Pro-landlord immigration ruling should be welcomed by conservatives (but probably won’t be)

The topic of illegal immigration remains a front-burner issue heading into the final weeks of this year’s congressional elections.  Many voters, spurred at least in part by the Tea Party movement, are demanding that candidates openly support strict — even Draconian — federal and state laws aimed at identifying and  punishing illegal aliens and those who are seen as “harboring” them, including employers and even landlords.  This zeal to attack the problem of illegal immigration (and it is a problem) in recent years has prompted a number of local governments to enact ordinances that seriously undermine fundamental liberties intended to be enjoyed by all of us.  Thankfully, a federal Court of Appeals earlier this month struck down one such measure in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

The Hazleton law, enacted in 2006, attacked the problem of illegal immigrants within its jurisdiction in a number of ways.  For example, landlords were prohibited from renting homes, apartments or rooms to anyone not lawfully in the country.  This prohibition would have forced any person proposing to rent out even a room to someone else, to demand proof that the prospective lessee was in the country lawfully; other citizens were encouraged to file complaints with the city against suspected offending landlords.  Apparently oblivious to this infringement of the fundamental right to control one’s property and to enter into contracts, many conservatives applauded Hazleton’s tough stance.

Proposals similar to the Hazleton ordinance were proposed and discussed in numerous other jurisdictions, including here in Georgia.  Some jurisdictions actually moved to adopt such intrusive measures; that is, until a federal trial court ruled Hazleton’s law unconstitutional in 2007.  Now, three years later, that decision has been affirmed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Many so-called conservatives, and probably many Tea Party supporters will likely rail against the appeals court decision, because it is not openly and fully supportive of combating  illegal immigration above all else.  This is unfortunate, since the Hazleton decision is — at its core — actually a reaffirmation of property rights and the right to contract, and it is based on a sound understanding of the proper federalist split of authority between the federal government and state and local governments, as incorporated in our Constitution.

54 comments Add your comment

Geodude

September 22nd, 2010
6:31 am

So what proof was the renter supposed to provide? And how was the landlord to verify it was real? And this would be from all renters and not just Hispanic-looking ones? ANd what about sales of homes? Same thing? THis law needed to be struck down. THe best weapon against illegal immigration is to require the e-verify system to be used for all current employees and for new hires. If they can’t get a job, they won’t come.

arnold

September 22nd, 2010
6:44 am

“Many so-called conservatives, and probably many Tea Party supporters will likely rail against the appeals court decision, because it is not openly and fully supportive of combating illegal immigration above all else.” Of course they will. They are knee jerk jerks. :-) The Republican Party is supplanting the Democrats in being over run by nut cases.

In the 60’s the far right helped the Democratic Party fracture. Now it’s the Tea party, religious right and neo conservatives that make the Republican Party fracture.

Karl Marx

September 22nd, 2010
6:56 am

The Feds are asserting they have to sole responsibility for illegal immigration enforcement and admit they can’t mishandle all illegal immigration issues. They publicly admitted gross negligence. We should sue the Federal Government. Eco nuts use this tactic on local, state, and federal government and It has worked. We have ample evidence of negligence on the part of the Federal Government and state and local governments should sue for damages to recoup losses due to the Feds gross negligence. The Feds negligence cost states and local governments billions of dollars and we should sue to get it back. We should turn the tables and litigate them to death. If the Federal Government had to defend thousands of lawsuits something would have to break.

RGB

September 22nd, 2010
8:46 am

“Now it’s the Tea party, religious right and neo conservatives that make the Republican Party fracture.”

I agree. That’s why the Republican party is expected to suffer great losses in both the House and the Senate in November.

Jose

September 22nd, 2010
8:48 am

Arnold, if you are a liberal, your side still rules in the number of nut cases in either party. Keep believing that the right is split. Come November 2nd we will be united enough to kick your arses out to the curb. From our perspective it is about Obama and his policies and not the Tea Party. You keep drinking and selling that kool-aid. No one on the right is drinking it or buying it and that goes for the independents.

