Book on Ha­zle­ton’s im­mi­gra­tion is­sues takes home award

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - HAZLETON - By KENT JACK­SON Staff Writer kjack­son@stan­dard­

“Un­doc­u­mented Fears,” a book that so­ci­ol­o­gist Jamie Longazel wrote about the Il­le­gal Im­mi­gra­tion Re­lief Act in his home­town of Ha­zle­ton, won an award from the North Cen­tral So­ci­o­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

The as­so­ci­a­tion will present its 2017 Schol­arly Achieve­ment Award to Longazel, an as­sis­tant so­ci­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Day­ton, dur­ing its an­nual con­fer­ence in In­di­anapo­lis on March 31 and April 1.

“Un­doc­u­mented Fears” re­counts the mur­der of Derek Kich­line in May 2006 and other events that led then-Mayor Lou Bar­letta to pro­mote — and Ha­zle­ton City Coun­cil to en­act — the im­mi­gra­tion act. The law prompted heated de­bate in­side coun­cil cham­bers, ig­nited protests out­side City Hall and brought na­tional me­dia to Ha­zle­ton.

A court chal­lenge blocked the law and led Ha­zle­ton to pay $1.32 mil­lion for its op­po­nents’ le­gal costs.

Longazel also puts Ha­zle­ton’s 40-year slide in man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs and the por­trayal of new, Latino and Latina res­i­dents as shad­owy threats to peace.and pros­per­ity in Ha­zle­ton into a na­tional con­text.

The con­clu­sion of “Un­doc­u­mented Fears” re­caps the 1897 Lat­timer Mas­sacre of striking coal min­ers by a posse armed by coal barons. Longazel com­pares how coal barons di­vided min­ers by eth­nic­ity then with cur­rent pol­i­tics that split work­ing­class whites from Lati­nos.

White and Latino work­ers, he said, have more in com­mon with each other than they do with the own­ers of the fac­to­ries and dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ters where they work.

Groups like the Ha­zle­ton In­te­gra­tion Project, Longazel writes, seek to unify whites and Lati­nos and pro­vide so­cial ser­vices that they need with­out trig­ger­ing a back­lash for chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo from which cor­po­ra­tions profit.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama made a sim­i­lar point in his farewell speech Tues­day when he said: “If ev­ery eco­nomic is­sue is framed as a strug­gle be­tween a hard­work­ing white mid­dle class and an un­de­serv­ing mi­nor­ity, then work­ers of all shades are go­ing to be left fight­ing for scraps while the wealthy with­draw fur­ther into their pri­vate en­claves.”


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