ACLU Condemns Divided Eighth Circuit Ruling in Fremont Immigration Case

Affiliate: ACLU of Nebraska
June 28, 2013 12:00 am

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Attorneys Call the Ruling “Out of Step” With Other Federal Courts and the Rest of the Country

June 28, 2013

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LINCOLN, Neb. – On Friday, June 28, a divided panel of the Eighth Circuit issued a decision in a case brought by the ACLU, upholding a 2010 Fremont City Ordinance that opponents argued was an unfair and discriminatory effort to prevent persons thought to be undocumented immigrants from renting homes in the 25,000-person town of Fremont. The three-judge panel issued three separate opinions, including a strong dissenting opinion by Judge Myron Bright.

Statement from Jennifer Chang Newell, Attorney for the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project

The court majority failed to recognize that Fremont’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the City’s borders is not only un-American, it’s unconstitutional. Judge Bright got it right when he said that the Ordinance violates our Constitution because it “seeks to make life so difficult for undocumented persons that they are forced to retreat.” While the rest of the country moves forward to reform our immigration system to recognize the contributions of these hard-working immigrants, Fremont is taking us backwards with a policy of discrimination and exclusion.

Statement from Amy Miller, Legal Director for ACLU of Nebraska

The court today stepped far afield from the other federal decisions on similar issues. We will begin to talk with our clients and evaluate our options moving forward. Judge Bright’s dissent makes clear what the real impact of this ordinance will be on the people of Fremont: a climate of fear, of exclusion and distrust. These are not Nebraska values. It is a sad day for those who trust in Nebraska’s motto of “equality before the law.”

Attorneys on the case, Martinez v. Fremont, include Newell and Esha Bhandari of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project; Miller of ACLU of Nebraska; Nebraska trial counsel Alan Peterson of Lincoln; and Terry Wittler and Michelle Sitorius of Cline Williams.

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