Common Sense

September 22nd, 2010
9:13 am

RGB

September 22nd, 2010
8:46 am

Actually its the Dems who will lose big time in November :)

Price

September 22nd, 2010
9:22 am

So a conservative is a person who knowingly facilitates a criminal activity so long as there is profit from it ?? Really.

Barack

September 22nd, 2010
9:38 am

We can need to spend more in financial aid and provide more benefits to illegal aliens. I am scouring the Universities for a new office I will create for an Illegal Immigrant Czar.

Janice

September 22nd, 2010
10:12 am

The truth be known many wealthy Republicans make a fortune of illegal immigrants. Who owns most apartment buildings, factories and shares in companies employing illegals and selling them goods.

A tree company recently took down some tress on my property. The owners truck (from Cobb) had flags all over it, tea party and impeach Obama stickers but who came to actually do the work? illegals of course!

All the Republicans have done is spread fear about illegal immigrants (some true) to get ellected but you will never see then truly tackle the issue. The same with the so called taxes, the truth is very few people make over 250k AGI and those that do will not be impacted one iota by a percentage here or there but they have convince others (making very little) to think it is an issue.

Case in point Nathan Deal and Casey Cagle who talk anti immigrant all the time yet have been invloved in businesses employing illegals……

zeke

September 22nd, 2010
10:29 am

BOB, I THINK MAYBE YOU ARE TRYING TO SEE IF YOU CAN OUT CARTER AS AN IMBECILE! Yes private property rights are a foudation of our country! However, doing something illegal is not permisable! Renting to, hiring workers who are illegal is BREAKING THE LAW! Hopefully when this and the Arizona law get to the Supreme Court, the Justices will have enough intelligence and integrity to rule against ILLEGAL CRIMINALS!

ButtHead

September 22nd, 2010
11:06 am

RGB, do you live in an alternate universe?

Rayne

September 22nd, 2010
11:15 am

Zeke – exactly.

If i purchase stolen property, though I bought it and it is now “my” property, it is still stolen property and therefore illegal. Aiding criminals in many instances other than illegal immigration can get you in almost as much trouble as commiting the crime yourself (think acessory to murder). Fact remains something needs to be done about illegal immigration, and if the federal government won’t do it I guess local government has to pick up the slack.

Dr. Pangloss

September 22nd, 2010
11:37 am

When you apply for an apartment, the apartment managers hit the computer and pull up just about all your data. They know your credit rating instantly. They don’t really need to check your immigration status. They know everything anyway.

This law would fix a problem we don’t have.

Cekker

September 22nd, 2010
11:57 am

‘A tree company recently took down some tress on my property. The owners truck (from Cobb) had flags all over it, tea party and impeach Obama stickers but who came to actually do the work? illegals of course!’

Janice, did you check their immigration status when they got out of the truck? Is that how you know they were illegal? You do realize that requiring such proof probably breaks the law on your part, don’t you? That is basically what Bob’s article is about.

If you did not check their status, then you are assuming that they were illegal due to the color of their skin or their speech, right? That makes you a racist.

David S

September 22nd, 2010
12:14 pm

While this is one victory, landlords have not enjoyed property rights since the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 60’s. The overreaching term “public accomodation” has been used to destroy the property rights of everyone that owns private property and interacts in any way with the general public.

At the turn of every century we see demonization of foreigners. Not because of anything they do, but because the government has once again failed its citizens through one policy or a dozen, and it is easier to demonize “them” than taking responsibilty for “us” and “our” failed government.

Welfare, free public schooling, free health care, and every other socialist government service that is available to anyone who wants it is the driving force behind the appeal of the US. Nobody wants to confront these inherently failed and unworkable systems, so demonize everyone from south of the border.

If we ended all socialist programs (including government run education) and restored private property rights (to landlords and everyone else), the problem of freeloaders coming to america to jump on the protected gravy train would end. Add to that a massive cut in taxes so americans could once again be prosperous, an end to the failed regulatory state (so companies in this country could compete), and we might really see the kind of prosperous nation that would only inspire the immigration of hard workers and would easily be able to embrace their presence and their contributions.

