Former Hazleton, Pennsylvania mayor and current U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R, PA-11) revealed to Reuters today the he does not regret proposing an anti-immigrant housing ordinance that could cost the city up to $2.8 million in legal fees. In March 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed previous rulings by lower courts that Hazleton’s ordinance was unconstitutional.
“I took an oath of office to protect the people in my city,” Barletta said in an interview. “I don’t regret it.”
The $2.8 million in potential legal fees represents nearly a third of Hazleton’s annual budget, Reuters reports.
Barletta is a member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) advisory board in addition to serving as a Member of Congress. In its May 2007 newsletter, FAIR noted that its legal affiliate, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), “worked closely with Hazleton officials to craft the ordinance and to defend it against legal challenges in court.” IRLI counsel and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach served as Hazleton’s lead attorney.
Kobach drafted and defended a similar anti-immigrant housing ordinance in Farmer’s Branch, Texas. The ordinance was also declared unconstitutional and ultimately cost the city nearly $6 million in legal fees.