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Nebraska voters reaffirm ordinance denying housing to undocumented immigrants

Residents of Fremont, Nebraska [official website], voted on Tuesday to reaffirm Ordinance 5165 [text, PDF], which prohibits harboring, hiring or renting to undocumented immigrants. The law was initially approved in 2010 [JURIST report], but its implementation was delayed during a federal lawsuit over the law's constitutionality. Last year a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] held [JURIST report] that the law is constitutional because it does not impermissibly remove a class of aliens from the city or intrude on federal immigration and anti-harboring laws. The law is expected to be challenged to the US Supreme Court [WSJ report].

The approval of the Nebraska ordinance is the latest development in an ongoing battle over immigration enforcement [JURIST backgrounder] that began with Arizona's enactment of SB 1070 [JURIST report], which was partially struck down by the US Supreme Court [JURIST report]. In December New Jersey Governor Cris Christie signed [JURIST report] a controversial immigration bill that allows undocumented students to attend state colleges at in-state tuition rates. In April Oregon's governor signed [JURIST report] similar bill enabling undocumented students to attend public universities in the state at the same tuition rate as in-state residents. Last March a federal judge in Georgia blocked enforcement [JURIST report] of a key provision in Georgia's immigration law that criminalized knowingly transporting or harboring an undocumented immigrant during the course of any other crime. In January 2013 Alabama's Attorney General asked the US Supreme Court [JURIST report] to overturn a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] striking down provisions of the state's controversial immigration law.

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