MALDEF Will Seek Rehearing by Full Eighth Circuit

CHICAGO, IL - Today, a panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling in Keller v. City of Fremont, a case challenging the constitutionality of an ordinance that seeks to prohibit the rental of housing by private landlords to “illegal aliens” and “unauthorized aliens.” The Court reversed the district court’s preemption and Fair Housing Act rulings and lifted the injunction barring the City of Fremont from implementing the ordinance.

Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel for MALDEF stated: "This 2-1 panel decision is simply deplorable. Barring or deterring anyone from renting housing in any city on the basis of suspicions or conclusions as to immigration status is flatly inconsistent with our national values. We already have a complex federal system to adjudicate the rights of those who may be undocumented. We will seek review by the entire Eighth Circuit because this ruling cannot stand. At the same time, the decision amply demonstrates why Congress must include a provision to prevent ordinances like this one in the federal immigration reform bill under consideration; immigration enforcement is and must remain an exclusively federal responsibility."

In February 2012, the district court had ordered the part of the ordinance that authorizes the cancellation of an occupancy license on the basis of a person’s immigration status invalid. Today’s decision reverses that ruling. The ordinance disproportionately affects the Latino community and violates federal laws regulating immigration and protecting the right to fair housing practices.

Jorge Sanchez, Senior Litigator for the Midwest Regional Office of MALDEF stated: “The court's majority ignored the fact that the City of Fremont itself asserted that the law was enacted for the purpose of removing undocumented individuals from the City. It also ignored the Supreme Court's holding just last year in Arizona v. United States, that only the federal government can make immigration policy and that states and cities cannot enact legislation designed to achieve their own immigration policy.”

To read a copy of today’s decision, click here.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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