September 09, 2008
Once more to the courthouse for Farmers Branch

Here we go again.

Opponents of a Dallas suburb's latest effort to drive away illegal immigrants asked a federal judge Monday to restrain Farmers Branch officials from enforcing a ban on rental housing to people who can't prove they are in the country legally.

They're are seeking a temporary restraining order to keep Farmers Branch from requiring prospective apartment and house renters to obtain a city license as part of rule set to take effect Saturday. Under the ordinance, the city would forward information from the license application to the federal government so it can verify immigration status.

The request to stop the ordinance continues a nearly two-year battle in Farmers Branch, where city officials have created a handful of measures attempting to keep illegal immigrants from living there. The proposed laws have been met by lawsuits and protests, and a judge found a previous city immigration-related housing rule to be unconstitutional.

Attorney Michael Jung, who represents Farmers Branch, said the city will oppose the request.

This new law is Ordinance 2952. The judge who struck down its predecessor, Ordinance 2903, has already said he's inclined to rule against 2952. I guess some people never learn.

City officials planned to seek an agreement with the federal government for access to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements database and were working to set up an online method to apply for a rental license, Jung said.

Officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have said the city must apply for an agreement to access the database. Federal officials would then consider whether it's lawful and appropriate for the city to access the database, which is used to determine if immigration status entitles a person to a state or federal benefit.

So even if they were given the green light tomorrow, they couldn't enforce this law as written today. I suppose the bright side from their perspective is that the bureaucratic process will run concurrent to the legal one, so by the time it's all over they'll really know where they stand.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 09, 2008 to National news
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