Saturday, May 16, 2009
Jacqueline Wolfert (J.D. 2009, Pittsburgh) has published Note, Reality vs. Rhetoric: Lozano v. Hazleton and the State and Local Tax Contributions Made by Undocumented Immigrants, 6 Pitt. Tax Rev. 83 (2008). Here is part of the Conclusion:
The recent controversy in Hazleton, Pennsylvania demonstrates the disconnect between the rhetoric used by public officials to target undocumented immigrants and the actual tax contributions made by this population to state and local governments. For many of these officials, using a scapegoat has proved to be a politically effective strategy in rallying taxpayers around a common threat. Unfortunately, by using this rhetoric, not only are officials not accurately representing the facts, but they also stigmatize the larger immigrant community, both undocumented and otherwise.
It is instructive to examine the course of action taken by local leaders, particularly those in large urban areas with significant undocumented immigrant populations, who have not made the same conclusions as Mayor Barletta of Hazleton when examining the facts available. Increased expenditures as a consequence of a growing immigrant constituency have not encouraged these cities to consider anti-immigration legislation. ...
The current immigration structure places a heavy burden on state and local governments to provide essential services to all people within their borders, without substantial compensation from the federal government. Rather than go the Hazleton route and enact unconstitutional ordinances that financially and psychologically harm valuable members of their communities, local and state governments should work with the federal system to increase funding allocations based on the immigration enforcement burden in their area.