"Illegal immigration is draining our city's budget, and therefore, as a mayor, I took an oath of office to protect and defend our citizens — and that's what we're going to do," says Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta.
Barletta is defending the "Illegal Immigration Relief Act," passed by the City Council last summer in response to a sharp spike in crime attributed mostly to illegal immigrants. The city ordinance would fine landlords who rent to "illegals" or employers who hire them.
Demonstrators have decried the measure as both illegal and racist. Longtime residents say it has created tension in town. Some Latino families have moved out.
The matter is now before a federal judge in Scranton. The ACLU claims only the federal government can enact immigration law, while the city is arguing it has legal jurisdiction.
Whichever side wins, cities and towns across the country are watching. At least 30 municipalities have already passed a similar ordinance, and 70 more are considering one.
For now, all sides in Hazleton agree on one thing: When it comes to illegal immigration, one resident notes, "The truth of the matter is for years and years we have a system that is broke and it has to be fixed."
The trial could take two weeks.