I recently asked both candidates running for the 11th CD seat about their thoughts on the Hazleton immigration controversy. Paul Kanjorski has not responded yet but Dr. Joseph F. Leonardi the Republican Candidate gives us his thoughts:
I would like to take this opportunity to applaud Hazelton Mayor, Lou Barletta, for stepping up to the plate on the illegal immigration issue. He has taken the initiative at a time when others have ignored blatant violations of U.S. law, specifically those who enter this country illegally and those Americans who hire illegal aliens. Most recently, the mayor stepped up to the plate again, ensuring that Hazletonâ's police department will have additional training to properly enforce the city's new ordinance as certified immigration enforcement agents.
A section of Hazelton's new ordinance requires city business to be conducted in English only, it has provoked some critics of Mayor Barletta to use insulting and inflammatory terminology in an unjust effort to degrade his character. Their efforts, I feel, are intended to bolster their own political agenda.
There is a side benefit arising from the English only provision these same critics have failed to mention--- a benefit that will directly affect those that have legally entered our country. At a town meeting in Hazleton, as reported in one of the local newspapers "Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak said English classes would be made available for everyone." It seems that Mayor Barletta's courage has sparked Luzerne County to take positive action for our hard working, deserving, legal immigrant community.
I have always been concerned about people who enter this country then choose not to learn the English language. My father, at the age of 30, in 1963, immigrated to this country from Italy. Over time, he learned his new country's language. While his proficiency wasn't such that he could have written "the great American novel," he ably functioned in society, and eventually earned his U.S. citizenship. The fact that government documents were not translated into my Dad's native tongue did not hamper his ability to earn a living, raise a family, develop his own business and exercise his right to vote.
Violation of our borders is a genuine cause for concern. It is a problem that has not been adequately addressed at any governmental level. Consequently, mayors are being forced to protect their citizens from criminal violations that compromise U.S. Sovereignty.
For this reason, since announcing my candidacy for the U.S. House last August, I am extremely outspoken on strengthening all of our borders, not just our southern border. The problems that accompany illegal immigration demand re-enforced border security. I pledge that I am, and will remain, wholeheartedly committed to this cause.
I am a strong believer in legal immigration into the United States. Obviously, had it not been for legal immigration I would not be in the position I am in now--- running for the office of U.S. Representative to represent all citizens in the Pennsylvania 11th district.
3 hours ago