Yeah, good luck with that from either the republican, democrat, or tea parties.

Supreme Being

September 22nd, 2010
12:35 pm

By Cekker “If you did not check their status, then you are assuming that they were illegal due to the color of their skin or their speech, right? That makes you a racist.”

Only an idiot would make a statement like this. A racist assumes that their race is superior to others purely based on its inherent characteristics. Making an assumption that someone might be an illegal immigrant because of their appearance is not racist you moron. Profiling??? maybe…but not racist.

Cekker

September 22nd, 2010
12:50 pm

Supreme Being…love yourself much?

Thanks for the clarification, you’re sweet! Looks like I need more time on dictionary.com

retiredds

September 22nd, 2010
12:53 pm

But Bob, this one’s easy. ALL of America’s ills are the result of illegal immigrants in the U.S. It’s their fault that people were greedy and looked to make a quick buck in real estate, borrowed to the max on not one but all their credit cards, ill-advised by their bankers, ill-informed by their local, state and federal representatives. After all we are a nation that doesn’t like deficits but do nothing about changing that. So we have to have a fall guy, and it’s the illegals.

Iconoclast

September 22nd, 2010
12:56 pm

If, there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a court-of-law , then shouldn’t that very provision’s existence prohibit proof on-demand of one’s legal status by anyone except for a sworn officer of the court? Is Judge Dredd out patrolling buinesses, aprtment leasing offices, and college administration buildings?

chuck

September 22nd, 2010
1:05 pm

Bob, you have really turned into a nutjob these past couple of years. You obviously did not think this topic through.

First, you abandoned conservative principles in your comments. You know, that little thing called the 10th Amendment? Renting houses is NOT and should not be under the perview of the federal gove’t. I believe in PERSONAL FREEDOM and control over one’s property as much as I possibly can, HOWEVER, there is a state interest here as well. You see, the illegal children of those illegal renters go to schools funded by the state. The illegals use roads funded by the state causing wear and tear as well as traffic that may put too much stress on the infrastructure. Those illegals typically don’t have health insurance OR car insurance and the costs for their healthcare and the damages cause by their driving habits are bourne by the state, local communities, and the general public.

2nd, Conservatives understand the concept of aiding and abetting criminals. If you knowingly allowed a bank robber to “hole-up” in your house, you would be charged as an accessory after the fact. Were you not once a prosecuting attorney? Why is aiding and abetting an illegal any different? Isn’t it a felony to be in this country illegally? If you rent to an illegal, how is that any different from knowingly renting to any other criminal which by definition aids them in breaking the law?

chuck

September 22nd, 2010
1:07 pm

retiredds, Do you have any idea how much illegals cost state and local governments every year? There is a significant impact on our budgets.

Supreme Being

September 22nd, 2010
1:28 pm

Cekker…you may need a dictionary, but I don’t…I am not an idiot.

gandhi

September 22nd, 2010
1:39 pm

I had always thought those trying to solve the illegal problem on the backs of landlords were misguided. Why landlords? We already have laws on the books making it illegal to hire undocumented workers. But we ignore those laws and want to create new ones making it the landlords’ responsibility. What happened to the raids of places of work that hired illegals? Oh yeah, Saxbey told them to stop.

Cekker

September 22nd, 2010
1:48 pm

No S_B…you are something else entirely.

Whiz

September 22nd, 2010
1:53 pm

Hey Chuck, go pluck your own chickens.

Iconoclast

September 22nd, 2010
1:59 pm

Chuck:

If illegals are buying gas, they ARE paying for the roads. Period. Motor vehicle registrations and insurance DO NOT pay the cost of public roads.

