“From city to city, an incredible hysterical panic spread…As the unimaginable becomes real, the impossible becomes true…”
I’m sure certain fear-mongering politicians behind the cynical-minded “Invasion PA,” (Doctor, will you tell these fools I’m not crazy!) will be shocked to learn that maybe, just maybe, immigrants aren’t responsible for the destruction of all that is good and holy in Small-Town America.
In a delectable bit of irony, a just-released study (PDF)- partly funded by Lou Barletta’s own City of Hazleton – reveals that the mayor’s highly publicized actions targeting illegal immigration may be more to blame for the town’s financial woes than the immigrants themselves.
An Associated Press story, “Report Criticizes Hazleton Immigrant Crackdown,” said a $50,000 study takes Barletta to task for his stance, saying it threatens to drive away business and damage prospects for economic revitalization.
Thursday’s article said
The report, by polling firm Zogby International, challenges the mayor’s claim that illegal immigrants are responsible for overburdened police, schools and hospitals. It concludes that Hazleton should embrace immigration as a “solution to an aging and declining population.”
Zogby was hired by a civic group, the Greater Hazleton Area Civic Partnership, to identify economic and demographic trends. The city contributed $1,000 to the study.
Last year, Barletta pushed through a law that targeted landlords who rented to illegal immigrants and businesses that employed them. Hispanic groups and the Pennsylvania ACLU challenged the law, which was recently struck down by a federal judge as unconstitutional. Barletta and the city are appealing the decision.
The AP article said
John Zogby urged the partnership of sponsoring civic organizations to “challenge the mayor on every front.”
In a report on his study, Zogby wrote that while Hazleton has a rich ethnic tradition, “now fear reigns supreme, and the biggest fear is that this great tradition can be hijacked, especially by national demagogues trying to accent the worst.”
Witold Walczak, who argued the case for the ACLU, was quoted in the article as saying
the report “documents how these misguided laws and the mayor’s demagoguery retard economic growth, produce an environment that is toxic for foreigners and ultimately cloud Hazleton’s otherwise promising future.”
Barletta complained of the study
It’s not what we were looking for.
Lauri in York