Texas Suburb Spent (Lost) $6M on Ordinance that Made People Show Papers to Rent

Categories: Immigration

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Photo by Larry D. Moore
Supreme Court just rolled its eyes at Farmer's Branch lawsuit.
Is it worth more than $6 million to defend a city ordinance? In the wake of a supreme lack of interest by the U.S. Supreme Court, maybe the people of Farmer's Branch aren't so sure.

It all started about eight years ago when Farmer's Branch, a little suburb being steadily absorbed by Dallas, passed a city ordinance decreeing that anyone who wished to rent a place to live in Farmer's Branch would have to prove they were citizens or legal residents.

While some, like the folks over at the American Civil Liberties Union, have characterized the ordinance as misguided and discriminatory, the good people of Farmer's Branch went through the entire court system pushing to be allowed to deny people a rental property based on their immigration status. The ACLU, along with MALDEF and a pro-bono unit of Bickel & Brewer, a Dallas law firm, brought litigation on the ordinance against Farmer's Branch.

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Over the passing years Farmer's Branch officials spent $6 million of tax payer money, while most courts ruled against the ordinance, according to the Associated Press. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to the protracted legal fight by declining to hear the case.

Some things have changed in Farmer's Branch since the ordinance was passed -- including the election of the first Latina to a seat on the city council -- but the town's current mayor, Bill Glancy, said he was disappointed in the decision, according to the AP. Glancy claimed local officials were merely trying to fix a problem that is being overlooked at the federal level.

However, the Supreme Court ruled back in 2012 that immigration was a federal issue with no place for local government meddling. The Supremes haven't changed their views, and ruled accordingly. Now, with the issue declared legally dead by the supreme lack of Supreme interest, one question remains: What else could Farmer's Branch have bought with $6 million?


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