Omaha Public Radio News
9:33 am
Tue June 22, 2010

Legal battle expected over Fremont's immigration status ordinance

Omaha, NE – A Creighton law professor expects the city of Fremont to face a long, costly legal battle over a new immigration ordinance.

Fremont voters approved a plan Monday that bans renting to or hiring illegal immigrants. Anyone wanting to rent property in the city will have to apply for a license. If they're found to be illegal immigrants, the license will be denied. Fremont's ordinance also requires employers to verify an employee's legal status.

Dave Weber is a professor of immigration law at Creighton. He says other cities have tried unsuccessfully to uphold a similar type of ordinance. "It has not been successful yet, as least as far as it stands with both a renters' ordinance and a workforce component," Weber says. "The other cities that have tried this have been embroiled in legal battles three, four plus years and they've already incurred millions of dollars of legal fees."

Weber says if Fremont's ordinance is upheld, it could spur other cities to try and pass similar laws. But he says it could be at least two years before the city's ordinance even takes effect.

Voter turnout for Monday's special election was 45 percent.