September 17, 2008
Farmers Branch restrained again

Is it just me, or is the main business of Farmers Branch these days defending itself against lawsuits?

Latino advocates and a civil liberties group are suing a Dallas suburb whose officials want to oust illegal immigrants by checking the names of some prospective tenants against a federal database.

The federal lawsuit by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project filed Friday in Dallas is the third Farmers Branch faces over its most recent rule.

MALDEF and the ACLU contend a plan to ask house and apartment renters to obtain a license from Farmers Branch is unconstitutional.

The city wants to run the names of non-U.S. citizens who seek a rental license through a federal immigration database. Under the ordinance, those who can't prove they live legally in the country could not continue renting in Farmers Branch.


The lawsuit contends the ordinance is similar to other local government rules around the country that have tried to regulate where immigrants live. Similar housing rules in Hazleton, Penn., and Escondido, Calif., were prevented from being enforced, the lawsuit points out.

As we know, the judge who struck down the prior ordinance has said he'd probably strike down this one, too. Some people just need to learn things the hard way, I guess.

The plaintiffs requested a temporary restraining order last week to prevent this law from being enforced while the suit was being litigated. They were granted that request on Friday.

U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle issued a temporary restraining order today barring the city from implementing its latest ordinance aimed at halting property rentals to illegal immigrants.

Under the new measure, which the city had planned to put into effect Monday, apartment and home renters would have to obtain a city occupancy license by stating that they were U.S. citizens or were in the country legally.

The city would then check the information from non-citizens against a federal database to confirm that they were here legally. If not, their license would be revoked and they would be evicted.

The city had planned to start requiring the licenses Monday even though the checks would have had to wait because it has yet to receive permission to use the federal database.

Maybe by the time this suit has been resolved, the people of Farmers Branch will have regained their senses and begun electing officials who will expend their energies on positive things instead of these illegal ordinances. I can't imagine the turmoil and uncertainty have been good for business there. But hey, if that's what they want, then that's what they'll get.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 17, 2008 to National news
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