Pa. Rep. Barletta Forms House Immigration Caucus

Thursday, 05 May 2011 03:49 PM

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As President Barack Obama has stumbled on tightening the country’s immigration laws, freshman U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., announced the creation of a new congressional caucus that will focus on stopping illegal immigration. Barletta first made national news as mayor of Hazelton, when he signed a local law to fight illegal immigration, Fox News Latino reported Thursday.

Lou Barletta, immigration, caucus, House
Rep. Lou Barletta
"I’m putting together a group of freshman members to address the problem of illegal immigration in this country,” Barletta said. “I’m optimistic that other new members of Congress who are concerned about our flawed immigration system will join this caucus so we can devise some real solutions.”

Barletta also announced that he is drafting legislation to punish so-called "sanctuary cities" that refuse to enforce immigration measures.

“Elected officials of local municipalities cannot pick and choose the federal laws they enforce," Barletta said.

As mayor of Hazleton, Barletta spearheaded the passage of a law that called for punishing employers who hired undocumented immigrants by revoking their business license for five years. It also imposed fines of $1,000 a day on landlords who rented to undocumented tenants and declared English the city’s official language. However, federal courts declared the law unconstitutional.

Barletta and other officials of Hazleton said at the time that the federal government had failed to address illegal immigration, and left local officials little choice but to tackle the matter themselves. Not much has changed since then.

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