August 30, 2008

New illegal immigrant rental ban in Farmers Branch set to kick in

Aug. 30, 2008


DALLAS — A federal judge has finalized his ruling that a Farmers Branch ordinance forbidding illegal immigrants from renting apartments in the city is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay ruled that only the federal government has the authority to regulate immigration. But Farmers Branch’s fight against illegal immigration and court battles launched by the city’s opponents have not ended.

Michael Jung, an attorney for Farmers Branch, said the city will implement a new version of the rental ban Sept. 13. Jung will update the council on the case in a closed session Tuesday.

Believing the rental ban would be struck down in court, the City Council voted in January for a new version of the ban to be implemented 15 days after Lindsay’s final ruling.

The council has touted the new rental ban as a constitutional ordinance that will stand up in court. Its authors say it would have the federal government determine people’s citizenship or legal immigration status before they are allowed to rent an apartment in the city.

Bill Brewer, a Dallas attorney representing apartment owners opposed to the rental ban, said he will sue again if the city tries to implement the new ordinance.

Marisol Perez, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which fought the rental ban in court, declined to say Friday whether her organization will sue.

"We certainly are looking at the new ordinance, and we take the position that the new ordinance is another attempt by the city to regulate in an area of immigration, an area that is clearly only given to the federal government," she said.

Patrick McGee, 817-548-5476

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