By a 60-40 margin, Fremont voters upheld a city ordinance Tuesday that prohibits haboring or hiring of illegal aliens.
The ordinance was enacted in 2010 by Fremont voters in a special election. It requires renters to register with the police department and obtain an occupancy permit, when their immigration status could be checked. It also requires employers to use the federal government's "e-verify" program that checks a job applicant's immigration status when he or she is considered for the job.
The Fremont ordinance has been challenged in federal court. First, it was overturned by a federal court in Omaha that said the local ordinance did not comply with federal laws.
However, that decision was overruled by an appeals court. The appeals court ordered the lower court to hold a new hearing. But instead the special election was held, according to the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper.
The renters provision of the ordinance has never been enforced, the Journal Star reported.
The Fremont economy includes meat processor Hormel Foods and farm equipment manufacturer Valmont Industries. Each employs about 1,500 workers, many of whom are immigrants.
On Tuesday, nearly 4,000 Fremont voters rejected the possiblity of amending the ordinance. Just over 2,600 voters said they wanted to change the ordinance.
Forty-three percent of eligible voters turned out at the polls, according to the Dodge County Election Commissioner.
In 2010, the margin of votes was about the same as this time, nearly 60-40.