Hazleton Files Petition for Certiorari


October 22, 2013

The City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania has filed a Petition for Certiorari to the Supreme Court asking the Court to review the Third Circuit’s decision which again found its employment and harboring provisions preempted. IRLI is counsel for the City in the case. The Third Circuit reviewed the case for a second time after the Supreme Court vacated the previous opinion and instructed the Third Circuit to reconsider the case in light of Chamber of Commerce v Whiting.

The Hazleton Ordinance requires E-Verify and suspends the business licenses of those businesses who knowingly employ unauthorized aliens. The Supreme Court in Whiting held that such laws are not preempted by federal law. In its decision, the Third Circuit attempted to point to minor distinctions between the Arizona law upheld in Whiting and the Ordinance at issue in Hazleton. The City contends that the decision conflicts with Whiting.

The Hazleton Ordinance also prohibits the harboring of illegal aliens by requiring tenants to obtain rental licenses and requiring the city to verify the immigration status of those with rental licenses. The Third Circuit ruled that the rental provision was preempted for numerous reasons including that it regulated immigration by discouraging illegal aliens from remaining in the city and that it interfered with the Obama Administration’s enforcement priorities. The City argues that the Third Circuit opinion is in conflict with multiple other Circuits and that it is in conflict with Supreme Court precedent.

IRLI expects a decision on whether the Supreme Court will review the case sometime in January. The docket information is Petition No. 13-531. The petition is attached here.

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