FRIDAY, Sept. 15, 2006, 10:23 a.m.
By Georgia Pabst

Arcadia backs away from mayor's proposal
The mayor and Common Council of Arcadia announced this morning that they will not pursue a series of ordinances designed to deal with illegal immigration in the western Wisconsin community of 2,400.

Mayor John Kimmel created a furor in town and drew widespread media attention last month when he outlined some proposals he was considering to crack down on illegal immigration.

The proposals included establishing an "illegal alien task force" to forward complaints to federal authorities, holding property owners accountable for renting to or allowing someone to live in the city illegally, making English the official language and regulating the flying of foreign flags.

His proposals were criticized by some in town and elsewhere as being racist.

The Latino population in the town has increased in recent years to about 200 or 300 because of the plentiful jobs at Ashley Furniture Industries and Gold'n Plump chicken, both in Arcadia.

In a press release, City Attorney Terry Madden noted that the City of Hazelton, Pa., has enacted similar ordinances to those proposed by Kimmel and that they are being sued in federal court.

"It is our opinion, in looking at precedent, that if the mayor's proposals are enacted, the City of Arcadia will be involved in litigation," he said in the statement.

Said Kimmel in the statement: "The recent local and national media attention given to my letter have been both surprising and humbling. I regret that my remarks have caused any anger or tension, both in my community and elsewhere."