Yesterday, residents of Fremont, Nebraska voted to keep a discriminatory ordinance designed to drive undocumented immigrants out of town. The two-part policy bars undocumented immigrants from working and renting in town. Originally approved in 2010 by a popular vote, the housing portion of the ordinance was up for repeal in a special election yesterday.
Local leaders, faith and civic organizations mobilized in support of the repeal, some under the banner of the ballot committee Fremont YES. National anti-immigrant groups like FAIR provided critical support to those seeking to defend the ordinance.
Yesterday, voters had a chance to take a step towards a strong and inclusive community. Instead, in a 60-40 split, voters who chose to listen to the anti-immigrant movement ultimately won, and re-committed Fremont to a policy of intolerance and bigotry.
Rebecca Gould, Executive Director of Nebraska Appleseed, responded to the vote last night: “As the conversation across the country has moved away from these kinds of approaches, we are saddened that Fremont will continue to live with the division and unnecessary costs created by this ordinance.”
Amy Miller, legal director of the ACLU of Nebraska, echoed Gould’s statement, and stated that the ACLU “will closely monitor implementation of the law and will bring to light and pursue any incidents of discrimination.”
Both organizations commended local leaders who stood up to the discriminatory ordinance, and pursued a more welcoming and prosperous future for their town. Both also made it clear that the fight is far from over, and that they will continue to fight for a stronger, more welcoming Fremont.