US town votes on plan to ban foreigners renting homes or having jobs. #hispanic

(Guardian) A Nebraska town, angry over a surge in the number of Hispanic residents, is voting today in a referendum on a new law that would require foreign nationals to get a licence to live in the town.

The referendum in Fremont has been prompted by a sharp rise in Hispanic people drawn by work at local meatpacking plants combined with fears over job losses and demand placed on the town’s social services because of the economic downturn.

If approved, tenants who are not US-citizens would be required to get an “occupancy licence” from the city council. Even residents of nursing homes would be required to obtain such a licence.

Federal law requires employers to verify the immigration status of workers but the proposed Fremont law would also open violators to local sanctions. Supporters insist it is not racist and is essential to protect jobs, healthcare and education for local people because the town’s Hispanic population has surged from 165 to more than 2,000 in the past 20 years.

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