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Immigration debate: fight brewing between ACLU and Nebraska town

Immigration debate is focusing on a new law in Fremont, Neb. It prevents businesses from hiring illegal immigrants and landlords from renting to them. The ACLU will challenge the law, which is similar to laws passed by at least a few dozen other towns nationwide.

Immigration debate in Fremont, Neb. resulted in a new law against illegal immigrants being passed by 57 percent of voters Monday. The ACLU has vowed to challenge the law in court. In this picture, a sample ballot is posted at a polling station as a Fremont resident votes on the ordinance.

Dave Weaver/AP

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Immigration debate in Fremont, Neb., has made it the latest town to decide to take immigration enforcement into its own hands.

On Monday, 57 percent of voters in the 25,000-person town in eastern Nebraska helped pass a law that would bar businesses from hiring illegal immigrants or landlords from renting to them.

In doing so, it joins Hazelton, Pa.; Riverside, N.J.; Valley Park, Mo.; and at least a few dozen other towns that have passed laws targeting undocumented immigrants. The ordinances have generally faced lawsuits, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Nebraska has already declared its intention to fight the Fremont bill.

“An ordinance of this kind is a true indication of the frustration some communities feel, and I don’t belittle that feeling,” says Laurel Marsh, executive director of ACLU Nebraska. “That being said, I believe it violates the supremacy clause of the United States.”


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