Kansas Secretary of State candidate and check-cashing anti-immigration superhero Kris Kobach's nationwide journey to oust illegal aliens hit a road block late last week when a federal appeals court voided a law he wrote for Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
The Illegal Immigration Relief Act, which Kobach lovingly crafted for the town of around 30,000 in eastern Pennsylvania in 2006, was intended to fine landlords who rent to undocumented immigrants and deny permits to companies that hire them. The ACLU sued saying that cities can't infringe on immigration enforcement because it's a federal matter. Because, you know, they're doing an amazing job of it.
The three-judge panel agreed, saying, "It is ... not our job to sit in
judgment of whether state and local
frustration about federal immigration policy is warranted. We are,
however, required to intervene when states and localities directly
undermine the federal objectives embodied in statutes enacted by
The law has been nothing but a four-year-long pain
the ass for the town. A federal judge shot the law down once before in 2007, but
pesky Mayor Lou Barletta says his hamlet is going to fight all
the way to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately for Barletta and all
Hazletonians, Kobach The Righteous' services don't come cheap, and laws
that violate federal law are expensive to defend. Media Matters calculates
that the city has spent $2.4 million arguing for the law in court and
paying Kobach. The town eventually ran out of cash to defend the law
and took up a donation for to pay the bills. But the $1,000 fines for
renting to an illegal will totally make up that once the high court
vindicates them. Totally.
Kobach, in full campaign mode (i.e.
full of it), told the Associated Press, "It's going to be difficult for
this opinion to stand. The court really
had to stretch to find a way to agree with the ACLU." He has also announced that he's going to have a press conference in Topeka today and unveil "a new policy that will effect the roll [sic] of the secretary of
state." No word on exactly what Kobach will be talking about, but the brief press release notes his involvement in S.B. 1070, the infamous Arizona immigration bill he co-wrote.
aside, Kobach laws are failing in other parts of the country, too. Before it went into effect, S.B, 1070 was partially blocked by a judge earlier
this summer, and a Fremont, Nebraska, law similar to Hazleton's faces its own
court challenges. But Fremont's City Council apparently is much
brighter than Hazleton's. They've suspended
their Kobach law to avoid spending a crap-ton of cash they don't have to defend it.
It's good to see a few people are thinking logically about immigration bills, even if it's only to
cover their asses financially.