Fremont, NE, has made a move to become the first and only city to banish illegal immigrants — making the town the antithesis to famous sanctuary cities like San Francisco. The controversial law proposes a city ordinance that goes a step further than other city bans and will outlaw harboring and renting to illegal immigrants. The potential effect of the law is huge as the town, just west of Omaha, contains a Hormel Foods processing plant that relies on immigrant labor.
The longtime councilman who sponsored the proposal said that his constituents were "sick and tired" of the federal governments lax enforcement of immigration laws, and that he'll, "fight to the dying end to do what they want." To see what happened in the debate, read more.
The meeting to discuss the ordinance this week turned tense — some left because they thought there wasn't adequate security and one opponent of the ordinance burst into tears over the "hateful" statements.
A spokesman for the Nebraska Mexican-American Commission said the council proceedings "degraded" the dialogue over immigration laws, while a council member said, "people expressed their opinions. That is a given right in the United States of America."
Should a town be able to pass an ordinance that bans the renting of housing to illegal immigrants — and is it enforceable? Will the measure serve to strengthen the federal measures, or just provide an economic blow to the local factory? Is this a case of a city stepping in to fill a void left by the federal government?