Outside of Jack’s controversial insinuation that interest in having a rain gauge at one’s house correlates with advanced age, today’s show, for the most part, focused on the big news out of Fremont last night. In case you somehow missed it, Fremont’s citizens passed the proposed illegal immigration ordinance by a margin of 57/43. After Jack was done gloating that he had previously predicted the outcome to the exact percentage point, the guys still have a lot of questions about the ordinance that are more practical than philosophical. For instance, it has been said that a large driver of illegal immigrants into Fremont has been the meat packing jobs at big outfits like Hormel and Fremont Beef. Both of these businesses, however, are a) outside of city limits and not subject to the requirement to use e-verify or abide by its results and b) apparently both are already using e-verify anyway. So, these businesses are somehow both already using this method to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants, but there’s still a big enough problem with the issue in Fremont that this ordinance was born. So, obviously making every employer use the methods these meat-packing plants are using will certainly be effective, right? It doesn’t add up.
Further, from reading the ordinance it seems that the ‘occupancy licenses’ provision may provide some serious enforcement problems. If you note the language, it indicates that one applying for a license only need to sign a statement saying that he/she is a citizen or national of the United States. As long as the applicant signs that statement, there is no further verification that the applicant is responding truthfully. A search of the Federal database is only triggered when the applicant declares him/herself to be an immigrant. While we realize this section was probably crafted to avoid legal challenges alleging racial profiling, as the ‘human element’ is essentially removed from the entire process, it’s not difficult to imagine illegal immigrants easily scheming around this system’s provisions. Perhaps this difficulty in finding the equilibrium between legality and effectiveness is part of the reason there haven’t been more localities successfully attempting a journey into the world of immigration enforcement.
All that is to say nothing of the amounts that it will cost the city of Fremont to defend this ordinance in court, perhaps before it’s ever actually put into practice. This is probably a good time to mention the guys will have ACLU Nebraska’s legal director, Amy Miller in studio at 7:35 on Wednesday to make her case for the illegality of the Fremont ordinance.
In the end, while emotional rhetoric dominates the discussion of this issue, we think practical & logistical issues will, in the end, determine the wisdom of Fremont’s decision.