Immigration bill gets icy response

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March 2nd, 2011

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Lincoln, NE – Concern over illegal immigration clashed with fears that a proposed solution might create more problems than it solves.

Hundreds of people protested outside the Capitol in January against Janssen's proposed anti-illegal immigration bill (Photo courtesy UNL College of Journalism and Mass Comm.)

People packed the Judiciary Committee hearing room at the Capitol Wednesday, and overflowed into another, as the committee held a hearing on LB48. That’s a proposal by Fremont Senator Charlie Janssen that would require police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop, if they have reasonable suspicion those people are in the country illegally. Committee members took turns grilling Janssen about how his bill would work, and whether it would result in racial profiling. Lincoln Senator Amanda McGill said the bill would cause legal immigrants to feel uncomfortable and leave. That led to this testy exchange with Janssen:

“You’re talking about legal citizens leaving the state because we’re going to enforce the laws?” Janssen asked. “I guess that’s an issue with that legal citizen. I would want to live somewhere where I would think the laws would be upheld.”

McGill responded, “And I want to create a community that people who are here in America legally feel comfortable living.”

“We agree on that,” Janssen said. But McGill countered, “Well, you don’t seem concerned about this particular population.”

“I’m concerned about the legal population,” Janssen said, “if that’s what you’re talking about.”

“Not if they want to leave, you’re not. You’re blowing off the concern that they have.”

Janssen interrupted, “Is there a question?”

McGill ended the exchange with a testy, “No. I’m allowed to make comments as well.”

Mike Barges was among those supporting the bill. He said his great grandfather emigrated from Mexico, but his brother was murdered by someone who fled to Mexico and hasn’t been prosecuted.

“We can all say we know this is a problem we have across the United States,” he said. “But if we don’t force the federal government by making them see that every state starts enacting these kind of things, so we’re talking about people who are breaking the law – not legal immigrants but illegal immigrants – who’s going to stand up for Nebraskans?”
Omaha Deputy Police Chief Todd Schmaderer opposed the proposal.

“We have a lot of crimes in our city right now,” he said. “We deploy our resources in the best way possible to address those crimes, and checking immigration statuses is the function of another law enforcement agency. It doesn’t necessarily fall within our direct mission, which is to reduce crime and reduce the fear of crime. When we feel it does, we will intervene on those specific instances. But as a matter of practice, we have other missions.”

The committee’s not expected to advance the bill.

One Response

  1. Brittanicus says:

    These are self-inflicted wounds on behalf of the Sanctuary States and deserve the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who turn up on their doorsteps. Those States that have flexible illegal immigration laws, such as California, Nevada, Colorado and soon Utah, will pay a heavy price, in not listening to the citizens and legal residents. California is a great example of out-of-control spending and a State deficit that has passed 24 billion dollars. Wait tell those State are overwhelmed with illegal discount labor; dishonest contractors and sub-contractors will have a field day hiring. Crammed schools will be the next major problem as aliens move in, with the hospitals full of poor desperate people that Congress says we must treat, as a unfunded mandate. I got out of California way back, seeing the huge influx of foreigners, during the late 1980’s.

    I knew what was coming and I didn’t like it one bit. States lawmaker’s better start enacting laws on behalf of the American people, instead of pandering to the majority of economic refugees from Mexico and all points South, Northern Europe and other places around the world. This nation needs an orderly legal immigration of the highest echelon of skilled workers, not impoverished manual labor who we the taxpayer ends up subsidizing.With a 14 Trillion federal Treasury deficit, this nation cannot afford feeding, giving hospitalization and education anymore. Damn! We cannot afford to look after our own people who live below the poverty line. I think America’s survival depends on THE PEOPLE’S Tea Party and that’ why I joined. Stop the leftist tax and spend. Demand smaller government and keep the reins on the Republican Party and Wall Street greed. Both parties have their own agenda’s? A mass volume of illegal workers and families means millions of more votes for Lib-Democrats, while the Republican elitists plan is for the free flow of cheap labor, for Corporate Welfare. The blue pages of a current phone book, give you listing of State and federal Representatives. Locate the Washington phone number to blow-off steam.

    The melting pot, is turning rapidly into a powder keg.

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