Federal panel: Neb. city's immigration law legal
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- An eastern Nebraska city's ordinance that bans employing or renting property to people who are not in the U.S. legally is valid, a federal appeals panel ruled Friday, opening the door for Freemont to begin enforcing its law.
In 2010, voters in the city of about 26,000 easily approved the measure. The ordinance also required businesses to use federal E-verify software to check on potential employees.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled that the part of the 2010 ordinance denying housing permits to those not in the country legally are discriminatory and interfere with federal law.
On Friday, two judges of a three-member panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that reasoning, leading the majority to reverse the ruling and vacate the lower court's injunction against that part of the ordinance.
Judge James Loken wrote that the plaintiffs -- several U.S.-born Latino home renters and a Fremont landlord -- failed to show the law was intended to discriminate against Latinos or that it intrudes on federal law.
Judge Steven Colloton agreed with the reversal and vacating of the injunction, but said the plaintiffs lacked standing in the case, noting that they did not show how they had been harmed by Fremont's law.
In a dissent, Judge Myron Bright agreed with the lower court that parts of the law interfered with federal law.
An attorney for the plaintiffs said Friday he had not had time to read the opinion and could not immediately comment on it. An attorney for the city did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The ordinance catapulted the city just west of Omaha into the national spotlight and spurred comparisons with Arizona and some cities embroiled in the debate over immigration regulations.