISBURG (July 26, 2007) - The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) today applauds the ruling of Judge James M. Munley, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in the case of Lozano v. City of Hazleton.

The PBA supports enforcement of immigration law by the federal government and opposes local and state laws seeking to regulate immigration or immigrants. It also supports ongoing efforts by the federal government to develop and enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

"As Judge Munley correctly concludes, federal authority takes precedence over local and state governments, preventing them from enacting immigration laws," said PBA President Andrew F. Susko. "Therefore, any local or state legislation designed to punish employers hiring non-U.S. citizens is not legally enforceable.

"It is the responsibility of the federal government to address the need for a workable, uniform immigration policy. So, despite Hazleton's efforts to deal with immigration issues on its own, the court rightly affirmed that policy creation and enforcement belongs at the federal level," said Susko. "To do otherwise would be impractical and would likely lead to differing immigration standards and regulations from one community to the next."

Susko said the PBA recently passed a resolution opposing state and local regulation of immigration. The resolution, developed by its Civil and Equal Rights Committee, was approved at the association's annual meeting in Philadelphia on June 22.

The resolution builds on several earlier PBA formal statements regarding immigration issues. In 2004, the PBA adopted positions opposing legislation and administrative measures designed to criminalize civil immigration law violations and opposing the use of state and local police to investigate, apprehend, detain and remove undocumented immigrations. In 2005, the PBA resolved to support legislative efforts that protect all workers, regardless of race, national origin, citizenship or immigration status.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.