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Federal appeals court affirms city law denying housing to undocumented immigrants

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] on Friday ruled [opinion, PDF] that a Fremont, Nebraska ordinance [text, PDF] that bans renting to undocumented immigrants is constitutional. The panel held that the ordinance does not have an "impermissible effect by removing a class of aliens from the city" or intrude on federal immigration and anti-harboring laws. The ordinance requires potential renters to apply for a license through which Fremont officials can check to see if they have legal status. In light of this ruling, lawyers for the plaintiffs plan to confer with their clients before determining whether to ask the full Eighth Circuit to review the case.

The housing ordinance has faced various challenges since its introduction in 2010. Last year a judge for the US District Court for the District of Nebraska [official website] struck down the law [JURIST report] because it conflicted with federal law. In November of 2010 the Nebraska Supreme Court [official website] declined to rule [JURIST report] on the ordinance. In July of 2010 the Fremont City Council voted unanimously to suspend the ordinance [JURIST report]. In June of 2010 Fremont voters approved the ordinance [JURIST report].

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