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Immigration Crackdown Leader Ready for More

February 22, 2012

A leader of the citizen-initiated crackdown on illegal immigration in Fremont has vowed to use Monday's court outcome to expand the law to Dodge County and put pressure on state lawmakers.

"What we've done in Fremont is kind of a foothold," said John Wiegert, a member of the core group that got employment and landlord-tenant sanctions on the ballot in 2010.

...As Wiegert laid out broader ambitions, The New York Times unloaded on Kris Kobach, the attorney representing local crackdown proponents, in its lead editorial Tuesday as "the mastermind of a host of crackdowns" across the United States.

The Times called the results "deplorable."

And Jonathan Benjamin-Alvardo, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said those seeking aggressive enforcement in Fremont should be careful what they wish for.

The UNO faculty member cited studies that show economic damage in other cities across the United States that have pursued similar strategies against local residents.

"Basically, it's hanging a shingle out there saying they're not welcome," Benjamin-Alvardo said.

One 2011 study on his mind, "The Economic Impact of Immigrant-Related Local Ordinances," was done by the New York-based Americas Society, a self-avowed champion of "diverse cultural heritage."

The Americas Society examined the impact of immigration-related ordinances put in place in communities in more than two dozen states and cited a shrinking labor pool as a common result.

"Ultimately, that community will end up paying a price for it," Benjamin-Alvardo said of Fremont. "These are things that do not come without a cost."

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