Now is not the time for immigration fight

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's popular to appeal to the public's sense of fairness when in public office, and that's only right. Public officials should be there to serve their constituents.

But it's one thing to do the right thing, and another to do what it actually takes to make effective change.

The latest example is a plan by State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, who plans to introduce an Arizona-style immigration measure when the Legislature opens next week.

Citizens of Fremont, over much official opposition, passed a law last year making illegal to hire or rent housing to an illegal immigrant, but it didn't go into effect in the face of lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund.

It's true that we should not allow illegal immigrants to work in this country, nor to enjoy the rights and privileges of those who are legal citizens. One only has to compare the way their home countries treats illegal immigrants to see how the current situation is unfair.

But with Nebraska's budget gap expected to be $1.4 billion or so over the next two years, and redistricting on the agenda, now is not the time to take on an expensive legal battle over something that eventually has to be settled at the federal level anyway.

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