RUSH: From Allentown, Pennsylvania, we own Allentown, by the way, ‘A federal judge on Thursday struck down the city of Hazleton’s tough anti-immigration law, which has been emulated by cities around the country. The Illegal Immigration Relief Act sought to impose fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and deny business permits to companies that give them jobs. Another measure would have required tenants to register with City Hall and pay for a rental permit. U.S. District Judge James Munley declared it unconstitutional Thursday and voided it based on evidence and testimony from a nine-day trial held in March. The city will almost certainly appeal. Hazleton’s Republican mayor pushed for the laws last summer after two illegal immigrants were charged in a fatal shooting. Mayor Lou Barletta argued that illegal immigrants brought drugs, crime and gangs to the city of more than 30,000, overwhelming police and schools. Immigrant groups sued, saying the laws usurp the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate immigration, deprive residents of their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process, and violate state and federal housing law. The city, 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia, estimates its population increased by more than 10,000 between 2000 and 2006. Testimony during the trial put the city’s illegal immigrant population at between 1,500 and 3,400.’ So the federal judge has voided the law, tough anti-immigration law in Hazelton, Pennsylvania.
There’s other immigration news in the stack today. From the LA Times early this morning, ‘GOP border bill fails in the Senate — Lawmakers clashed anew over immigration Wednesday as Senate Republicans pushed to introduce far-reaching new enforcement measures and California’s senators led an impassioned plea to allow in more foreign agriculture workers. The extended exchanges — often tart, sometimes angry — came during debate on the homeland security spending bill, creating new fault lines and deepening old ones.’ By the way, I gotta mention this, too. I was just back in Snerdley’s office, and he’s got C-SPAN2 on in there, and the Senate was debating something, I don’t know what they’re debating, but there’s an amendment. Mary Landrieu has offered an amendment saying that the primary goal of US counterterrorism efforts — she wants this as an amendment to some bill. The primary goal of US counterterrorism efforts is to kill or capture Osama bin Laden. What a pea-brained idea. Let’s say we do. I happen to think the guy is pushing up daisies anyway, but let’s say we capture or kill him. Is that going to end the war on terror? That’s the primary effort? Was the primary effort in World War II to kill Hitler? If so, folks, we failed.
Now, the thing in the Senate that they were all upset about yesterday was a narrowly focused measure ‘included funds for 700 miles of fencing, 300 miles of vehicle barriers, 23,000 Border Patrol agents, 105 ground-based radar sensors, and four unmanned planes.’ So the idea here was, okay, this Comprehensive Destroy the Republican Party Act of 2007 went down to defeat, and somebody said, ‘Let’s do this. Let’s go back and let’s do some specific things. The American people want border security, so let’s do it.’ The Democrats wanted no part of this. The Democrats stopped this border agreement measure in the Senate. It was narrowly focused, and that’s what they didn’t like about it.
‘The original enforcement amendment was the brainchild of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the original sponsors of the Senate immigration bill. During that debate, he argued that the only way to successfully overhaul immigration laws was to attack all aspects of the problem at the same time, from border enforcement to the need for migrant labor. On Wednesday, Graham announced that the comprehensive approach had failed. ‘Just because it failed does not mean the problems posed by illegal immigration have gone away,’ he said. ‘We’re now moving to Plan B,” which was border security, the fence and the vehicle barriers. His statement ‘drew a tough rebuttal from one of Graham’s former allies, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). ‘This amendment does nothing to secure our nation and everything to tear it apart,’ Kennedy said in a statement.’ Okay, that’s this morning’s LA Times.
Washington Times. ‘Eager to demonstrate to a skeptical public that Congress is determined to tackle illegal immigration, the Senate today added $3 billion to a homeland security spending bill to pay for thousands more Border Patrol agents, 700 miles of border fencing and sophisticated technology,’ blah, blah, blah. ‘The action marked a surprising reversal from Wednesday when it appeared the extra border security funding would fall victim to partisan and philosophical disagreements. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in a highly unusual floor speech, admitted today that he’d thrown ‘a little tantrum’ the night before when he pulled the $3 billion amendment after an objection by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.’ Well, we’ve got the story on that in the stack. They were going along just fine, then Dingy Harry did insult Cornyn and that led to contretemps, and so forth and so on. But now they’ve added $3 billion for border security so whatever happened last night apparently has been overcome. This is not the final vote here. They’ve got an amendment here to the homeland security bill, and that’s yet to be voted on in its entirety, because the Washington Times from yesterday said Senate Democrats yesterday defeated a Republican effort to authorize $3 billion to new border security immigration enforcement. Instead, Democrats proposed a new agriculture workers program to bring in hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and grant legal status to illegal aliens now working in the fields.
What’s happening here, the Democrats are trying to do exactly what the Comprehensive Destroy the Republican Party Act of 2007 wanted to do, was grant amnesty right off the bat, but this time they said we’ll just do it to agricultural workers, we’ll start off small. And that didn’t fly. So border security apparently has now been added to the bill. And then there’s this. ‘US businesses are bracing for a possible major crackdown on illegal foreign workers, as the government seeks to give immigration authorities more power to punish companies hiring undocumented workers. President George W. Bush’s administration has proposed a federal regulation that unions warn could lead to mass firings nationwide by companies seeking to avoid prosecution and fines.’ This story goes on to detail how businesses are very much upset, very worried about the crack down on illegal foreign workers and so forth. They might have to obey the law.
Also this town in Connecticut, New Haven, where Yale is, they passed this law saying any illegal immigrant, come on in. You’re going to be fine and dandy here with us, was the essence of it. I said, well, that’s cool. We need to really applaud the people of New Haven and send a memo out to every illegal immigrant, ‘Go to New Haven. They want you.’ We need to applaud and congratulate the taxpayers of New Haven for agreeing to support all of this.
RUSH: Here’s another definitive story on the border security fight. It does seem, ladies and gentlemen, as though Dingy Harry blinked a little bit here. ‘Senate Democrats and Republicans came together Thursday to devote an additional $3 billion to gaining control over the U.S.-Mexico border, putting Congress on a path to override President Bush’s promised veto of a $38 billion homeland security funding bill. The deal was approved by an overwhelming 89-1 vote it. It resurrects a GOP plan launched Wednesday to pass some of the most popular elements of Bush’s failed immigration bill, including money for additional border agents and fencing along the southern border. The Democrats like the money, but they objected to Republican proposals that allowed law enforcement officers to question people about their immigration status and cracking down on those who overstay their visits. [Dingy] Harry and Senator John Cornyn of Texas resolving differences overnight announced agreement this morning, Cornyn won a promise to have some of the money used to go after immigrants who had entered the US legally but had overstayed their visas. Reid had apparently thought earlier that Cornyn wanted harsher language. ‘I was wrong. Senator Cornyn was right,’ acknowledged a sheepish [Dingy] Harry.’ Well, the man running the country, that’s me, you know it and I know it, wins again.