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Immigration frustration stokes fury in Fremont, Ne (packing house jobs)

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-08 08:24 AM
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Immigration frustration stokes fury in Fremont, Ne (packing house jobs)

Published Sunday July 20, 2008
Immigration frustration stokes fury in Fremont

FREMONT, Neb. Foreign dwellers in overcrowded apartments stirred the commotion in Escondido, Calif.

In other cities, congested day-labor sites and rising crime rates stoked the fury.

Yet residents of this Midwestern community west of Omaha could not pinpoint the trigger that sparked its City Council to join the list of U.S. municipalities crafting laws aimed at driving illegal immigrants from their town.

Residents instead describe a general escalating frustration over what many see as the federal government's lax response to illegal immigration. It is exacerbated by the influx of workers with different customs, language and skin tone.

While many say Fremont's proposal to penalize those who hire or rent to illegal immigrants has but a slim shot at being enacted or enforced, supporters still may claim a victory of sorts.

Toribio and Hortencia Villaseor opened Tienda mi Tierra in Fremont, Neb., with savings from jobs at the Hormel plant. Helping them in the store are their children, Toribio Jr., 13, Gabino, 5, and Jeanette, 6.

Already they have captured national attention with their vent that Congress has shirked its responsibility to deal with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in this country.

And the tone of the debate has become so uncomfortable that some Latinos are contemplating moving away anyway.

"We're indignant," said Gloria Ponce, a Mexican native and naturalized U.S. citizen who has lived eight years in Fremont with her husband and five children. "They don't want any Hispanic here, legal or illegal. If they don't want us, we'll go somewhere else where we can work."

Momentum both for and against the proposal has reached a point that council members are considering shifting the next public hearing on the matter to the City Auditorium. They're also seeking to adopt rules of conduct for that July 29 session.

A decision on whether to enact what is Nebraska's first city-driven effort to ban illegal immigrants is scheduled Aug. 26.

FULL story at link.

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