“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hazleton, Pennsylvania, hard coal country in immigration debate.

Despite not taking stand to testify yet, Barletta plays major role in proceedings
Tuesday, 13 March 2007
By KENT JACKSON Hazleton Standard Speaker

SCRANTON – Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta didn’t testify on the opening day of the trial challenging an immigration law that he proposed last year, but he factored in the courtroom discussions Monday. Plaintiff’s Attorney Vic Walczak called Barletta an “opportunistic mayor.”

The news program “60 Minutes,” National Public Radio and CNN interviewed Barletta, who spoke at Washington rallies and Republican fundraisers and testified before the U.S. Senate, Walczak said.

“Introduction of the ordinance made Mayor Barletta an overnight sensation,” he said.
NPR, The New York Times, the Associated Press and Reuters were among the news outlets that joined local media covering the trial’s opening, an indication that the attention toward the act remains strong as the nation debates immigration policy.
Barletta appeared on CNN with show host Lou Dobbs live Monday night from in front of the courthouse.

Kris Kobach, an attorney for Hazleton, said Barletta backed the act after seeing crime escalate and city services paid out for illegal immigrants. He researched immigration and read a report by Bear Stearns that pegged the net cost to states and municipalities from illegal immigration at $65 billion a year.
“He decided something needed to be done to protect the city he grew up in, the city he loved,” Kobach said.

Walczak said Barletta focused on the costs of immigration, but not its benefits, and the plaintiffs called Dr. Agapito Lopez, a Hazleton eye surgeon, to testify about the boost that Latinos gave to the city’s economy.

Lopez said Hazleton was a ghost town in 2001, but the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 that year drove Latinos out of New York City to Hazleton.
“With people seeing the low-priced property in Hazleton there was an opportunity to move here and have a better life,” Lopez said.

He said the new arrivals were entrepreneurial and opened 70 businesses by 2005, during a period when Anglo developers were renovating the Markle Building, the Hazleton Downtown Athletic Club and Hazle Drugs in the city’s central business district.

During that period, Lopez said, he supported Barletta, whom he said helped find fields on which Latino children could play baseball and renovated in the Pine Street Playground in a neighborhood that has a considerable Latino population.

His support vanished when Barletta backed the Illegal Immigration Reform Act, which strips businesses of licenses if they hire illegal immigrants and fines landlords for renting to people who aren’t legal residents of the country.

“I was appalled,” Lopez said, “because I had not received any notice from city council or the mayor, and I had just met with them two months ago.

“This ordinance came out of nowhere. They are restricting … the occupation of homes and to be able to work to many of the immigrant workers … It was hurting my people. Latinos are like a family.”

Lopez said some businesses closed and some Latinos left town after the ordinance was proposed.

While cross-examining Lopez, the city’s lead attorney Henry “Hank” Mahoney named business such as Michael’s Taxi and Crystal Barbecue that Latinos opened since the ordinance passed. Owners invited Barletta to their grand openings, Mahoney said.

During cross-examination, Lopez said he believes nations have the right to control their borders and deport people but thinks the United States government should deal with immigration, not small cities all over the country.

“Do you believe an illegal immigrant has the right to work in the city of Hazleton?” Mahoney asked.
“No,” replied Lopez, a veteran of the U.S. Army, who said one of his five children is an immigration agent in Chicago.


  1. The ACLU is going after this Mayor and his town. They will try to make it financially very difficult for this community. If the ACLU prevails, current Federal Law requires that the town reimburse the "American Communists" for its legal expenses.

    The situation is totally out of control and if there is one single issue where the Bush Administration lost this conservative, it is immigration. I have grown very concerned that it will not matter who is in office, our borders will not be controlled because big business "needs" these low skilled low paid workers.

    Again, I'll say it. If we had not aborted 50,000,000 to 60,000,000 of our own babies we wouldn't need the illegals.

  2. I think there is another issue. Since the 1950's the US population has gone from 150,000,000 to 300,000,000 people. Do we have the right to set a limit on the size of our population?

