In anal­y­sis, pro­fes­sor at­tacks Bar­letta’s push against sanc­tuar y cities

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - By KELLY MONITZ Staff Writer Bar­letta

A Penn State Ha­zle­ton pro­fes­sor pub­lished a news anal­y­sis about U.S. Rep. Lou Bar­letta, R-11, Ha­zle­ton, and his leg­is­la­tion to stop the flow of fed­eral funds to sanc­tu­ary cities, re­count­ing the city’s bat­tle with il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and call­ing Ha­zle­ton “Nazi City USA.”

Shane Ral­ston, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of phi­los­o­phy, sub­mit­ted the ar­ti­cle, head­lined “For­mer Mayor of ‘Nazi City USA’ Pushes Leg­is­la­tion to De­fund Sanc­tu­ary Cities,” to Truthout, the web­site of a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing in­de­pen­dent news and com­men­tary, ac­cord­ing to its Face­book page.

“It’s out­ra­geous that an em­ployee of a pub­licly funded uni­ver­sity would use such in­flam­ma­tory lan­guage on such an ex­treme, fringe web­site,” Bar­letta said in a state­ment. “To write such deroga­tory things about the com­mu­nity in which he lives and works is an in­sult to the peo­ple who call Ha­zle­ton home.”

The con­gress­man be­lieves Ral­ston, who he re­ferred to as a “lib­eral col­lege pro­fes­sor,” was in the mi­nor­ity and that he stands with “the law-abid­ing cit­i­zens of Ha­zle­ton in be­ing proud of our home­town.”

Penn State Ha­zle­ton Chan­cel­lor Dr. Gary Lawler, asked to com­ment, said the views ex­pressed in the ar­ti­cle are Ral­ston’s only.

“While we rec­og­nize the right to freely ex­press thoughts and opin­ions, the fac­ulty mem­ber’s opin­ion does not re­flect those of the uni­ver­sity. Ha­zle­ton is a di­verse com­mu­nity with many groups work­ing to build a uni­fied and in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment,” Lawler said in a state­ment re­leased Fri­day through the Of­fice of Uni­ver­sity Re­la­tions.

Ral­ston’s ar­ti­cle re­counts how Ha­zle­ton’s mayor in­tro­duced the Il­le­gal Im­mi­gra­tion Re­lief Act, which would have fined busi­ness own­ers and land­lords for em­ploy­ing or hous­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants, and how the law, which was struck down af­ter roughly a decade in the courts, dis­crim­i­nated against Latino res­i­dents and cod­i­fied anti-Latino sen­ti­ment.

In the ar­ti­cle, Ral­ston pointed to a pas­sage by a writer in Los An­ge­les who de­scribed the racism that grew in Ha­zle­ton un­der Bar­letta’s guid­ance and earned the city the nick­name, “Nazi City USA.”

Bar­letta, who has lived in Ha­zle­ton his en­tire life, said he knows that Ha­zle­ton is a wel­com­ing com­mu­nity and the growth of the Latino pop­u­la­tion is proof.

“The fact is, the le­gal His­panic pop­u­la­tion of Ha­zle­ton has con­tin­ued to grow ever since we ad­dressed il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion more than 10 years ago, a phe­nom­e­non which would not hap­pen if peo­ple thought our town was an in­hos­pitable place,” he said. “It is a city that re­spects the rule of law, and we have learned hard lessons about what hap­pens when we don’t.”

Ral­ston’s ar­ti­cle states that Ha­zle­ton res­i­dents — An­glo and Latino — were left with a $1 mil­lion bill for at­tor­neys’ fees while Bar­letta used his fame to land a seat in Congress. He ques­tioned the eco­nomic fate of sanc­tu­ary cities if Bar­letta can use his in­flu­ence to push through his Mo­bi­liz­ing Against Sanc­tu­ary Cities Act, HR 83.

The leg­is­la­tion would stop the flow of fed­eral funds to state or cities that re­sist or ban en­force­ment of fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion laws or refuse to co­op­er­ate with im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials.

Bar­letta said his po­si­tions on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion are pro-im­mi­grant, as they pro­tect le­gal im­mi­grants, who shouldn’t have to com­pete for jobs, ser­vices and qual­ity of life with peo­ple who en­tered the coun­try il­le­gally.

“I would also sug­gest to the col­lege pro­fes­sor that if he finds Ha­zle­ton so ob­jec­tion­able, I’m sure he can seek em­ploy­ment in some other com­mu­nity that bet­ter suits his pol­i­tics — Berke­ley or San Fran­cisco, Cal­i­for­nia, come to mind,” Bar­letta said.

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