This week, Jorge Ramos and Greg Sargent exposed the real GOP platform on immigration, and the fact that what they stand for is more deportations, since they don’t want President Obama to take executive action.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court helped an application of that fact make headlines, when it declined to hear the case of Fremont, Nebraska’s anti-immigrant ordinance. The ordinance, championed by nativist legal architect Kris Kobach, forbids undocumented immigrants from renting anywhere in the city. It originally passed in 2010, was struck down by a federal court, then upheld by an appeals court, and survived a referendum attempting to repeal it earlier this year. Now that the Supreme Court won’t be reviewing it, the ordinance is finally free to go into effect — though groups like the ACLU of Nebraska are threatening further lawsuits if tenants report discrimination.
The Supreme Court’s pass on the Fremont ordinance means that US appeals courts will for now have the final say on similar laws in their jurisdiction. A comparable law in Farmer’s Branch, Texas was struck down in 2013 by the Fifth Circuit. But in the Eighth Circuit — a territory that includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and the Dakotas — such anti-immigrant laws have effectively been given a “bright green light,” as Kobach himself recently said.
Cities and localities that are considering these anti-immigrant laws should be highly wary, of course. Fremont, Nebraska has so far spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending its ordinance, and has socked away $1.5 million for future lawsuits. The years-long battle has divided the town and given it a bad reputation on the national stage — all over a non-problem, considering that the town of 26,000 is home to only 1,150 noncitizens (which includes legal permanent residents, foreign students, legal immigrants, as well as the undocumented).
Meanwhile, Fremont’s legacy — as well as Kris Kobach’s clear hankering for more such laws — is illustrative of the GOP’s real position on immigration: yes, they do want to drive immigrants out. Yes, they do want more deportations.