SANCTUARY CITIES AND STATES
NEBRASKA IS NOT A SANCTUARY STATE
Fremont takes on illegal immigration
By JEAN ORTIZ / The Associated Press, July 18, 2008
OMAHA — A Nebraska city is the latest community to try its hand at regulating illegal immigration — a job traditionally reserved for federal officials.
A proposed ordinance introduced by the Fremont City Council earlier this month and set for decision in late August would force prospective renters to prove they’re not illegal immigrants before becoming tenants in the city. A city councilman also has asked to make the measure prohibit hiring illegal immigrants.
Supporters say the law is needed to enforce federal rules they believe are falling by the wayside in the city of 25,000. Opponents of the measure say it could divide the community and prompt expensive legal challenges.
Council curbs proposed illegal immigrant ordinance
By Don Bowen/Fremont Tribune, June 11, 2008
Members of the Fremont City Council opted to hold off on a proposed ordinance that would target illegal immigrants.
Council members tabled the proposed ordinance Tuesday night until at least the July 8 meeting, but the council’s president said he wasn’t interested in having an ordinance aimed at illegal immigrants brought before the council if the city attorney thinks it will land them in court.
Johanns advocates 'fair but tough' immigration policy
By Robert Pore for The Grand Island Independent, May 28, 2008
GRAND ISLAND — In The Grand Island Independent's "Question of the Day" on Tuesday, the paper asked readers, "What issue most concerns you right now?"
Despite gas prices closing in on $4 per gallon in Grand Island and the Iraq and Afghanistan war, which is now in its sixth year, readers responding to the question listed immigration by 51 percent as today's most pressing issue. (Results reprinted on page 2 today.)
In visiting with The Independent's editorial board on Wednesday, Republican Senate candidate Mike Johanns advocated what he calls a "tough but very fair approach to immigration."
Neb. AG refuses to sue for immigrants' fair housing rights
By NATE JENKINS for the AP, 5/1/08
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Anne Hobbs was angry. The head of the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission had just learned of a Hispanic couple who said their landlord asked for their driver's licenses — but didn't ask the same of non-Hispanic tenants.
Hobbs said it sounded like the couple were "treated differently than everybody else because of national origin," and sent the case to the state's top prosecutor, hoping he would sue on their behalf under fair housing laws.
When Attorney General Jon Bruning received the case, he was angry, too — for a different reason than Hobbs.
"I'm not going to use taxpayer dollars to file lawsuits for illegal aliens," said Bruning after learning the couple was in the U.S. illegally. "You're not going to get a free lawyer" from his office, he said, "if you're not a citizen of this country."
Critics say Bruning's legal rationale is so off-base that he may end up in court after all — and not as a prosecutor. Immigration activists suggest they may be laying the groundwork for a first-of-its kind lawsuit, with Bruning as the defendant.
Bruning, a Republican who has made no secret of his ambition for higher office, argues that the federal 1996 welfare reform law prohibits him from providing legal services to illegal immigrants. He points to a section that says only legal residents should get state or local public benefits. The law defines them to include welfare, disability and health services.
G.I. hosts immigration clinic
By Harold Reutter for the Grand Island Independent, 4/3/08
By mid-morning Wednesday, more than 50 people had come to Trinity United Methodist Church to talk to immigration officials with the Department of Homeland Security about various immigration cases.
The Grand Island clinic was requested by the Multicultural Coalition in Grand Island and arranged by U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson's office.
Many people came with manilla envelopes filled with immigration papers to ask about the progress of their own immigration cases, which usually take years to play out, with many individual steps along the way, before they can become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Some people also had questions about relatives whom they might want to bring to this country, said Odalys Perez, executive director of the Multicultural Coalition.
Gov. Heineman refuses to drop the in-state tuition law repeal from immigration bill, a condition given to revive it
By Leslie Reed, World-Herald Bureau, 3/2/08
LINCOLN - The chairman of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee now says he will not try to revive Gov. Dave Heineman's bill targeting illegal immigration - unless the governor agrees to retain a law that allows undocumented immigrants to attend college at resident tuition rates.
"I am not going to waste the committee's time," State Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha said Friday.
"It's not the kind of policy I can support. We provide educational opportunity to these children through high school, and they're paying tuition (to the colleges).
"If they can find a way to stay in the state, they could be productive citizens of Nebraska. It's worth the investment."
Group to look into U.S. raids on Swift plants
By the AP, 2/24/08
A new group that includes former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and the president of a labor union that sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to renew investigations of the agency's behavior during immigration raids on a number of workplaces, including in Nebraska and Iowa.
The group of experts and leaders in law, labor and civil rights will be led by Joseph Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. The group plans to report any findings of misconduct to Congress this summer.
Its members plan to hold hearings across the country to investigate how Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducts operations at workplaces and the consequences the raids have on workers' lives.
New panel to report on possible ICE misconduct to Congress
By OSKAR GARCIA for the AP, 2/22/08
OMAHA — A new group that includes a former governor and the president of a labor union that sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to renew investigations of the agency’s tactics during workplace immigration raids.
The group of experts and leaders in law, labor and civil rights includes former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and will be led by Joseph Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. They plan to report any findings of misconduct to Congress this summer.
“Everything that I learned in grade school and high school ... is being trampled on by ICE and it just needs exposure,” Hansen said Friday. The group plans to hold hearings across the country to investigate how ICE conducts operations at workplaces and the consequences they have on workers’ lives.