California City Puts Alien Issue on the Ballot

AP, May 17, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.—A proposal that would impose sweeping restrictions on the ability of illegal aliens to live and work in the city will be put before voters because the City Council refused to adopt it.

The proposal would prohibit landlords from renting to undocumented people, force day laborers to prove legal residency to work, ban taxpayer-funded day-labor centers, mandate that city business be in English and deny permits to businesses hiring illegal aliens.

The City Council’s 6-1 decision to send the measure to voters Monday was greeted with cheers from both supporters and opponents. Both sides promised major campaigns to sway voters in this city where nearly half of residents are Hispanic.

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Council member Rikke Van Johnson cited his upbringing in Alabama as he denounced the measure.

“In Alabama, you knew who the Klan were. They openly paraded around in sheets,” Mr. Johnson said. “In California, racism has taken on a more covert approach. Here they wear suits, they have Web sites and they use initiatives to spread their message of hate.”

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