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Fremont’s Illegal Immigration Fight: Half Right?

By   /   June 30, 2010  /   News  /   8 Comments

One week following Fremont’s get tough vote on illegal immigration, a top state lawmaker believes voters in the now nationally talked-up Dodge County town were at least half right.  

State Senator Brad Ashford, the chairman of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, tells Nebraska Watchdog the courts are far more likely to look favorably on the “employment piece of the Fremont ordinance that the renter piece.”

On June 21st by a margin of 57% to 43% Fremont adopted a controversial two prong measure prohibiting employers from hiring illegal immigrants and stopping landlords from renting to them.

In an interview with Nebraska Watchdog, Ashford also downplayed allegations by some of Fremont’s critics who contend the vote was a racist attack against Hispanics. According to Ashford he “can’t look into the hearts of everybody” but he is convinced the majority of Nebraskans simply want the federal government to protect the borders and enforce the immigration laws already on the books.

Moments after the final results in Fremont were in, the head of the Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced that the ACLU will file a lawsuit challenging the ordinance as soon as possible. According to Laurel Marsh, the Executive Director of ACLU Nebraska, “If this law goes into effect, it will cause discrimination and racial profiling against Latinos and others who appear to be foreign born, including U.S. citizens.” The ACLU boasts that similar ordinances have been struck down by courts in at least three states: California, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Meanwhile State Senator Charlie Janssen of Fremont continues to consider statewide legislation similar to the landmark anti-illegal immigration law in Arizona. Janssen says, “The road ahead will not be easy. Outside interests and influences will be there at every turn, playing upon the fears of citizens.”

Ashford says he expects other senators will also be pushing immigration legislation when the Unicameral returns to the State Capitol in January. But according to Ashford “employment is the key” to solving the problem. He points to a recent case in Iowa as proof that employers who hire illegal immigrants can be held accountable. 

The same day voters in Fremont were going to the polls a federal judge announced that Sholom Rubashkin was going to prison for 27 years. Rubashkin was the former manager of a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa where hundreds of illegal immigrant workers were arrested during a 2008 raid. 

According to the New York Times nearly 400 immigrants who worked in the plant, most from Guatemala, served federal prison sentences of up to five months for identity theft and were deported.

But prosecutors did not send Rubashkin away because of illegal immigration. Rubashkin was convicted of financial fraud.

Editor’s note: to subscribe free of charge to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog click here

Editor’s note: to see Nebraska Watchdog’s video report on the Fremont vote click here

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org


Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • http://www.nebraskansadvisorygroup.org Susan Smith

    Interesting change of heart by Sen Ashford because in past articles and interveiws he has blown the racist/hatemongering trumpet against citizens who oppose ILLEGAL immigration.

    It’s too bad the emotion and outrage he and other senators show when illegal aliens benefits and services are cut DOES NOT EQUAL their concern for Nebraskans. Time will tell and so will his votes and floor comments.

  • jazzee

    Why anyone cares what Ashford thinks is silly to me. I don’t trust his new turn around and of course, it has to do with the employers so that explains why he likes it. Ashford is another bleeding heart……….

  • http://oneoutinthethird.blogspot.com/ One Out In The Third

    Sorry…I couldn’t restrain myself…Let me be the first to say “Shalom” to Sholom. I will send he same farewell wish to any business that doesn’t E-Verify all potential employees.

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  • http://www.popomark@cox.net D Mark

    Sen. Ashford has always sounded pro illegal immigration. He spent one summer studying immigration and put out LR 362, Judiciary Committee Interim Study Report on Immigration dtd December 11, 2008.

    He knows illegal immigrants are in NE and as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee does nothing about them. So to hear him say anything about illegals really means nothing.

  • C

    Call me stupid, but I just get confused by this..does illegal really mean legal? Are they going to have to eventually vote on a law to enforce the law that is to enforce the law?? If the law is so unbelievably wrong, then why don’t they fight to change it?? You know this just sucks, since I would love to go down to the mall and steal a bunch of stuff

  • C

    And I don’t mean changing the law by giving everyone amnesty and having open borders and saying everyone is all good , that would be too easy, but changing the law to find some sort of halfway agreement

  • C

    And this law ( if it is taken seriously) seems to be a good halfway..no one is shipping busloads of people back to Mexico