BTW – While the Obama Administration has ignorantly staffed its house with some of the very crooks who, in 2008, helped clean-out the vaults on Wall Street, remember; they dwelled in Bush’s White House just the same. So, – from Enron, to Halliburton, to Cendant – you’re absolutely right when you say “Conservatives understand the concept of aiding and abetting criminals.” They’re quite adept at it!

retiredds

September 22nd, 2010
2:15 pm

Chuck, I do. And so do you. Then why will you and others like you not consider a path to legality. And here are some of the benefits: the illegals become legal, they will pay taxes just like you and me, they will contribute to Social Security just like you (and I did as I am retired and drawing on mine – after 45 years of paying in), they will pay for services that you claim they get for free now, many would gladly serve in the armed forces, they would continue to spend their $$ here in the US, etc., etc. So what’s wrong with that? You can go on yelling and screaming that they should all be deported. That will not happen so why not support a plan that is reasonable, holds them accountable, and has certain hurdles (all of which are on the table) they must attain before citizenship is granted. Oh, I forgot, it’s much easier to complain and scape goat “them” as “they” are the enemy (at least that’s what the yellers and screamers who have never had a real solution that would work tell us).

Ezra

September 22nd, 2010
2:20 pm

I will REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!! The tea party continues to grow. Democrats take back your party from the vile disgusting progressive liberal socialists.

Iconoclast

September 22nd, 2010
2:28 pm

Though it made headlines, the original “tea party” accomplished little more than wasting a bunch of tea and fouling a bunch of water. What so new an different about these charismatic wingnuts?

Brad

September 22nd, 2010
2:39 pm

‘What part of illegal don’t you understand?” is the most vapid and intellectually empty argument possible. If you truly believe that the argument stops there, you are dead from the neck up.

“Legal v Illegal” is not, as you seem to believe, the same as “Right v Wrong”, or “Moral v. Immoral”. “Legality” is merely the set of rules imposed by those in power. By way of example:

-It was “legal” to import and keep slaves in the US south.
-It was “legal” to oppress blacks with Jim Crow laws.
-It was “legal” for Germany to exterminate Jews.
-It was “legal” for Stalin to exterminate millions of his “enemies”.
-It is “legal” to stone adulterers in Iran.

If you want to make a rational argument, go ahead, I’ll listen. But using “legal” as an absolute is absurd.

jconservative

September 22nd, 2010
2:42 pm

Mr. Barr as you well know there are only abut 400,000 Conservatives in the USA. Everyone else is in the Democratic or Republican branch of the Liberal party. So no, the Tea Party types who say they are conservative do not like this ruling. They believe that government should be able to rule on the appropriateness of any transaction in American society.

The Tea Party has a long list of things they want government to fix.
Where I come from asking the government for help is called Liberalism.

A dad

September 22nd, 2010
2:57 pm

Brad – comparing illegal immigratio to slavery, the Holocaust, Stalin’s atrocities, stoning under Sharia law, etc., is just plain ludicrous. Illegals are not being sold or enslaved or killed. What they are doing, however, is taking potential jobs, consuming benefits (medicare/caid, education, etc.) and services for which they do not contribute a cent. Yes, the pay sales taxes the same as everyone else, but income taxes (non-existent given the underground, cash only economy illegals exist in), driving without insurance, and the lsit goes on, their actual and potential harm far outweighs any argument of what the U’S’ “owes” them or anyone else. Care to frame it as a moral issue? Guess you don’t get out much in the rest of the world. The U.S. righ tnow is in a very precarious state, and if w continue to try and be the world’s caretaker for everything, this country will fall. Sorry, we need to tighten things up and get back on track before we look outside our own borders. And let me guess, yo ualso want to tax the evil rich, right?

Brad

September 22nd, 2010
3:12 pm

Well dad, you missed the point entirely. I was making a comment on hiding behind “legal” as the crowning point of the argument. I was not comparing the immigration situation to the Holocaust or Sharia law, and I don’t believe there is a comparison.

I simply want to hear a rational argument, regardless of which side of the issue you happen to be on. You pointed out areas that concern you that I’m willing to entertain, if you’d like to expound upon them. Flaming me serves no purpose.

