Former U.S. Representative Lou Barletta began his anti-immigrant crusade when he served as mayor of Hazleton, PA, where he teamed up with Kris Kobach to introduce a number of anti-immigrant city ordinances in a package as part of the anti-immigrant movement’s attrition through enforcement campaign. Barletta went on to serve on FAIR’s board of advisors and has openly praised both NumbersUSA and CIS. The FAIR Board of Advisors member once stated that his 2006 Hazleton effort was inspired by self-described “proud nationalist” Joseph Turner. Turner pushed a similar effort in San Bernardino, California in order to prevent the state from becoming, as he claimed, a “Third World Cesspool.”
- Former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) served in Congress from 2011 to 2019.
- He previously served as mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he implemented and defended a draconian anti-immigrant housing ordinance, which had been devised by Kris Kobach, formerly of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), in 2006. As a congressman, Barletta continued to champion the organized anti-immigrant movement and made no secret of his support for its work.
- A federal judge ultimately ruled that the ordinance was unconstitutional, and ordered Hazleton to pay $1.4 million to attorneys who challenged the law. Barletta showed no remorse for city taxpayers following the ruling.
- In a sign of his strong relationship with the organized anti-immigrant movement, Barletta joined FAIR’s advisory board and remains a member today.
- In June 2018, Barletta defended the Trump Administration’s family separation policy saying: “In America, we have laws. Should you or I commit a criminal act this afternoon after we’re done with this interview, we’re going to be separated from our families…Remember, why people come to the country illegally is because we’re not enforcing the laws. So if people knew when they came here what would happen, we would not have this situation.”
- In addition to FAIR, Barletta has praised the work and counsel of NumbersUSA. “I rely on NumbersUSA whenever there’s an immigration-related bill in the House,” he told MSNBC in 2013. ”I like to get their input and their opinion on pending legislation, and I like to hear what they have to say about immigration-related bills and amendments I’m considering offering.”
- Barletta lauded the publication of a report by anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) in 2014, claiming that the release of the report should be referred to as “the day immigration reform died.”
- Barletta was a recipient of funding from Tanton’s political action committee USIRPAC in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. He was a featured speaker at the 2011 Writer’s Workshop of The Social Contract Press, an annual event organized by Tanton’s U.S., Inc., and is a regular attendee at FAIR’s annual immigrant-bashing “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event.
- In 2016, Barletta did an interview with anti-Semitic tabloid American Free Press, which is a publication that promotes Holocaust denial. During the interview Barletta talked about his ordinance in Hazleton crafted with the help of Kobach.
- In 2009, he spoke at a conference hosted by the now-defunct group The American Cause, whose leadership were active in white nationalist circles. American Cause’s executive director was previously charged with drunkenly assaulting an African-American woman after using a racial slur against her.
- Barletta made attacking immigrants a focal point of his 2018 Senate bid, and went so far as to send out a mailer stating that “America is at war,” and described some immigration measures as encouraging murder and terrorism.
- In 2006, as mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Barletta implemented a draconian anti-immigrant housing ordinance, devised by Kris Kobach. While in Congress, Barletta worked to derail bipartisan immigration reform and was a major force behind House Republicans attacks on Dreamers and the DACA program.
- In 2013, as Congress was considering an immigration compromise, Barletta joined Rep. Brooks, Rep. Lamar Smith and Senator Sessions on a CIS teleconference to argue against it.
- The Pennsylvania Congressman supports revoking birthright citizenship as laid out in the 14th Amendment and cosponsored Rep. King’s H.R.140, the Birthright Citizenship Act four times in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, which would eliminate granting automatic citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented parents.
- Barletta has attacked Dreamers for years, including introducing a piece of legislation titled the Defense of Legal Workers Act of 2017, which would prohibit DACA recipients from receiving work authorization.
- Barletta voted in favor of legislation that would defund DACA and subject the program’s recipients to immediate deportation.
- In the summer of 2014, Barletta voted with Reps. Blackburn and King to pass a bill that would have halted DACA. Barletta released a statement congratulating himself saying that he, “played a key role” in stopping a “non-deportation policy in its tracks”