Nebraska law would crack down on illegal immigrants

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: The latest crackdown on illiegal immigration could come from Nebraska. A town there is holding a special election today
on a law designed to make life harder for undocumented workers. From NET Radio in Nebraska, Fred Knapp reports.


Fred Knapp: Fremont's a community of about 25,000 people in eastern Nebraska, with several meatpacking plants. In the 1990s, those plants began to attact Hispanic immigrant workers. John Wiegert says that's increased costs for law enforcement and schools. He's a leading supporter of the ordinance, which would prohibit companies from hiring or property owners from renting to illegal immigrants:

John Wiegert: If you make it illegal to hire illegal aliens or if you can't rent to them and you can't harbor em, why would they stay around town?

But opponents like Kristin Ostrom say supporters are driven by fear, and she says immigrants are a tiny minority in Fremont.

Kristin Ostrom: When we bust the myths, we know that almost 8 percent of our community are Hispanic. A majority of those people are citizens, U.S. citizens.

If the ordinance passes, opponents have vowed a lawsuit. Fremont officials who tried to keep the measure off the ballot in the first place say it could cost at least $3 million to defend the law.

From Fremont, Neb., I'm Fred Knapp for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...