Wednesday, June 23, 2010
By Paul Martin

By Sarah Foster
June 23, 2010

FREMONT, Neb. — Dismayed by the reluctance of the city council to take action against illegal immigration in their community, voters in a special election Monday approved a citizen-sponsored ballot initiative that prohibits landlords and employers in this 25,000-person town from harboring, renting to or hiring undocumented aliens.

The newly passed ordinance requires employers to check employees through the federal E-verify database to make certain they’re in this country legally and renters over the age of 18 to apply for an occupancy license from the Fremont Police Department, where their immigration status will be checked.

The June 21 vote is thought to be the nation’s first on an anti-illegal immigration measure since the April passage of Arizona’s S.B. 1070, the law that set off demonstrations across the country and even outside the United States.

Turnout was high, with over 45 percent of the city’s registered voters casting a ballot compared to 28 percent in last month’s state primary election. Unofficial results from the Dodge County Clerk’s Office reported 3,906 ballots in favor of the ordinance and 2,908 against.

“We had the big vote yesterday and we won,” said Andy Schnatz, an early proponent of the measure, in a telephone interview. “I’m very grateful for the help of everybody. The people backed us up. They put a lot of time, work and money into it.”

Schnatz told NewsWithViews he began working on the issue about three years ago “to fight this illegal invasion we’re having in the country.”

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