The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska announced Tuesday that it will appeal the decision of a federal judge to overturn only some parts of an anti-immigrant municipal ordinance adopted by the city of Fremont.
Ordinance 5165 was approved in June 2010 with 57 percent of the votes and requires people who want to rent houses or work in Fremont to allow their immigration documents to be verified. The measure has never entered into force.
On Feb. 20, in response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and other organizations, U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp eliminated from the ordinance the article that would have permitted municipal officials to revoke renter’s licenses obtained by undocumented immigrants.
But the judge left intact the article that requires that potential renters provide proof of U.S. citizenship or their legal immigration situation and to pay $5 for a certificate giving them the right to rent.
“We were gratified by the judge’s decision that key portions of the ordinance violated federal law and the Constitution,” Jennifer Chang Newell, a staff attorney at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said Tuesday.
“We are appealing the decision only because we believe the remainder of the ordinance still imposes an illegal and unfair burden on our clients,” she said.
The ACLU is representing five people who were intending to rent homes in Fremont, a city of about 26,000 northwest of Omaha, as well as two rental property owners and two local employees.
The case will now to go to the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“While the courts are still reviewing this problematic and un-American law, we’ve asked the City Council to hold off from enforcement,” ACLU Nebraska Legal Director Amy Miller said. “The city has voluntarily suspended the ordinance during the first phase of the lawsuit and we’ve asked them to continue doing so.”
The Fremont City Council on Tuesday evening behind closed doors will discuss whether it will implement Ordinance 5165 with the modifications established by Judge Smith Camp or if it will delay its entry into force while the appeal is under way.