UPDATED: Kobach In Fremont, NE

July 15, 2010 10:41 am ET

As he did in other American cities, Kris Kobach drafted legislation to prevent illegal immigrants from renting property in Fremont, NE.  Lawsuits against the ordinance are pending and although he offered to defend the case "pro-bono," the town's insurance provider rejected Kobach's offer and will seek counsel elsewhere.

Fremont, NE

Fremont, Nebraska Is A Town Of 25,000. According to KTKA.com: "Fremont is a community of about 25,000 people outside of Omaha." [KTKA.com, 6/16/10]

Kobach & The City Ordinance

Kobach Drafted Ordinance For Fremont Banning The Hiring Of And Renting To Illegal Immigrants. According to KTKA.com: "Kobach, an attorney, has crafted a proposed illegal immigration ordinance for the city of Fremont, Neb. that will be voted on Monday... The issue before Fremont votes [sic] on Monday is an ordinance that would ban the hiring of illegal immigrants and renting to illegal immigrants. Under the proposal, renters would have to get a license from the city and afterward city officials would be required to check a database to see if renters were in the country legally. The ordinance would also require employers to check the federal E-Verify system to see if their workers were in the country legally." [KTKA.com, 6/16/10]

2010: Fremont Voters Passed Kobach-Penned Illegal Immigration Ordinance. According to the Associated Press: "Voters in the eastern Nebraska city of Fremont on Monday approved a ban on hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants, the latest proposal in a series of immigration regulations taken up by communities around the country. About 57 percent of voters in Fremont supported the proposal, according to unofficial results that still must be certified by the election commissioner." [Associated Press, 6/22/10, via NY Daily News]

  • 2009: Fremont City Council Opposed The Law Because They Believe It "Would Be Pre-Empted By Federal Law." According to the Associated Press: "City leaders have taken steps to block the proposal from being put before voters. They have asked a court to determine whether the city can legally enact the proposed ordinance. Fremont officials argue that the city lacks such authority because the proposed ordinance would be pre-empted by federal law, would not provide sufficient safeguards to protect constitutional property rights and would violate the Fair Housing Act." [Associated Press, 3/25/09, via Lexis Nexis]

Kobach Was "Hired To Represent Fremont Residents Who Sought The Vote." According to KTKA.com, Kobach "also has been hired to represent Fremont residents who sought the vote." [KTKA.com, 6/16/10]

Fremont Ordinance Requires A License To Rent Property, Only Legal Residents Can Obtain License.  The Washington Post reported:

The ordinance is to go into effect July 29. It put Fremont on the list with Arizona and other cities in the national debate over immigration regulations. Arizona's sweeping law also takes effect July 29 and requires police who stop people suspected of violating a law to check the immigration status of anyone they think is in the country illegally...

The ban requires employers in the city to use the federal E-Verify database to ensure employees are allowed to work. It also requires potential renters to apply for a license to rent. The application process will force Fremont officials to check whether the renters are in the country legally. If they are found to be illegal, they will not be issued a rent license.

Both lawsuits charge that Fremont's law is at odds with the constitutional mandate imposing a uniform federal immigration enforcement system. The lawsuits also contend the ordinance violates the federal Fair Housing Act and the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution, among other things. [Washington Post, 7/21/10]

Ordinance Will Cost Fremont $1 Million A Year To Implement

Fremont Estimates That New Ordinance Will Cost Town $1 Million Per Year To Implement.  The Washington Post reported: "Fremont officials have been watching [other towns] that have passed similar bans. City officials have estimated that Fremont's costs of implementing the ordinance - including the legal fees, employee overtime and improved computer software - will average $1 million a year." [Washington Post, 7/21/10]

Two Lawsuits Filed Against Town

Two Lawsuits Filed Against Fremont For New Ordinance.  According to the Washington Post:

The two lawsuits filed Wednesday against a small Nebraska city for its ban on hiring and renting to illegal immigrants worried some in the community that it would only worsen tensions over the new ordinance.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, also known as MALDEF, filed lawsuits against Fremont, saying the voter-approved ordinance amounted to discrimination. [Washington Post, 7/21/10]

Fremont Rejected Kobach's Offer To Defend The Law Pro Bono

Kobach Offered To Represent The City Pro Bono. According to the Fremont Tribune: "Kris Kobach, the attorney who wrote Fremont's illegal immigration ordinance, said he will offer the city his services free of charge to defend the ordinance." [Fremont Tribune, 6/23/10]

Kobach Called Pro Bono Offer To Fremont "A Unique Arrangement." According to the Fremont Tribune: "In other communities, Kobach's services have not been free, [Kobach] said. 'Most of them either I've charged the city or, in the case of Hazleton, the mayor raised the money,' he explained. 'The only one where I've provided any free legal defense to the city was in the final phases of the Valley Park case. This would be a unique arrangement for Fremont,' he said." [Fremont Tribune, 6/23/10]

June 2010: Fremont's Insurance Provider Opts Not To Use Kobach's Legal Services. According to the Omaha World-Herald: "The Kansas City lawyer who helped Fremont, Neb., petitioners put an immigration ordinance on the ballot apparently won't be defending the city against any legal challenge, despite his offer to provide services at no cost. That's because Fremont's insurance carrier opted to go with another firm over attorney Kris Kobach. 'Let's cut to the chase: We don't even know him,' said Michael Nolan, who directs Fremont's taxpayer-funded insurance group, the League Association of Risk Management, or LARM. 'Mr. Kobach is not even an attorney from Nebraska,' Nolan said... 'We have no community of interest with Mr. Kobach,' he said...Fremont city officials said that LARM is entitled to select the legal firm to represent the city against any legal challenge." [Omaha World-Herald, 6/24/10]


UPDATE

Fremont, Nebraska Suspended Immigration Law. The Associated Press reported: "A Nebraska city has suspended its voter-approved ban on hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants, but opponents want a judge to block the ordinance until all legal fights are resolved. The Fremont City Council suspended the ban during a meeting late Tuesday, less than two days before it was set to take effect. The ordinance is being challenged in court, and council members say suspending it will save the city money in legal costs. Lawsuits have been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund. They say the ban is discriminatory. Both groups and the city are expected in court Wednesday. They'll ask a federal judge to block the ordinance pending a final court resolution." [Associated Press, 7/28/10]

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