State Sen. Charlie Janssen says the city of Fremont has been vindicated by the United States Supreme Court.
The court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld the Fremont illegal immigration ordinance.
Janssen, a city councilmember at the time the ordinance passed, is pleased with the decision.
“And the fact that Fremont prevailed kind of vindicates the people that supported this and it also sheds a light on the people that were opposing this, saying it was going to cost a bunch of money; that it wasn’t legal and it wouldn’t stand up,” Janssen tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I see it as a good day for Fremont. I see it as a good day for the battle against illegal immigration.”
The decision lets stand the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in June of last year that ruled the ordinance does not conflict with federal immigration laws. Immigrants represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund sued the city of Fremont, claiming the ordinance was at odds with federal law.
Janssen says Fremont doesn’t deserve the criticism some have leveled against the city, because of the immigration ordinance. Some have claimed the ordinance demonstrates Fremont is intolerant of immigrants and of minorities.
“We’re for legal immigration. We’re a very receptive community here in Fremont, but we do want to make sure people are here and following the rule of law and they’re here legally,” according to Janssen. “And I don’t believe most people here believe in giving blanket amnesty away.”
In February Fremont voters soundly rejected a proposed change to the ordinance they approved nearly four years ago.
Janssen says the court decision sends a message.
“I think it sends a message that, hey, the federal government’s not going to do anything so local governments need to start doing something and if more and more communities start doing this, maybe, just maybe, we’ll get the federal government to do something.”
The ordinance had two provisions; one contested, the other not. The contested provision prohibits landlords from renting to illegal immigrants. It requires that tenants obtain an occupancy license that can be revoked if the tenant is found to be in the country illegally. The other provision requires Fremont businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to determine the legal status of their workers.