Farmers Branch's Illegal-Immigrant Rental Ban May Finally Be Dead

Categories: Immigration

Thumbnail image for farmers branch protest.jpg
Protesters outside Farmers Branch City Hall
The seven-year-long fight by the city of Farmers Branch to purge itself of undocumented immigrants may be coming to a court-ordered close.

Last year, a judge ordered the city to implement single-member City Council districts, which shook up the formerly lily-white city government with the May election of Ana Reyes as the body's first-ever Hispanic representative. And now, $6 million in legal fees later, its ban on renting houses and apartments to illegal immigrants has been struck down by the 5fth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, probably for good.

See also:
In Farmers Branch Immigration Fight, Competing Readings of Supreme Court's Arizona Ruling

A three-judge panel of 5th vCircuit already declared the ordinance unconstitutional more than a year ago, but the city won its request for another hearing.

The latest ruling was based heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last summer declaring much of Arizona's illegal immigrant-targeting SB 1070 unconstitutional. In that case, the justices ruled that provisions of the Arizona law were in conflict with, and therefore pre-empted by, federal policy under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause.

Taking the high court's lead, a majority of the 5th Circuit justices argued that, by making it a criminal offense to rent to undocumented immigrants, Farmers Branch was treading on ground already staked out Congress, which long ago made it a felony to "conceal, harbor, or shield from detection" anyone in the country illegally.

In fact, the justices write, Farmers Branch's ordinance is in many ways more extreme than the Arizona law because it "not only criminalizes occupancy of a rented apartment or single-family residence, but puts local officials in the impermissible position of arresting and detaining persons based on their immigration status without federal direction and supervision."

Farmers Branch officials told The Dallas Morning News that the city will review the case before deciding how to proceed. More than likely, though, this is the end of the line. The Supreme Court is unlikely to take the case, since it addressed the same issues in the Arizona case. Then again, the city has shown remarkable ingenuity in dreaming up ways to pour money into efforts to prop up their anti-immigrant crusade.

Reyes, the newly elected City Council member, thinks it's time to stop.

"The anti-immigration ordinance was outside of our local jurisdiction," she told the News. "It is unconstitutional. This issue has been extremely divisive and costly for the citizens of Farmers Branch. It's now time to move forward and reinvest our residents' hard-earned tax dollars back into our community."


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48 comments
ginger4v
ginger4v

Dead????? To bad. What's wrong with FB not allowing "illegals" to rent in that city? It's illegal for the for anyone to be in this county with out gov approval. How do you think terrorists operate in US? The US needs to control Mexican border better. You know that Hispanics are not the only ones entering the US thru border of Mexico. Don't be so nieve

John1073
John1073

Yes, citizens of Farmers Branch. That is $6 million of your money spent on nothing. Remember that next time you vote for city council.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Since bank robbery is a federal crime, I wonder if perhaps the FBPD should not respond to that as well.

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

I don't get it. What is wrong with requiring people to be here legally? Is it like some kind of evil thing to do? I invite everyone who does not think that it is a good thing to be a legal resident of the US to allow me to come into their homes anytime I want to. Sure it would be illegal for me to be in your home but you don't mind, right? I seriously would not move to Mexico, Germany, or any other country to stay without becoming a resident of said country and I do not know why anyone would want to break the law and do it in the US. Unless, of course, there are other reasons why...perhaps financial eh?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Farmer's Branch would fit right into the Third Reich's plans to eliminate all "undesirables".

dlstxmale
dlstxmale

fantastic news!  I will fire up my weedwacker and leaf blower in honor of this ruling;  maybe drive the wrong way down the tollway to celebrate as well ...

mcdallas
mcdallas

Said the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals: "Ain't got time fo dat"!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@John1073 for $6 million they could have hired some of the illegals to repave some of the shitty roads, they would have ended up with more than they have now

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@ChangingF8 

This law wasn't about getting them to come here legally.  It was about harassing them once they did get here.

The NeoConfederates in Farmers Branch don't want them to register - they just want them to go away.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@ChangingF8 You're attacking a straw man. The issue here isn't whether immigrants can reside in the United States. The issue is whether Farmers Branch (or any city/county/state) can pass a law  that is clearly preempted by federal law.

Why do you think it's OK for a city to blatantly violate the U.S. Constitution. I refuse to believe you hate America that much. Unless, of course, there are other reasons why... perhaps a lack of reading comprehension eh?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@dlstxmale dont forget to chug a 12 pack of corona and speak spanish all day

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@ScottsMerkin Or FB spending could have promoted higher paying jobs that are outside the traditional purview of immigrant jobs. Rents and generally costs of living in FB would increase, and immigrants would be naturally priced out of the town. 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@bvckvs@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul8 USC 1325 : Improper entry by alien:

(a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both. (b) Improper time or place; civil penalties Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty of - (1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or (2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection. Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be imposed. (c) Marriage fraud Any individual who knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or fined not more than $250,000, or both. (d) Immigration-related entrepreneurship fraud Any individual who knowingly establishes a commercial enterprise for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, fined in accordance with title 18, or both.

Please note, the civil penalties are not in lieu of criminal penalties, but in addition to them.  Yes it is a crime.  It may not be enforced well, it may not be a good law, but it is law.  Your claim that people who hold to it are racists is unfounded.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@bvckvs @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  

OK then.  What do you propose that we do with people who enter this country without authorization, work without authorization, overstay their visas; or, violate the conditions of their visas?

(Please note that there are no references, assumptions, suppositions, and/or hypothecations concerning race, ethnicity, religious preferences, gender, country of origin, or, sexual preferences.)

