The Company Town

The city of Arcadia, Wisconsin, population 2,400, recently became the town that roared in the immigration debate.  Its new mayor, John Kimmel, barely four months on the job, made several proposals in a letter to the editor of the Arcadia News-Leader.  The letter brought so much notoriety to this place, nestled in the Trempea-leau River Valley of the Coulee region in Western Wisconsin near La Crosse, that even the biggest newspaper in the state, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, actually sent reporters to venture outside the “golden triangle” (the area defined by Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay) to do a story on Mayor Kimmel’s proposals.  Arcadia had truly made the big time.

What was so notorious about the proposals made by the mayor (who is also the owner of Arcadia’s appropriately named Detox Bar and Grill)?  He argued that English should be the official language of the village.  He said a local task force should forward complaints about illegal immigrants to the USCIS (formerly the INS).  He thinks that local landlords should not rent their properties to illegal immigrants, and he even threatened to penalize them if they did so.  He also stated that there should be some regulation on the display of foreign flags inside the village.  (That would mean that the Norwegian and Polish flags that some residents fly would also be subject to regulation, which...

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