    Should the United States become a country with a population of four, five, six, seven nundred million people? Who should make tha decision? Mexico, Guatemala, or everyone else who justs feels the need to get up and move. The left has already brain-washed American school children that unrestricted immigration is a good thing. Recent polling shows that the majority believe in no limitation to immigration.

    "Diversity" has replaced "patriotism". It is bizzare that unlimited abortion would artificialy reduce the natural population by fifty million, and illegal immigration would fill the gap and then some.

  3. The debate is not about

    It is about the legitmacy of law.

    There is no law, but anarchy.
    Millions of criminals are going to be "regularized".


  4. And why not, bob?
    The GOP does not stand for the Law, or Order.

    See it every day.
    There is anarchy out there, on George W's watch.

    The frontier is wide open, there is no good excuse for it. Disrespect of the law by those charged with the laws enforcement is the real issue, one that is never discussed.

    If the "Economy" needs them, well, change the Law.
    Ignoring it is no solution.

  5. "... "My pledge to you and your government, but more important to the people of Mexico, is I'll work as hard as I possibly can to pass comprehensive immigration reform," Bush said during a sun-splashed arrival ceremony that opened two days of meetings with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in this Yucatan Peninsula tourist haven. ...
    Before their talks, Calderon had a tough message for Bush: The United States must do more to solve thorny issues of drug-trafficking and immigration.

    He was gentler at Bush's side, but with the same message.

    "We fully respect the right that the government and the people of the United States has to decide within its territory what will be best for their concerns and security," he said as he welcomed Bush. "But at the same time we do consider in a respectful way that" migration can't be stopped with a fence.
    Calderon also is critical of the Bush administration's efforts to stem the flow of drugs into the United States.

    "We need the collaboration and the active participation of our neighbor," he said Tuesday. "Knowing that while we will not reduce the demand for drugs in a certain area, it will be very difficult to reduce the supply in ours." ..."

    Now one would think that enhanced Border Security would stem the flow of drugs, along with migrants, across the frontier but no, that is not an acceptable solution. We must change how we live, to satisfy their needs.

    There is no security solution for the US, just appeasement, reconciliation and amnesty for those that wish to break US laws or kill US citizens.
    Everywhere in the world, from Nuevo Larado to Baghdad, ain't life grand.

    How sweet it is,
    to be a Super Duper Power.

  6. My view is that the debate should be about immigration AND legitimacy of the law. DR is right about getting rid of the law if its not gonna be enforced, because the consequence of ignoring it is diminished respect of the law by all. This is not, however, just a Bush problem. He's just the latest "violator". Clinton, Bush I and Reagan did likewise and probably the others before them.

    Bill Gates pointed out last week, as all of us in the tech community know, that H1-B visas need to be expanded, or the US will lose its global leadership in technology. Why should the immigrants who we let in/stay just be the illegal ones? If we are gonna have open borders, then let everybody in, not just uneducated Central Americans. If we are not gonna have open borders, then there should be a well-thought out plan as to who we let in, in which case also the immigration laws must be enforced. This isn't rocket science.

  7. We must remember, j, that under Reagan we did change the law.
    1986 I believe. So your premise that Mr Reagan was just another violater is misplaced. That was the US's latest "amnesty program" for illegals, but assuredly not the last.

    Instead of a well thought out immigration policy we have anarchy within the system. Making the illegals legal, with a wave of a hand, will not change the "root causes" of the problem, nor stop the migration.

    The "root causes" of the migration are beyond the US's capability to solve, the problems are not here, but over there. Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador these places are beyond US control.
    We either invade Central America to change their culture or defend the Homeland from illegal infiltration.
    If the US were to enforce it's labor laws, while securing the border, the job magnet would lose it's draw.

    The law breakers act with impunity, while the law abiding wait for years.
    The rate of illegal infiltration has excellerated during the six years of BushII. Especially with the talk of "amnesty", of late, for those already here.
    It just draws more, like flies to honey.