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@bvckvs thats quite possibly the the most moronic thing you have ever said here

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@bvckvs @ChangingF8 So you are inside the mind of all these people and know exactly what they want? Or is painting them all with one big evil brush just easier for you to do?

rubbercow
rubbercow

I don't know. Do you think it it is ok for cities to have sanctuary policies which are in violation of federal law?

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@dsmithy3211 @ChangingF8 This is about illegal activity isn't it? I mean, a person is not allowed to live here illegally or they wouldn't call it illegal would they?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @bvckvs 

You're equating citizenship, with being an illegal immigrant.  That's very irrational, and typical of the anti-immigrants.

If y'all could come up with some *rational* solutions, you wouldn't have to pay $6m to have our judges tell you how wrong you are.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@bvckvs @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  

Please, stop projecting.

From your response, am I correct in the understanding that your solution to the problem is to place dispensers at ports of entry that say: "US citizenship, take one"?

FOR SALE:  One US Citizenship, apparently worthless, Make Offer.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @bvckvs 

If your problem with them is HONESTLY that they don't have those things, then providing them with those things would solve your problem.

But since you're opposed to that solution, that's not really your problem.

That's the thing about bigots - they're just not very smart about what their problems are, or how to solve them.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@dsmithy3211 @ScottsMerkin @bvckvs 

Yeah, like how Obama is "technically" president, the sun is "technically" part of the solar system, and up is "technically" the opposite of down.

But you got that part about documentation wrong.  It's perfectly legal to walk around without proof of citizenship or proof of immigration status.  There's no crime against doing so.

And thanks to the US government, allowing them to sleep indoors isn't a crime, either.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@ScottsMerkin @bvckvs Well, in a purely technical sense, he's right. "Being an illegal alien" is not a crime, to the extent that "being a meth addict" is not a crime. "Not having proper documentation" and "doing meth", however, are crimes. Admittedly, a technical distinction, since non-resident aliens are lacking proper documentation 24/7.

Unless that's what he intended to say, yeah, he's talking out of his ass.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming... 

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@bvckvs @ChangingF8 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul Ya'll who? I have never used that term for anyone. There is no law against it, as far as I know, but it can get you beaten down pretty quickly. There is a law against living here illegally though. I know it's a tough one but it works for the betterment of a society if all of its individuals have to contribute to that society completely.

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@bvckvs @ScottsMerkin @ChangingF8 It is not legal to be in the US unless you have a work VISA or some other official status. Provide one of these and rent all you want to. Even I would rent you a place if I had one to rent. But if you are not here legally, you have no reason to be renting here either. Would you harbor a criminal knowing you could be charge for it? As long as it is illegal, they are criminals.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @bvckvs @ChangingF8 

That's the point - there's no law against them renting a place to sleep.
That's what you're trying to change - to make their legal activity now be a crime - remember?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@bvckvs @ChangingF8 hey moron, there is a large difference in illegal alien, and a legal immigrant/resident alien.  get a clue, its not racist to want everyone to abide by the laws equally

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@bvckvs @ChangingF8 Racist garbage? Where have I said anything remotely racist? You have no idea what color I am do you? So who am I racially targeting? If you are any color at all and here illegally, you are breaking the law. I would not live anywhere illegally, because I follow the laws of the land. If it is too much to ask, perhaps that person should consider going back home? 

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@ChangingF8 @bvckvs 

If you want to spew such racist garbage, please have the decency to not use the Dallas Stars logo to identify yourself.

@DallasStars

rubbercow
rubbercow

No more so than the way the anti-American, militant, terroristic, baby killing pro-illegal immigrants like you make their arguments. See, we can play the stupid deflection game all day. I asked you a very simple question and, apparently, you are not comfortable with your answer. That is your failure not mine.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@rubbercow 

It's weird how the militant, anti-immigrant folks refer to "sanctuary" as if it were a bad thing.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@rubbercow I'm assuming you're responding to me?

Whether you or I agree with the content or purpose or intent of the law is irrelevant. The whole point of the FB appeal is WHO can make this law. The Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit (en banc, at that) have ruled that the issue is for the federal government.

Just by way of an analogy, if Gov. Perry and the Texas legislature decided to expand his pro-Texas business policies by declaring all patents assigned to non-Texas business invalid or unenforceable, this would be laughably unconstitutional, because patent law is in the exclusive realm of the federal government. Or if Texas decided to deregulate maritime law to make Capt. Hook-style piracy legal, because maritime law is in the exclusive realm of the federal government.

Same thing here: immigration law is exclusively in the realm of the federal government. This isn't my opinion or an argument. This is Arizona v. United States argued two years ago at the Supreme Court.

rubbercow
rubbercow

I have been voting Democratic for almost 30 years and I am all for making it impossible for anyone here unlawfully to gain employment or any kind of social service.

Your line of argument is more suited to the Huffington Post.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@ChangingF8 Yep, very much about illegal activity. Only the illegal activity at-issue here is passing the law in the first place.

Sweet jebus, it's all in the bloody 5th Circuit opinion. Just read it.

I realize that you want to kick out all non-resident aliens because you think they're illegal. Fine, that's your opinion, and it's clearly the consensus opinion in FB. But a city, a county, or a state cannot do so. It's purely federal law. Congress could pass such a bill. The city council of FB cannot. The Texas legislature also cannot.

I'd love to give you a wonderful analogy, one that would be certainly more helpful than your nonsensical "living in your house" analogy, but this is like teaching quantum mechanics to a toddler.


bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@ChangingF8 @dsmithy3211 

That's what a lot of racist Republicans say - but that's not how the law actually works in this country.

They're capitalizing on your ignorance - and it's working.

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