FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2007
CONTACT: Yongho Kim, 323-937-3718
Sookyung Oh, 323-937-3703, x 206
HAZLETON ANTI-IMMIGRANT ORDINANCE RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Korean Resource Center Applauds Decision to Prevent Discrimination
[Los Angeles, CA] – Yesterday, a federal judge in Scranton, PA ruled against the City of Hazleton in a landmark challenge (Lozano v. City of Hazleton) to local ordinances aimed at punishing landlords, employers, and people perceived to be immigrants. The following is a statement by Dae Joong Yoon of Korean Resource Center.
The Korean American community is pleased with the court’s decision on July 26, 2007 to strike down the anti-immigrant Hazleton ordinance that sought to impose severe penalties on landlords and employers for doing business with undocumented immigrants. This ruling sends a clear message that the Hazleton ordinance, and other similar anti-immigrant laws around the country, are unconstitutional and will not be allowed to stand. As a Korean American organization concerned about the potential rise in discrimination, scapegoating, and criminalization of immigrants, we are hopeful that this landmark decision will open the door to striking down other hateful anti-immigrant ordinances across the country, for example like the one in Prince William County in northern Virginia enacted on July 10, 2007.
Frustration over Congressional failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform is leading to local towns and cities to take matters into their own hands. Congress abdicated its responsibility on one of the nation’s most pressing issues, and has passed the buck on to state and local governments. But we should focus our frustration on the appropriate targets – those members of Congress who continue to obstruct a comprehensive and bipartisan solution for the sole purpose of scoring political points – rather than attempting to render whole communities suspect and in the process undermine quality of life for us all.
Anti-immigrant laws like those enacted in Hazleton are reprehensible because their proponents know these ordinances will not solve the problem and often use misinformation and faulty statistics to sell them to the public. These anti-immigrant laws seek to criminalize, discriminate and deny basic rights.
Korean American communities will continue to work towards just and humane reform that keep families together, creates a pathway to legalization, protects all workers regardless of their immigration status, protect and restore basic rights and liberties, and allows young immigrants to reach their full potential through access to college.