Appeals panel says Fremont immigration law is legal - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Appeals panel says Fremont immigration law is legal

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By: Brittany Paris

It's been a controversial issue in the 25,000 person city of Fremont for the past few years.

Voters approved the measure in 2010. It passed with almost 60 percent of the vote.

"This ordinance, you know, divided the community and I can see both sides of it," Fremont Mayor, Scott Getzschman said.

The immigration ordinance bans hiring or renting to people in Fremont who can't prove they're in the country legally. It also requires businesses to use a federal e-verify software program to check potential employees.

Sen. Charlie Janssen said the measure is a positive thing for the community and the country.

"A lot of great people come here," he said. "We have to remember that you don't want to be harsh to everybody. But the fact of the matter is these people broke our laws and there is a process for this and to come here legally."

Last year, a judge ruled parts of the ordinance discriminatory, saying they interfere with the federal law.

But on Friday, two judges out of a three member panel from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Judge Laurie Smith Camp's reasoning and reversed her decision.

"The federal government has failed to act on this. The state, sadly, despite my efforts, has failed to act on this," Janssen said. "And now, the court has vindicated us and said what we did was legal. And so we'll push forward."

Opponents of the ordinance, like the ACLU, said excluding undocumented immigrants from the city is unconstitutional.

"(It's) a sad day for those who trust in Nebraska's motto of equality before the law," Amy Miller, ACLU legal director, said.

Mayor Getzschman said they need to review the document before the city implements the ordinance.

"We need to review exactly what's in the document," he said. "I know there's some things that have  been removed and those are the things we need to get guidance on."

He said the ordinance won't go into effect for at least two weeks. The city council has a meeting on July 9. They'll discuss the decision and plans to move forward.

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