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Latino Daily News

Tuesday March 4, 2014

Supreme Court Will Not Hear Anti-Immigrant Cases, Lower Court Rulings Stand

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday decided not to hear cases presented by two municipalities with an eye toward reactivating anti-immigrant ordinances that had been annulled by federal courts.

The high court rejected the appeals presented by Farmers Branch, Texas, and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which means the lower court rulings will stand.

The ordinances that were annulled accorded to local authorities the ability to deal with certain problems resulting from illegal immigration, given the lack of federal legislation to fix the immigration system and regulate the situation of undocumented migrants.

In the case of Farmers Branch, a regulation had been established that renters or tenants had to present identification that would allow immigration authorities to verify their status and also punished landlords if they rented homes to undocumented immigrants.

The Hazleton ordinance also penalized employers if they knowingly hired undocumented migrants.

Groups of tenants, employers and workers challenged the laws in the courts and won both cases, motivating the municipalities to request that the cases be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Immigrant defenders note that five of the six federal appeals courts that have dealt with housing-related ordinances similar to the one enacted by Farmers Branch have held that such laws are at odds with the federal government’s authority to regulate immigration.

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