Dallas Suburb Can't Force Illegal Immigrant Renters Out, Court Says
It's a neighborhood/suburban bubble/town engulfed by Dallas's urban sprawl, and it's such a bland place you'd probably never have noticed or heard tell of it until the city government enacted a controversial housing law back in May 2007. We all heard about good old Farmers Branch then.
Back in 2006, city councilman Tim O'Hare proposed a law that included provisions to fine landlords who rented to illegal immigrants in the town of just under 29,000. The ordinance was passed by the city council and -- after some legal wrangling and political opposition -- was eventually approved in a vote of about 68 percent in Farmers Branch.
Under the ordinance, all prospective renters would be required to provide information about their immigration status and obtain a rental license from the city building inspector who would also be responsible for determining immigration status. The ordinance would also authorize the city to revoke the rental license of anyone found to be unlawfully present in the United States.
The ordinance was approved when it appeared on the ballot, but the court put the ordinance on hold on May 21, 2007, the day before it started.
The ordinance was opposed as a result of litigation from the America Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education fund, the usual suspects in these shindigs.
It seemed like the case had been settled once and for all in when a three-judge panel ruled against Farmers Branch in March 2012, but last September the appeals court agreed to rehear the case, en banc, NBCDFW reported. The hearing of the full court is an unusual move, prompting some to speculate that the court might overturn the decision, which, obviously, didn't happen. Last Monday, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the law entirely in a 9-5 ruling.