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.
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Reported by Joe Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org