Immigration bill gets icy response
March 2nd, 2011
Lincoln, NE – Concern over illegal immigration clashed with fears that a proposed solution might create more problems than it solves.People packed the Judiciary Committee hearing room at the Capitol Wednesday, and overflowed into another, as the committee held a hearing on LB48. Thatâ€™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:
â€œYouâ€™re talking about legal citizens leaving the state because weâ€™re going to enforce the laws?â€ Janssen asked. â€œI guess thatâ€™s an issue with that legal citizen. I would want to live somewhere where I would think the laws would be upheld.â€
McGill responded, â€œAnd I want to create a community that people who are here in America legally feel comfortable living.â€
â€œWe agree on that,â€ Janssen said. But McGill countered, â€œWell, you donâ€™t seem concerned about this particular population.â€
â€œIâ€™m concerned about the legal population,â€ Janssen said, â€œif thatâ€™s what youâ€™re talking about.â€
â€œNot if they want to leave, youâ€™re not. Youâ€™re blowing off the concern that they have.â€
Janssen interrupted, â€œIs there a question?â€
McGill ended the exchange with a testy, â€œNo. Iâ€™m allowed to make comments as well.â€
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 hasnâ€™t been prosecuted.
â€œWe can all say we know this is a problem we have across the United States,â€ he said. â€œBut if we donâ€™t force the federal government by making them see that every state starts enacting these kind of things, so weâ€™re talking about people who are breaking the law â€“ not legal immigrants but illegal immigrants â€“ whoâ€™s going to stand up for Nebraskans?â€
Omaha Deputy Police Chief Todd Schmaderer opposed the proposal.
â€œWe have a lot of crimes in our city right now,â€ he said. â€œWe 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 doesnâ€™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.â€
The committeeâ€™s not expected to advance the bill.
- International Students Making an Impact
- Rep. Brad Ashford talks voting record/immigration issues with KVNO News
- History shows Nebraska ballot campaigns have big passion, low success
- Nebraska DACA ‘Dreamers’ get shot at drivers licenses’ with LB 623
- Psychiatrists: Prisons didn’t act on warnings with Jenkins