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Hammon talks on immigration
Councilman discusses opposition to bill on renting to illegals

By Evan Belanger
ebelanger@decaturdaily.com 340-2442

A Decatur city councilman's appearance on a local talk-radio show this week turned into a discussion on illegal immigration.

District 3 Councilman Gary Hammon was a guest Friday on "The Attack Machine," to discuss his opposition to a proposed Decatur ordinance that would ban smoking in public places.

During the interview, Hammon reportedly commented on a number of immigration issues.

He said he did not support a bill making it a crime for landlords to rent to illegal immigrants.

"I own some apartments and consequently I know there can be fake IDs made," he said later to The Daily. "And I don't think people who own apartment homes should be responsible for determining if an ID is fake or not."

Hammon, who is a contractor, owns Executive House Apartments on Sandlin Road Southwest. Despite his comment on the show, he said he doesn't employ or rent to illegal aliens.

"As a matter of fact, I don't think there's a Hispanic surname in my apartments," he said.

Hammon added that he employs one Mexican electrician at his business, but said he has all of the employee's required documentation.

As to his opinion on national immigration reform, Hammon said, he completely agrees with the recently publicized views of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile.

"The first thing we've got to do is shut down the border. Once we've got the border shut, we can start talking about these other things," he said. "But as long as we've got the influx of illegal aliens that we've got right now, anything else is not even a Band-Aid."

Sessions was one of 53 senators Thursday to block passage of President Bush's immigration reform bill. After the vote, Sessions said he did not support the bill because it did not do enough to tighten border security.

In a story reported on The Seattle Times news service Friday, unidentified aides of Sen. Majority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., said Lott was furious with Sessions and other Republicans for blocking the bill.

Lott reportedly told Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that Sessions, along with Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Jim Demint, R-S.C., were "becoming the uncompromising faces of the Republican Party," which could set the party back as the Latino power grows.

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