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From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Judge Rules Against Hazleton’s Crackdown on Illegal Immigration

Illegal immigrants and their special interest groups got a helping hand on Thursday from U.S. District Court JudgeJames Munley, a Clinton appointee, who ruled unconstitutional two Hazleton, Pennsylvania, laws designed to crack down on illegal immigration.

The judge issued a permanent injunction preventing the City of Hazleton from enforcing thehttp://www.hazletoncity.org/090806/2006-18%20_Illegal%20Alien%20Immigration%20Relief%20Act.pdf Illegal Immigration Relief Act and the Landlord Tenant Ordinance, which were intended to prevent businesses from hiring illegals and landlords from renting to them.

Judicial Watch believes Judge Munley is wrong on this issue. Weekly Update readers will recall that in March, Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the City of Hazleton. Here, in a nutshell, was our argument: “…The City of Hazleton has found it both reasonable and necessary for the public health and welfare to exercise its police power by enacting [these ordinances]…The subject matter regulated – the employment and harboring of persons ‘not entitled to lawful residence in the United States, let alone to work here – is certainly within the mainstream of [the City of Hazleton’s] police power…’” The U.S. District Court, however, sided with the illegals and their special interestallies. Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta, the architect of the law, will now appealthe ruling.

Mayor Barletta should be commended for his courage in taking on the illegal immigration crisis. At a time when many local officials are taking the easy way out by providing sanctuary to illegals, Mayor Barletta chose to enforce the law. In February, we were fortunate to have Mayor Barletta join our panel discussion entitled, http://www.judicialwatch.org/edconferences.shtml“Local Government and Illegal Immigration,” which was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Here, in his own words, is why he decided to fight this battle: “Every time we answer a domestic incident, our police, every time we answer a nuisance call, every time there's a traffic accident involving illegal aliens, it takes police away from their patrols.

Every time we send a code enforcement officer, every time we send a health officer, every time we send a fireman involving an incident with illegal aliens, it drains the City's resources and we realized we needed to do something… “I could no longer wait for the Federal Government to do anything. Illegal Immigration is not a federal problem. It's a local issue. We deal with it every single day…So we crafted an Ordinance that would do one of two things. It would punish businesses that hire unlawful workers because it is illegal to hire unlawful workers. We also punish landlords and hold them accountable for harboring illegal aliens because it is illegal to harbor illegal aliens.” To most Americans, this would seem a completely logical response to the federal government’s failure to secure the borders. In fact, according to a recent Zogby poll commissioned by Judicial Watch, 72% of likely voters believe local law enforcement officers should help enforce federal immigration laws, including 40% of Hispanics and 55% of self-described political “liberals.” Unfortuantely, Judge Munley did not see it that way. And now we’ve got to hope the appellate court overturns this unjust decision.

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President Bush to Attend Security and Prosperity Partnership Summit

Next month, President Bush will join Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Quebec for a Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) summit. (I would include a link to a news story on the summit, but you can’t read about it anywhere in the mainstream press, which has largely ignored the Security and Prosperity Partnership from the very beginning.)

So, what is the purpose of this summit, the third since the partnership was announced in 2005? The State Department claims the purpose is to “develop common approaches to transnational security threats and to expand economic productivity by streamlining trade among the countries.” Critics, however, maintain the true purpose is to develop and implement policies that would ultimately erase the borders between all three nations and form a North American Union, much like the European Union.

So, which is it? Is it an innocent plan to enhance cooperation between the three nations? Or is it a slippery slope to the loss of U.S. national sovereignty?

That is the very question we tackled recently in an educational panel entitled “Security and Prosperity Partnership: Threat or Opportunity?” Joining me on the panel, which was held at the National Press Club, were: Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum; Rosemary Jenks, NumbersUSA; Dr. Robert Pastor, American University; and David Bohigian of the U.S. Department of Commerce. We now have the full video up on our Internet site. If you’ve got the time (about an hour) I suggest you check it out.

While there may be disagreement between the government and its critics with respect to the ultimate mission of the partnership, this much is beyond dispute: Officials from the highest levels of government from all three nations are meeting on important issues that touch on nearly every aspect of the lives of American citizens, including commerce, travel, security, health, energy, and the environment. (And they’re doing it with no congressional oversight and very little media scrutiny.)

From the very beginning, our focus at Judicial Watch has been to make the inner workings of the partnership as transparent as possible. (In fact, just this week, Judicial Watch filed a notice with Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez that we plan to seek access to meetings and records of the North American Competitiveness Council during the Quebec summit. The council is the SPP’s “private” counterpart and has provided a number of recommendations to the Security and Prosperity Partnership on a range of issues from border security to energy policy.)

So far, through our investigation, we have managed to uncover a number of documents that, in our opinion, raise some red flags. Check out our Security and Prosperity Partnership summary page to see what we’ve uncovered thus far. And judge for yourself whether there’s cause for concern.

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