Tracie Mauriello, Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh), March 21, 2007
House conservatives are renewing their attack on illegal immigration with a package of bills they expect to unveil today.
The bills would prevent illegal immigrants from receiving state benefits, increase law enforcement and allow the state to revoke licenses from hairdressers, landscape architects and other professionals who hire illegal immigrants.
Their actions come as the U.S. District Court in Scranton is reviewing a law in Hazleton, Luzerne County, to limit immigrants.
The American Civil Liberties Union downplayed Mr. Mustio’s economic concerns.
“As many who have studied this issue know, immigrants are essential to a growing economy in Pennsylvania. These bills could hurt the economy of Pennsylvania,” said ACLU spokesman Larry Frankel.
Fueled by controversy over Hazleton’s immigration ordinance, House Republicans’ renewed effort may have more momentum now.
Hazleton is embroiled in a civil lawsuit challenging the legality of its ordinance that imposes fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and denies business permits to employers who hire them.
At issue is whether local governments can act on their own, usurping congressional power over immigration policy.
Supporters of the House reform package say Congress isn’t doing enough to keep illegal immigrants out.