Brad

September 22nd, 2010
3:15 pm

“Well dad, you missed the point entirely.” Been a while since I got to use that line, but I hear it from my 16 year old son. :)

retiredds

September 22nd, 2010
3:21 pm

A dad, would you read my post of 2:15 pm. My question to all of those who keep crying “illegal” this or that does not change the equation. Other than feeling good about yelling at “them” nothing of substance changes. So my question remains, why not do something constructive and long lasting like craft a policy to allow those, who qualify under strict but rational guidelines, a path to citizenship? Why is it so difficult to get done? You and I know (at least I hope you do) that deporting all 12 million (or so seems to be the number thrown about) “illegals”will not happen so, again, why not a workable solution as opposed to the angry yelling and screaming that leads nowhere? Or maybe, as I have stated before, maybe it’s just easier to yell and scream and get nowhere.

Rick

September 22nd, 2010
4:39 pm

“since the Hazleton decision is — at its core — actually a reaffirmation of property rights and the right to contract, and it is based on a sound understanding of the proper federalist split of authority between the federal government and state and local governments, as incorporated in our Constitution.”
===========
Well, it’s nice to know that Barr supports renting guns and vehicles to bank robbers, terrorists, or just the local drug dealers. Nothing like “property” rights!

What an idiot! You can use your property in an illegal enterprise!

Rick

September 22nd, 2010
4:49 pm

retiredds September 22nd, 2010 2:15 pm

No one is talking about rounding up illegal aliens. We need to deny them jobs with E-Verify and punish employers who hire them with felony convictions and confiscation of their business assets if E-Verify is not used.

Put a couple of employers in jail for 3 years and taking their business assets (used in an illegal enterprise) will put a stop to hiring illegal aliens and they will return voluntarily to their home countries.

Rick

September 22nd, 2010
4:52 pm

Iconoclast September 22nd, 2010 12:56 pm

Just how would that work with teenagers not providing proof of age to buy alcohol? Innocent until proven guilty? How many judges will we need to station at liquor stores and bars?

Rick

September 22nd, 2010
4:56 pm

Cekker September 22nd, 2010 11:57 am

It’s not the responsibility of Janice to verify their legal status. That would be between the government and the employer! A job the federal government and employers are not doing?

Why aren’t you calling on Obama and the current government to stop illegal immigration? They are actually stopping the deportation of known illegal aliens! It’s not the LAW, it’s Obama’s own policy decision that is not a law and he is not living up to his oath of office to enforce our laws. Obama wants to pick and choose which laws he wants to enforce.

retiredds

September 22nd, 2010
5:07 pm

Rick, the illegals will return to their home countries. I don’t think that solution will work. There is nothing for them in their home countries to go home to. You are speaking about millions, not a few thousand. Remember the adage, “where there is a will there is a way”. They will figure out how to stay. So, let’s get them on the payroll rather that blabbering about what to do with “them”. When they are on the payroll they pay taxes, FICA, etc. etc.

By the way a study has been done (I don’t recall by whom so you can discount it if you want), that by 2020 there will be only 3 payors vs those withdrawing Social Security. If the current “illegals” were to become legal that ratio would almost immediately jump to 4.5 to 1. That’s one way to extend SSI benefits into the future (because you know that no one in this Congress or any future Congress will do anything about reforming or restructuring SS, even if they promise they will). And that’s the problem with elected officials of every party (including the new Tea Party folks), long on promises short on results, and on history I rely for that statement.

retiredds

September 22nd, 2010
5:59 pm

Rick, it seems odd that you are calling out Obama on this. If I recall the prior (Republican) administration tried to offer up a … I have to be careful here because in many circles this is considered a dirty word … “compromise” solution (and no one does that any more as its all or nothing and we usually end up with …. drum roll please … nothing, nada). That administration was excoriated for trying to offer a solution so they backed away. This is not just Obama’s issue, it is yours, mine, and the whole gamut of officials that you and I elect. I remember that both GA Senators were on board with Bush on this and they too got excoriated. Why? Because they were compromising.

Listen, nothing will happen to change things (no matter how much you may wish) unless some form of compromise is achieved. No compromise equals no change. I repeat: no compromise equals no change. So you can complain, whine, yell or whatever. No compromise, no change.

saywhat?

