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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 13, 2010, 02:40 PM

Police Academy graduate disagrees with proposed immigration legislation

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It now appears that North Dakota lawmakers will soon debate a proposed immigration law similar to the controversial one in Arizona. Representative Jim Kasper, a Republican from Fargo, says he wants a bill drafted based on Arizona's new immigration law. Kasper would not comment today on the proposal.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Majority Leader Al Carlson, a Republican lawmaker from Fargo, says there's no question the North Dakota legislature will discuss an immigration law during the next session. Details of the proposed law for North Dakota are not yet known, but it's expected to be similar to the Arizona law, which mandates law enforcement check the immigration status of people stopped and arrested if it's believed that person may be in the country illegally.

“Our process is very open unlike most states. If a legislator intros a bill, it will be heard and get a hearing and voted on the floor and due time for both sides to express interest. It may not be a huge problem in North Dakota and they say there is not a problem, and maybe we should say if the federal government would enforce the laws we would not have to address the issue.”

Kasper said earlier that North Dakota's bust of un-documented workers in Oakes recently, shows the state does have issues will illegal immigrants. While North Dakota lawmakers have yet to meet on the immigration issue, reaction to the proposal is an indication emotions will run strong in the coming months.

One new immigrant has a unique perspective on the proposed law. He is one of North Dakota's newest police officers.

Abednego Thomas has reason to be proud. He just graduated from North Dakota's Police Academy in Devil's Lake. He is now applying for jobs around the state.

“My dream since I came to North Dakota.”

This new American who grew up in Liberia worries the proposed new immigration law could send the wrong message to those New Americans who arrive here or are living here legally as residents of the U-S.

“It is the wrong way to do it. I think it would be like intimidation going places freely, like me I do not take my documents.”

Some opposed to a new immigration law in North Dakota point to the argument that nation wide, according to even the most conservative pro-reform organizations, our state's illegal immigration numbers barely register on national surveys.

“They arrive with a status as legal permanent resident and so we go from there and work with that population.”

It will be the debate of the session. States that are hoping to beef up their borders weighing the argument of others who argue legal residents of North Dakota could face undue harassment. The North Dakota Legislature meets January 4th of 2011.

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