Archive for Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nebraska city hires Kobach to fight illegal immigration ordinance lawsuits

July 28, 2010


— A Nebraska city suspended its voter-approved ban on hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants, but opponents still want a federal judge to block the ordinance until all legal fights are resolved.

Groups challenging the ordinance are expected in court Wednesday, a day after the Fremont City Council voted to suspended the ban. City officials said delaying the ordinance would save the city money as it fights lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund.

Council members also unanimously decided Tuesday to hire Kansas-based attorney and law professor Kris Kobach, who drafted the ordinance and offered to represent Fremont for free to fight the lawsuits. Kobach also helped write Arizona's new controversial immigration law and is one of three Republican candidates running for Kansas Secretary of State.

The groups, which call the ban discriminatory, along with attorneys for the city will ask a federal judge to block the ordinance pending a final court resolution, the ACLU said in a statement after Tuesday's vote.

"We're relieved that the Fremont City Council will suspend this discriminatory ordinance while it's being litigated," said Amy Miller, the ACLU of Nebraska's legal director. "It was a responsible decision that will spare residents of Fremont from worrying about losing housing and jobs because of their appearance and accent pending a final resolution by the court."

The ordinance has put Fremont on the list with Arizona and other places in the national debate over immigration regulations.The city council voted 8-0 to delay the ban at a meeting late Tuesday that attracted about 100 people, and some told council members that the ordinance has already led to divisiveness.

"This law is not yet in effect, but it is increasing conflict and discrimination," Lesley Velez, 20, of Fremont said.

But others said the council shouldn't second-guess voters.

"The citizens of Fremont have spoken. We should not delay this," said Terry Flanagan, a Fremont resident who supports the ban.

The council narrowly rejected the ban in 2008, prompting supporters to gather enough signatures for the ballot measure. Voters approved the ban last month and it was scheduled to take effect Thursday.

Kobach said before the vote Tuesday that if the council delayed implementation, it would mean fewer court hearings over the lawsuits and make the process shorter and cheaper for the city. He didn't immediately return a message after the vote.

Fremont, about 30 miles northwest of Omaha, is among a handful of Nebraska cities that have seen marked demographic changes primarily because of an influx Hispanic workers at meatpacking plants. And illegal immigration has stirred strong opinions among its 25,000 residents.

The ordinance has divided the community between those who say it makes up for what they call lax federal law enforcement and others who argue it could fuel discrimination.

Although council members have insisted that any suspension would be aimed at saving money, some ban supporters remained skeptical.

"They see it as another attempt by the city to block this ordinance," said Jerry Hart, a Fremont resident who petitioned for the ballot measure but supported the suspension based on Kobach's suggestion.

City officials have estimated Fremont's costs of implementing the ordinance — including legal fees, employee overtime and improved computer software — would average $1 million a year.

Fremont's ordinance would require employers to use a federal online system that checks whether a person is permitted to work in the U.S.

It also would require people seeking to rent property to apply for a $5 permit at City Hall. Those who said they were citizens would receive a permit and would not have to provide documents proving legal status. Those who said they weren't citizens would receive permits, but their legal status would be checked. If they're found to be in the country illegally and are unable to resolve their status, they would be forced to leave the property.

Landlords who knowingly rent to illegal immigrants could be subject to $100 fines.

Arizona's law, which is set to take effect Thursday, directs officers to question people about their immigration status during the enforcement of other laws such as traffic stops and if there's a reasonable suspicion they're in the U.S. illegally.


Boston_Corbett 7 years, 9 months ago

Kobach offered similar "free services" in drafting an ordinance for a city in Texas recently.

That city has ended up paying more than $4 million to defend their ordinance.

And Kobach personally pocketed $100,000. Some definition of "free."

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 9 months ago

Interesting that there is no action whatsoever by these Nebraska towns to heavily penalize or otherwise affect the operations of these meat-packing plants for hiring illegal aliens. You have to have your head shoved pretty far up your backside not to see how to really solve the problem here.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 9 months ago

The nearby meat-packing plant is not located in Freemont. What exactly do you propose the city to do to "heavily penalize" these plants which would be appropriate or legal?

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 9 months ago

Knowing your teabagger leanings you probably don't understand the difference between a singular reference (i.e. City of Freemont) and the reference to multiple cities in the article (i.e. "among a handful of Nebraska cities"). I'll accept your deficiency and somehow treat you as "differently-abled".

lounger 7 years, 9 months ago

namevitavresnoc you had better clean your nose off. Its kida brown about now...

lounger 7 years, 9 months ago

Yeah...can we get back to reality now...

orbiter 7 years, 9 months ago

"This small town is showing some real Americanism"

hmm. Local law enforcement removing people of their homes for misdemeanor crimes (not even under the purview of local governments) is where you find your pride in America? It is fascinating that your ideal view of Americanism includes local governments arbitrarily picking a law not under their jurisdiction to de facto enforce, and then having police remove people from their homes as punishment. Nice idea of America you have there.

