The ordinance, scheduled to be put before the voters of Fremont in a special election on Monday, would require renters in the city to obtain an occupancy license before they could move into an apartment or house. As part of the application process, the would-be renter's immigration status would be checked. The ordinance would also require employers in the city to double-check the status of their employees against the federal E-Verify immigration database.
The protesters who came out for the rally in a local park denounced the ordinance as racist. One protester, 17-year-old Valeria Marquez, told KPTM Fox-42 TV, "We don't want division, especially towards Mexican and Hispanics where there has been a lot more racism."
Others in the city called the ordinance a necessary move in the face of Federal inaction on illegal immigration. "If the government doesn't want to do anything, it's up to the state, and if they don't, it's up to the city," Andy Schnatz, one of the early supporters of the petition drive that got the ordinance placed on the ballot, told Fox-42.
According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, Dodge County, Neb., whose county seat is Fremont, has gradually lost population since 1990, as is the case for many rural counties in the northern and central Plains states. Figures for the period from 2000 to 2004 -- the latest available on the Census Bureau site -- indicate that only 153 residents of Dodge County had immigrated from abroad during that period, a figure more than offset by net domestic out-migration.
Written by Sandy Smith
Source: KPTM Fox 42, Omaha