Another issue capturing national attention is turning into a local debate, tracking down illegal aliens. The LaPorte City Council is considering an ordinance that would crack down on illegal immigrants in the city. Some people in LaPorte want to create an ordinance giving law enforcement and local government the ability to crackdown on illegal aliens.
The ordinance was temporarily tabled at Monday night's city council meeting. The Council wants to take some time to let the community and police department explore the issue.
Some in LaPorte say the issue of illegal aliens is becoming a growing problem in their community.
They're critical of the way the federal government has handled the issue.
“The main intent is to take control of our local community, but it's also in essence a message to the federal government at the grassroots level to take action on this issue,” says Tim Stabosz, LaPorte Councilman who proposed the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Ordinance.
The proposed ordinance in LaPorte is modeled after a similar ordinance in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. It would stiffen requirements and fines for anyone hiring or renting to individuals found to be in the U.S. illegally. The ordinance would also have some LaPorte police officers receive training on immigration enforcement.
“A lot of officers, they're on the street everyday, they know more than what the ICE officials do, they know where the illegals are, they've pulled them over several times, been to houses,” says LaPorte resident Mike Strauss. Strauss is one of the residents that had the idea for the illegal immigration ordinance.
The proposed ordinance is also getting some mixed reaction. Some believe it’s only the job of the federal government to work on immigration and illegal alien enforcement.
LaPorte business owner Candelario Aquilar admits coming to Michiana illegally 18 years ago. Three years later, and with the help of a lawyer, he became a legal. U.S. citizen.
After years of work, he and his family now own and operate Colima restaurant, a successful business in LaPorte.
It's nice to have control over how many people are legal in the U.S. so that way the government has more control of how we’re reporting our annual income,” says Aquilar.
Again, the ordinance is tabled temporarily for now in order for the community to weigh in on it.
Newscenter 16 also contacted La Puente, a Hispanic community group in LaPorte. As of Wednesday night, they have not returned our phone calls for a reaction on this topic.
From talking with people in LaPorte today, it looks like this is just the beginning of debate on this proposed ordinance.