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