The court’s decision Monday to strike down the core of the Fremont immigration enforcement ordinance is no surprise. Every such ordinance with a rental component has been found unconstitutional — but not before creating great cost, division, and sense of loss in the local community.
Even though the Fremont ordinance never went into effect, it has torn the community apart. The “Voices from Fremont” series — compiled together with local organization One Fremont One Future and other community members — documents the devastating effect on the community felt by residents of all backgrounds.
Recent studies are showing how policies like that of Fremont, Arizona, and Alabama to encourage “self-deportation” are doing nothing to create a sensible and workable national immigration policy, while placing unprecedented legal, fiscal, economic, and humanitarian burdens on states and local communities.
Other investigations are examining the roots of organizations and individuals promoting such policies. For example, promoter and attorney Kris Kobach (Mr. Kobach is defending the Fremont ordinance and helped to write several other Fremont-style ordinances as well as Arizona’s costly state law) is Of Counsel to the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which is listed as a hate group by the national civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center. The New York Times roundly criticized Mr. Kobach’s approach in Tuesday’s paper.
Despite Fremont’s ordinance, there is reason to hope for the future. Hundreds of Fremont residents worked tirelessly to oppose the measure. They want to return their town to the bedrock American principles of neighborliness and respect for others.
As at other points in our country’s struggle for civil rights, it will take a proactive effort to achieve integration and to counter fear. May we remember and learn from our history as we work for common-sense immigration reform – workable solutions that uphold our values and move us forward.
Read more about promoter Kris Kobach in When Mr. Kobach Comes to Town: The Cost to Communities of Nativist Legislation