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We do not need Soviet-style laws to fight illegal immigration

By Scott Tibbs, July 16, 2008

Conservatives have been very critical of the proposal by President Bush to offer amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, and John McCain's advocacy of the amnesty plan in the U.S. Senate is one of many reasons he is going to have difficulty winning conservative voters in the November election. I believe securing the border is necessary for national security and generally support efforts to crack down on those who enter our country illegally.

As with any area where there is a legitimate government involvement, there are limits to how far government should go in order to deal with the problem. Fremont, Nebraska has gone over that limit into an area where both liberals and conservatives should be very concerned. Communists, meanwhile, are probably rejoicing. According to the Omaha World Herald, the proposed law "would require every renter... to obtain an occupancy license through the city." This would be used by local police to prove citizenship.

Are you serious?

The idea of requiring each and every person who lives in apartment or rented house to register with the city, pay a residency tax, and prove they have the right to reside in Fremont is a ridiculous overreaction to the problem of illegal immigration and will almost certainly be struck down by the courts as a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on government actions that violate the right of all American citizens to "be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches." Absent evidence of a crime, requiring that everyone register with the government simply to have the right to live in Fremont is similar to the policies of too many totalitarian regimes worldwide. How can anyone support this?

Imagine if this were implemented somewhere like Bloomington, where several thousand college students rent houses and apartments, with students moving around and transitioning in and out of the city. Imagine the administrative nightmare for city staff and the University. Imagine the burden on low-income residents who face sanctions from the city if they do not "show their papers" on command.

This law should be tossed on the ash heap of history alongside the Soviet Union.