Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nebraska - The Next Arizona

As is the case with most days, I am confused. I'm confused because of a little town called Fremont, Nebraska. There aren't a lot of people in Fremont (and that's probably for good reason). Maybe around 26,000 is all. But when they went to the polls on Monday, at least 57% of the voters voted yes on a measure to help control illegal immigration. Hmm. That sounds vaguely familiar...

According to something called
WOWT (which appears to be some sort of NBC affiliate), the measure does a couple of things. Thing One: "Before landlords can rent any home to a person in Fremont, that person must show a certificate obtained from the city. In order to get the certificate the person will have to prove they are in the United States legally." Ahhh. I like it. And I like Thing Two as well, which is that "The ordinance also requires Fremont employers to verify the legal residency status of people they hire." Sweet!

Way to go Fremont, Nebraska! You certainly are a plucky little town! What was the driving force behind such legislation? You liked won't be shocked to learn that "Supporters said they wanted the city to act because the Federal Government has failed to enforce immigration laws and because it has failed to secure the nation's borders." Hmmm. That sounds vaguely familiar as well...

In case you're missing the obvious correlation here, the Fremont, Nebraska law sounds surprisingly like what they're doing in Arizona. It's just making sure that there is some sort of verification of a person's legal residence in this country. And just like the rationale behind the Arizona law, Fremont, Nebraska is fed up with the Federal Government doing absolutely nothing to enforce immigration laws and secure our borders. And just like in Arizona, these things are FAR from crazy notions. However, what makes the Fremont, Nebraska law stand out from the Arizona law is that the Fremont, Nebraska law was voted on by the people.

That is the part that people who are against the Arizona law need to really pay attention to. So far, they've done a really good job of trying to ignore that, according to polling, 60% of the country and 70% of people in Arizona are all for these sorts of laws. And they could kind of trick themselves into thinking that those numbers didn't hold any weight because the Arizona law wasn't put to the voters. But the Fremont, Nebraska law was put to the voters. And the results were surprisingly close to what the poll numbers showed about the Arizona law; about 60% were in favor of it.

That brings me to my confusion. Why was there all of the hooplah and uproar over the Arizona law, but there isn't that same kind of outcry over the Fremont, Nebraska law? How come I haven't heard of people wanting to boycott Fremont? (Granted, there probably isn't much there to boycott in the first place, but I'm operating on the principle of thing here, so stay with me!) How come there aren't city council meetings far and away where they discuss boycotting Fremont, Nebraska? How come I haven't heard all of the cries of racism over Fremont, Nebraska? Is it because their law only requires some sort of documentation if someone wants something (ie, a place to rent), whereas the Arizona law allows for a general suspicion of someone being in this country illegally to warrant a request to see identity documents? I don't know. I don't get it.

If I had to guess, however, I would guess that it was because the law was enacted through a vote. It's hard to argue with what the voters want. Just look at South Carolina and ol' Alvin Greene, the Democratic Party's candidate for the Senate. The voters voted for him and he appears to be dumb as a post. That's apparently what they wanted (though it's extremely unclear as to why). Fremont, Nebraska passing this law simply reflects what the national polls do, and that is that people are frustrated with the federal government not doing anything to curb illegal immigration and so they're willing to vote on measures that will allow individual states to try and save themselves. And perhaps one of the best things that it can accomplish is maybe all of those people who continually complain about the Arizona law will start to pipe down. I'm all for any law that silences morons.

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