Friday, July 27, 2007

Anti-(Undocumented) Immigrant Ordinance Struck Down

The Hazleton, Pennsylvania ordinance barring undocumented immigrants from renting property was struck down on constitutional grounds. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania invalidated the law invalidated the law mainly on preemption grounds in that the local government sought to regulate immigration law, which is an area of law over which the federal government has primary jurisdiction under the Constitution.  The court relied on other arguments to strike down the law, including the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, which according to the court protected the tenants' property interests in their apartments and landlords' interests in the rights to income on their property. The NY Times article about the opinion is found here.

I was particularly struck by footnote 62, which quoted a dissenting opinion by Justice William O. Douglas in Lindsey v. Normet, 405 U.S. 56, 82 (1972).  It said, "[m]odern man's place of retreat for quiet and solace is the home.  Whether rented or owned, it is his sanctuary.  Being uprooted and put into the street is a traumatic experience."

Rose Cuison Villazor

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