(6/22/2010) By Anthony Pura - Tuesday night, Fremont voters voted to make it illegal to hire or rent to illegal immigrants. But, the ACLU said not so fast saying it will challenge the laws. And, what is happening in that northeastern Nebraska town has many concerned here in the tri–cities.
So what do local residents think of the recently passed legislation?
Grand Island has a large and growing immigrant population including Hispanic, Sudanese, Somali and Asians and many do not have the proper paperwork.
City leaders tell me, from their end, there are no plans or even talks of passing any type of ban or restrictions on illegal immigrants. If similar laws did come, it would come from a state level.
News of an immigration ban in Fremont has reached this church in downtown Grand Island.
Cristo Cordero De Dios practices the Lutheran faith. Its congregation has close to 70 people and all its services are in Spanish.
"Most of our church is Hispanic, most are from Mexico, some are from Chile, some are from Venezuela and a few other places," said Pastor Juan Aguilar.
Pastor Aguilar told News 5 there is growing concern in his congregation. Close to half do not have their legal papers in order.
And even though Fremont is not Grand Island, there is the unease of what could come.
"There are a lot of worries in our families, our church because most of them do not have proper paperwork, it could be difficult for them to have money for a good life or a good standard of living," said Pastor Aguilar.
But Grand Island City Council President Peg Gilbert said right now the city cannot deal with any type of immigration reform law. It is focused on the budget. She also said these types of laws should not be left up to cities.
"There is a going to be legislation introduced in the state level this year and that would be my preference that at least we are consistent with Nebraska," said Gilbert.
Many of Nebraska's lawmakers said there is overwhelming support for these types of laws in the state.
"We have to pray that our authorities in government make the right choices to resolve this issue in the best way," said Pastor Aguilar.
That way runs through lawmakers in the state or cities across Nebraska.
Again, the ACLU has vowed to challenge Fremont's immigration laws.
Senator Charlie Janssen of Fremont plans to propose a bill similar to Arizona's in the full legislature.
And Grand Island leaders said they think what happened in Fremont will put some added pressure on legislatures to act.