Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lozano v. City of Hazelton case brief

Lozano v. City of Hazelton case brief summary
496 F.Supp.2d 477 (2007)

Plaintiffs sought to permanently enjoin the enforcement of defendant city's ordinances that regulated the presence and employment of illegal aliens. The ordinances at issue were the Illegal Immigration and Relief Act Ordinance, Hazleton, Pa., 2006-18, as amended by 2006-40 and 2006-6, and the Official English Ordinance, Hazleton, Pa., 2006-40 (collectively, IIRA); and the Tenant Registration Ordinance (RO), Hazleton, Pa., 2006-13.


  • The ordinances were aimed at what the city viewed as the problems created by the presence of illegal aliens. 
  • They were unenforceable, though, because they conflicted with federal law and violated constitutional protections. 
  • Federal law preempted IIRA and RO because they disrupted the federal scheme for regulating the presence and employment of immigrants in the U.S. 
  • They violated the Supremacy Clause, U.S. Constitutional Article VI, clause 2, and were unconstitutional. 
  • They also violated (1) the Fourteenth Amendment by penalizing landlords, tenants, employers, and employees without providing them federal procedural protections, and (2) 42 U.S.C.S. § 1981 by burdening illegal aliens' rights, as "persons," to contract. 
  • Neither IIRA nor RO facially discriminated on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin and did not violate equal protection or the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 3601 et seq. 
  • Their housing provisions provided renters the procedural protections of the Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act, 68 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 250.101 et seq. 
  • It was unclear whether the ordinances violated plaintiffs' privacy rights, but, by enacting unconstitutional ordinances, the city exceeded its police powers.
The court declared IIRA and RO unconstitutional, and permanently enjoined the city from enforcing them.

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