Report criticizes Hazleton’s immigrant crackdown

I recently took a trip out to Hazleton to see the town that was so much apart of the illegal immigrant issue. What I found was a depressing little town that looks like it hasn’t had a new building since the 60’s. There are numerous abandoned buildings and many of those populated with businesses are in disrepair. Though the towns mayor, Lou Barletta, likes to cite money problems due to illegal immigrants it was apparent to me that Hazleton has had problem long before the illegal immigrants started moving in.  One strange thing I noticed was a house with seven satellite dishes hanging off the front and a confederate flag hanging in a window inside the front porch.  I’m not sure if it was a joke or not, but there it was.  In addition I noticed very few homes had American flags on display and the town itself, though trying, had a few flag bouquets hanging off some light posts that looked more sad than proud.

Barletta stated this report is not what he was looking for in his effort to revitalize the city. I guess he’s not looking for the truth.

Anyone that lives in the Northeast is well aware of the cheap prices for homes in Pennsylvania. As I drove to Hazleton I passed a sign stating “New Homes – $50,000.” On a separate occasion, on my way to Bush Kill Falls, I passed a sign stating “New Custom Built Homes – $120,000.” For this part of the country these are insanely cheap prices. If you look around New Jersey you’ll be lucky to get a dilapidated home for $300,000. So it’s no wonder many people are moving to Pennsylvania to find the American dream, which does include owning your own home. However, instead of embracing these newcomers to revitalize their cities many towns are letting the new residents (at least the Hispanics) know they are not welcome.

Report criticizes Hazleton’s immigrant crackdown
MICHAEL RUBINKAM The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 10/11/2007 08:26:01 AM EDT

HAZLETON — The city’s highly publicized campaign of targeting illegal immigrants threatens to drive away business and industry and damage prospects for economic revitalization, a new report asserts.
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.”
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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,” Zogby wrote.
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He also contended that racism is a “critical local issue in Hazleton” and that a “massive community effort needs to be made to root out the disease of racism.”

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One thought on “Report criticizes Hazleton’s immigrant crackdown

  1. Hazleton commissioned that report before they passed their anti-immigrant ordinances. When they commissioned it, everything was great and the city was a boomtown. After the ordinances passed, everything went downhill fast, and the Zogby people noticed it – and reported on it.

    Barletta’s campaigning now for a congressional run, damning the city he’s supposed to be supporting to bankruptcy for his own personal gain. Of course he’s upset – he hired Zogby to tell people the truth (at the time) that Hazleton was booming. Not the truth (as it is now) that Barletta ran his boomtown into the ground because of racism and prejudice – and because he wanted a key issue for a political campaign.

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