Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nebraska Town Making Immigration Policy..

Arizona isn’t the only jurisdiction taking the fight against illegal immigration into its own hands.

Fremont, Nebraska–a place most of you have probably never heard of–voted yesterday to ban illegal immigrants from renting property or landing a job in the 25,000-person town, the AP reports. The law requires town officials to evaluate the citizenship status of any person renting property, while employers must check the status of would-be hires using a federal database.

The vote could make the Cornhusker state meatpacking town the latest battleground in a national fight over immigration ignited in April by an Arizona law that would allow law enforcement officials to stop people they think might be in the country illegally.

The ACLU has already vowed a court challenge to the Fremont law, with the head of the group’s Nebraska branch decrying the measure as a violation of federal law. The Fremont ordinance, she said, is “completely out of step with American values of fairness and equality.”

Some town residents interviewed by the AP had a different take. “I don’t think it’s right to be able to rent to [illegal immigrants] or hire them,” said Trevor McClurg. “They shouldn’t be here in the first place.”

But if past experience is any guide, McClurg may be out of luck. Federal courts have a track record of rejecting similar ordinances, including a Hazleton, Pennsylvania provision that would have penalized landlords and businesses for dealing with illegal immigrants, according to the AP. And a federal judge also rejected a Farmers Branch, Texas ban on renting to those in the country illegally.

By Clifford M. Marks

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