Neb. City Suspends Immigration Law, Goes to Court

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The Fremont, Nebraska City Council has voted to suspend a ban on hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants.

Council members voted to 8 - 0 to delay the voter-approved ban late Tuesday evening, saying they wanted to save the city money in its legal defense.

A lawsuit against the ordinance was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups. They still want a federal judge to block the measure until all of the legal challenges have been resolved. The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard in federal court on Wednesday.

The ACLU has called the proposed law discriminatory.

"We're relieved that the Fremont City Council will suspend this discriminatory ordinance while it's being litigated," said Amy Miller, the ACLU of Nebraska's legal director. "It was a responsible decision that will spare residents of Fremont from worrying about losing housing and jobs because of their appearance and accent pending a final resolution by the court."

But some residents believe the council should not second-guess voters.

"The citizens of Fremont have spoken. We should not delay this," said Terry Flanagan, a Fremont resident who supports the ban.

The proposed ordinance has put the city of Fremont squarely in the national debate over immigration regulations.

The council had first rejected the ban in 2008, so supporters gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot. Voters approved the ban last month. The measure was to take effect on Thursday.

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