What other misdemeanors not under local purview do you think local governments should begin to de facto enforce? And is having police remove people from their homes the punishment for all of these crimes?

DeAnn Seib 7 years, 9 months ago

If you want to solve the illegal immigration problem, then penalize the businesses that hire them. If they can't work here, they won't come here. However, expect your food costs to rise, small businesses to fail, and foreclosures to increase once again. Farmers and ranchers can grow all they want, but someone has to process the product. Mr. Kobach is simply utilizing this issue to attain higher office. People who are poor and willing to risk their lives to come to this country won't be stopped because they can't rent an apartment. If Mr. Kobach was seriously interested in stopping illegal immigration, he would encourage the government to go after his major contributors. Until then, he's just another flim-flam man.

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 9 months ago

Yea! When those children are hungry and without a home, they'll really learn their lesson.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 9 months ago

Why is a man who is running for office in THIS state be working for other states? Something foul going on here.

emaw 7 years, 9 months ago

Your English is offensive and foul!

feeble 7 years, 9 months ago

This 2008 report ( pegs the number at 17%, but that includes documented and undocumented aliens.

California's penal system was way more "taxed" by financial concessions obtained by the Correction Officer's union and by a massive number of non-violent drug law offenders in the system.

Should we not imprison illegal immigrants who break our laws, especially when they commit violent crimes? Is it better to just commute their sentences and deport them? How does this keep them from re-entering the country and re-offending?

lounger 7 years, 9 months ago

Oh boy. ChiHawkinKS. I guess the Native blood in me says you should leave the county too. Asinine.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 9 months ago

Dobbs: You are the disabled one...I am hardly a TEA bagger. All the packing plants I know of are not in any city limits. I repeat my question.

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 9 months ago

Apologies for the 'bagger comment. It's become a gut reaction (and a shameful one at at that).

I think this is clearly the role of the Federal government to enforce immigration policy. Therefore municipalities and States should stay out of the business of it. There is likely little to nothing that a municipality, County, or State could do legally to address the problem.

I don't for a moment disagree with the assertion that the Feds haven't done enough to crack down on the problem. However, I think the most effective solution would be to massively fine companies for having illegal immigrants on their payrolls. Perhaps it could be joined with some sort of incentive for these corporations to "sponsor" these illegals into a legal avenue toward citizenship. I do agree that this will drive up the cost of products, but that would seem to indicate that they were under-priced to begin with.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 9 months ago

"There is likely little to nothing that a municipality, County....could do legally to address the problem."

That was my point Apology accepted.

blindrabbit 7 years, 9 months ago

Noe that the judge in Arizona has rejected the meaty parts of Kobachs racist law; Fremont, Nebraska should really take a hard look into hiring this right-wing bigot. Hopefully, this will push the Feds. into doing something proactive to resolving the border problem. not leaving it to wing-nuts. McCain ought to get off his wishy-washy arse and quit flipping around.

gatekeeper 7 years, 9 months ago

Kobach is a POS. I know some people up in Freemont. Lots of racist, gun toting idiots up there.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 9 months ago

Clever, pushing a law that is unconstitutional then being hired to defend it.

lounger 7 years, 9 months ago

Kris Kobach is Kreepy. Kick him out of Kansas....

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 9 months ago

"All you people who oppose this have nothing of substance to back yourselves up."

With the exception of the Consitution of the United States, the longstanding tradition of decent peoples of the United States, the moral decency to prevent abuse of human beings, and the logic to understand that this is perhaps the most insipid way to solve the problem, you are absolutely correct.

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 9 months ago

Apparently a Federal judge seems inclined to agree with me that at least a significant portion of the law's provisions do not mimic Federal law. I think I'll stand by her preliminary injunctions as an explanation. Read her ruling if you have the ability to assemble little clumps of letters together into more meaningful thought units.

lounger 7 years, 9 months ago

Now lets see ChiHawlnKs. Humm. Who broke the law in the 1800's and displaced several hundreds of thousands of us Native Americans. Think hard now...

tolawdjk 7 years, 9 months ago

Of course Kobach wants ballot initiatives in Kansas...

Orwell 7 years, 9 months ago

Great idea. Let's pay to feed and house tens of thousands – or more – of these second offenders for ten years. How many new prisons will that take?

As an alternative, how much of our GDP would we have to take out of productive investment if we decided to round up and deport twelve million people?

Don't propose solutions unless you're willing to pay the necessary taxes.

Keith 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes, we should be more like Mexico. Throw out the Constitution!

Orwell 7 years, 9 months ago

Note to the Fremont City Council: There's a sucker born every minute.

Didn't you guys ever see Burt Lancaster in "The Rainmaker?" Not the later one about the crooked health insurance company – Lancaster's character actually promised towns he'd make it rain. At least he returned his fee if it didn't rain – Kobach keeps his, chuckling all the way home.

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