Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fremont Nebraska City Council Postponed Anti-immigrant Ordinance 5165 Enforcement

By H. Nelson Goodson
July 27, 2010

Fremont, Nebraska - On Tuesday, the Fremont City Council unanimously voted 8-0 to postponed city ordinance 5165. The ordinance bars businesses from hiring illegal immigrants and prevented landlords from renting to illegal immigrants, if enacted. Under the ordinance llegal immigrants had to apply and pay a $5.00 fee for an "occupancy license" with the city council.
The City of Fremont officials are facing more than $ 1 million in costs to implement 5165 and defend it per year, including legal fees, city employee overtime, and upgrading computer software.On Wednesday, the City of Fremont was scheduled to address a restraining order brought upon by several lawsuits from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) attorneys.
The ACLU will now file and request a federal judge to block the ordinance until the lawsuits are resolved.
The ACLU-Nebraska says, like the recently passed law in Arizona, the Fremont law invites racial profiling against Latinos and others who appear "foreign." "We're relieved that the Fremont City Council suspended this discriminatory ordinance while it's being litigated," said Amy Miller, Legal Director of ACLU Nebraska. "It was a responsible decision that will spare residents of Fremont from worrying about losing housing and jobs because of their appearance and accent pending a final resolution by the court."
The ACLU's lawsuit, filed on July 21 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, charges that Fremont's law is at odds with the clear constitutional mandate imposing a uniform federal immigration enforcement system and has a discriminatory effect on those who look or sound "foreign."
The Fremont ordinance, which passed on June 21, requires prospective renters to provide the Fremont Police Department with information about their citizenship or immigration status prior to renting any home. Employers are required to check the status of would-be hires using E-Verify, a flawed federal electronic verification program that Congress has repeatedly declined to make mandatory.
Two other cities had passed similar measures, but federal judges struck down those measures. In July 2007, the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania measure in Lozano v Hazleton was ruled that immigration law should be left for the federal government and the federal judge declared it unconstitutional as well. Hazleton is appealing the ruling.
In May 2008, the Farmers Branch, Texas measure banning landlords from renting to illegal immigrants was declared unconstitutional by a federal court. Both cities have not been able to enact similar measures in four years, due to lengthy and costly court challenges.
Fremont is facing a lengthy legal battle that could eventually bankrupt the city.

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