September 22nd, 2010
7:32 pm

I agree with David S. @ 12:14. Do that, and the US can also be the Libertarian paradise that is Somalia. Win-win!

saywhat?

September 22nd, 2010
7:35 pm

I should add that David S. is proved correct in his argument because Somalia has no problem at all with illegal Mexican immigrants. There is not a single one in the whole country.

aladawg

September 23rd, 2010
1:14 am

Bob Barr, you are a liberal idiot.

Cobb Woman of Color

September 23rd, 2010
3:25 am

I have a dream…that as an American, the government will protect my rights before those who illegally enter the country. I have a dream that so-called Blacks leaders will stop going against the opinions of the minority masses who are against illegal immigration. I have a dream that my taxes will not go to the support of families who prey on the system. I have a dream that the impact on Black families due to illegal immigration is duly noted. That is the new Civil Rights movement! Not rights for illegals, but fairness for Americans!

Rick

September 23rd, 2010
5:55 am

retiredds September 22nd, 2010 5:07 pm

I’m not buying your argument. Show me the math! How will adding millions of low skilled, low earning illegal aliens boost the contributions to SS? We have other much better ways to shore up SS, like making all earning subject to the SS tax (no limits) and/or raising (slightly) the retirement age to match the longevity of US citizens.

Many illegal aliens work in the cash economy and come from a culture where getting around the rules (entering the US illegally for one) is a time-tested tradition.

Again, show me how adding 20 million workers earning $25,000 a year will help things here in the US when they pop out 5 kids that cost US taxpayers $10,000 a year (each) to educate for 13 years of that child’s life. You just aren’t looking at the total picture. The cost to educate the children of illegal aliens in Georgia alone is $1 Billion dollars! They will continue to send money home… as long as they have relatives that they haven’t managed to obtain visas for further “famial” immigration (only making the problem worst).

Illegal aliens are a net drain on US. In future generations their offspring make support SS, but we don’t need a larger population. Jobs will increasing be taken over by technological innovations and we will not need as many workers. At this point, new jobs are going to low wage countries…why do we want to add to our labor force?

retiredds

September 23rd, 2010
9:40 am

Rick, I said I don’t remember the article so, no, I don’t have the math and I would be interested in your sources for the figures you state above. But I will give you this one to think about. Right now, according to you, they are a cost center (if I may use a corporate term). If they become legal, most, but not all, will become an earnings center. While the net still might be minus, it wont’ be all minus.

You claim that illegal aliens are a net drain on the US. As currently structured that is correct. If there were a path to citizenship that could be reversed. And you have never answered my question (which I am asking again), what’s wrong with that?

I still posit, to keep with the same failed policy that we have now (that’s costing billions to enforce), is just that, a failure. So I ask another question, that I hope you will address, why continue with a failed policy?

You can reply if you want, but I am done with this one as I think I have made my position clear. If it does not meet with your approval we can just leave it that since we live in this great country your entitled to your opinion and I am mine.

tommytwotone@hotmail.com

September 23rd, 2010
9:59 am

Oh, well just look at Bob Barr raising his nose at the Tea Party. What a shock.

Here’s a newsflash Bobbo: we don’t need armchair “conservatives” like you anymore. You’re obsolete. We’re getting rid of establishment “republicans” like you, which is probably why just couldn’t resist inserting that little snipe into your article.

I think the fact that you’d actually write for a communist rag like the AJC says it all, and we all know where your true loyalties lie.

Have fun writing your stupid column, you un-electable twit.

retiredds

September 23rd, 2010
10:20 am

tommy…. You’re getting a little excited, aren’t you. You might need to go into another room and take a sedative.

You also might want to wait until the November elections are final as your TP candidates haven’t won yet. If they do, then you can celebrate. But as I wrote on KW’s blog, if the TP candidates get elected they will then have to run for reelection and to whom do you think they will be beholden to? Think big $$$ people and special interest groups?

Jefferson

September 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

tea republicans are still replublicans, they just know republicans have no credibility and think they cans change it, but republicans have no credibilty.