A federal appellate panel on Friday overturned a district court ruling that had blocked parts of a Fremont, Nebraska, municipal ordinance aimed at limiting the presence of undocumented immigrants in the town.

Ordinance 5165, approved by Fremont voters in a 2010 referendum, prohibited hiring or renting to people who can't prove they are in the United States legally.

The measure also required local businesses to use the federal government's E-verify system to confirm that job applicants are authorized to work in the country.

On Feb. 28, 2012, U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp found that the portions of 5165 pertaining to housing were discriminatory and in conflict with federal law and she issued an injunction blocking the enforcement of those provisions.

But two of the three judges on a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reached a different conclusion, overturning Camp's decision and lifting the injunction.

Authorities in Fremont can now enforce the rules requiring would-be renters to show proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residence.

Fremont has spent more than $1 million defending Ordinance 5165 in the courts and the municipal government was forced to increase property taxes to finance the legal battle.

Census figures show that Latinos account for just under 12 percent of Fremont's roughly 26,000 residents. EFE