In another case involving the validity of a non-federal immigration law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found a Hazelton, Pennsylvania city ordinance unconstitutional in Lozano v. Hazelton. The 2006 Hazelton ordinance was designed to prevent landlords from renting to illegal aliens and employers from hiring “unlawful workers.” The Third Circuit invalidated both the rental and employment provisions as preempted by federal law.
Beyond the impact on Hazelton, it remains to be seen whether the decision will carry any weight in considering the validity of state laws purporting to require employers to use E-Verify, the electronic employment eligibility verification system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). As noted in the July 2010 issue of the Immigration eAuthority, several states have enacted such laws and the Arizona E-Verify law (see above) is being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court. While the Hazelton court referenced the Arizona lawsuit, the facts of each case are not identical. Thus, while the Hazelton decision is important, it certainly does not foretell the likely result in the Arizona case. Ogletree Deakins is tracking these issues and will report on significant developments as they occur.