Nebraska town passes law to banish illegal immigrants

57 per cent approve referendum that would restrict rental housing, employment

Residents of a small meat-packing town in eastern Nebraska voted Monday to banish illegal immigrants from jobs and rental homes, setting off a costly and closely watched legal challenge. Unofficial results from the Associated Press released Monday showed that 57 per cent of voters in Fremont, a town of about 25,000, approved a referendum that bars landlords from renting to illegal immigrants, requires renters to provide information to the police and to obtain city occupancy licenses, and oblige city businesses to use a federal database to check for illegal immigrants. A similar law was almost passed two years ago in Fremont, but was ultimately voted down by the city’s longtime mayor. Leading up to Monday’s vote, opponents of the new law argued the City of Fremont simply cannot afford the new law without significant cuts to the city’s services or a tax increase. Officials from A.C.L.U Nebraska have pledged to file a lawsuit against what they call a law that racially profiles some residents. But advocates for the new law say federal authorities have failed to enforce their own immigration guidelines, leaving places like Fremont—which has a growing Hispanic population—to take matters into their own hands. According to some estimates, Fremont’s Hispanic population, which was virtually non-existent two decades ago, has grown to about 2,000 people. Estimates of how many illegal immigrants live in Fremont varies widely.

New York Times