State Sen. Charlie Janssen accuses the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development of harassment.
Janssen says HUD has threatened to withhold federal grants from Fremont, because the Obama Administration doesn’t like Fremont’s ordinance prohibiting landlords from renting to illegal immigrants.
“I just call it a bunch of fear-mongering right now,” Janssen tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “They’re upset that the people of Fremont rose up against their elected officials and did a citizens initiative. I’m happy they did it. I was happy to help with it.”
Janssen, a former Fremont city councilmember and current Republican candidate for governor, points out a three-member panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ordinance passed by voters in 2010. An appeal has been made to the United States Supreme Court.
The ordinance prohibits landlords from renting to illegal immigrants. It also requires businesses to use an electronic data base to verify the immigration status of employees.
The Fremont Tribune reported that an assistant director of the Fair Housing Center of Iowa and Nebraska told the Fremont City Council HUD has concerns about the ordinance and has questioned whether the city will qualify for federal grants. The assistant director said had raised concerns about Fremont’s compliance with federal regulations during discussions with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
Janssen says the city needs to hold its ground.
“I think they’re threats,” says Janssen. “I think nothing will come of them. I think they’re very upset and I’m very happy to report that in the most recent court decision not to re-hear the case basically makes the Fremont law a law unless the Supreme Court comes in and decides to weigh in on the issue, which is maybe 50-50 at this point in time.”