How Farmers Branch Could've Spent the $8 Mil It Blew Defending an Illegal-Immigrant Ban

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Farmers Branch's epic, seven-and-a-half year quest to ban people living in this country illegally came to a close on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court's ruling that a city ordinance requiring tenants to prove legal residency before renting a home was unconstitutional. Whatever Mayor Bill Glancy may think, this is the end of the line. The case is doornail dead.

That's not to say Farmers Branch's legal fight achieved nothing. It inspired Hispanic activists to force the adoption of single-member council districts. It ensured that anyone who happens to Google the town immediately associates it with bigotry. And it caused the town to rack up more than $8 million in legal fees, according to The Dallas Morning News.

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In Garland, a Family Enslaved a Mexican Woman and Her Children for Seven Years

Categories: Crime, Immigration

Josefina Carleton
On the evening of July 13, 2010, a 36-year-old woman checked into the emergency room of Lake Pointe Medical Center in Rowlett. She was suffering from a painful infection on her left leg, the result of untreated poison ivy, but that was relatively low on her list of concerns. As she explained that night to the hospital staff, then to law enforcement officers, she and her school-age children had spent the last seven years as a Garland family's de facto slaves.

A subsequent investigation by a local human trafficking task force confirmed the woman's story. She'd been held at a home in the 4400 block of Pine Ridge Drive, near the intersection of Plano Road and Walnut Street, by a woman named Josefina Carleton and her common-law husband, Cristobal Zanella Farjardo. She did all the housework, yard work and cooking. She did late-night janitorial work at office buildings Carleton had been contracted to clean. She did construction work at houses Carleton's daughter and son-in-law were remodeling.

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ICE Has Been Trying to Deport a Pakistani Man for Seven Years, But He Won't Get on the Plane

Categories: Immigration

Sohail Raza Khan would rather die than go back to Pakistan. He's made this abundantly clear to U.S. immigration officials, begging them to send him to federal prison, or just let him rot in the ICE detention facility where he's spent the past several years. Anything but deportation.

According to a 2009 opinion by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Khan fled Pakistan in 1985 after being arrested and tortured by police. He applied for asylum under the U.N.'s Convention Against Torture, but his request was denied by a local immigration judge, who signed a deportation order on May 21, 2007.

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Texas Is Only State Where Illegal Immigration Isn't Dropping, Report Says

Categories: Immigration

dawn paley
Back when he was trying to become president, Rick Perry was ridiculed by Mitt Romney for Texas' growing population of illegal immigrants. Romney had said in a debate that while California and Florida had "no increase in illegal immigration, Texas has had 60 percent increase in illegal immigrants."

Turns out, Romney was onto something. New statistics suggest that Texas' population of people in the country illegally has continued to increase, even as other states saw a slowdown.

New data compiled by Pew Research Center's Hispanic Trends Project shows the population of people in the country illegally in the United States peaked back in 2007 at 12.2 million before dipping to 11.3 million in 2009.

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Hispanic Leaders Planning One-Day Boycott of Farmers Branch to Protest Its Refusal to Give Up on Immigrant Rental Ban

Categories: Immigration, News

Hispanics have boycotted Farmers Branch before. In 2006, as the city was first considering a crackdown on illegal immigrants, including an instantaneously infamous rental ban, immigrant rights activists called for supporters to shop and conduct business elsewhere.

It didn't work. Tim O'Hare, the city councilman who proposed the crackdown to "clean up Farmers Branch" as he put it to The Dallas Morning News at the time, responded by inviting supporters of the rental ban in neighboring cities to come spend their money in the town of almost 30,000. The rental ban passed.

Legal protests have been more successful. Three times now -- once in federal district court and twice in appeals court -- judges have declared the measure unconstitutional. Opponents also won at the ballot box, recently ushering in a more immigrant-friendly City Council and electing Ana Reyes as its first Hispanic member.

Farmers Branch, however, has refused to give up of completely purging itself of unauthorized immigrants while thoroughly alienating its Hispanic residents, who now comprise 45 percent of the population. The City Council voted last week to take its $6 million rental ban fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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

Categories: Immigration

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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.

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A Gay Salvadorian Refugee Gets a New Life in Dallas With Help from a Human Rights Group

Categories: Immigration

LGBT rights protesters in El Salvador.
It's not easy being gay in El Salvador, which, in addition to being the second most violent place on earth, is not particularly hospitable to LGBT citizens. A 2010 report presented to the United Nations by several human rights groups described a number of grisly murders. In one case, the bodies of two teenagers were found in a well, their faces beaten to pulp with rocks. In another, a transgender sex worker was kidnapped and tortured for several days before being killed.

It's that type of violence that forced Mikael to flee his home country and wind up in the Dallas area, where he spent more than a year in legal limbo. Now, with the help of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, he's free to live and work in the country indefinitely.

Bill Holston, HRI's executive director, wouldn't go into specifics about Mikael, which is the pseudonym the organization used in today's post declaring victory in his case. Suffice it to say that "he was targeted by police ... and suffered badly at the hands of the police," Holston says.

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America's Need for Immigration Reform Is on Display at a Graduation Ceremony Near You

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Yesterday when my wife, son and I were driving back from Lubbock, the news on my tablet told me that Phyllis Schlafly, president of the Eagle Forum, Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, and Tea Party leaders in 25 states had released an open letter urging congress to dump its immigration reform effort. The story couldn't have been more ironic, given what we had just witnessed at Texas Tech University.

The main force driving an ultimate Republican/Democratic compromise in the Senate Judiciary Committee was America's need for highly skilled immigrants. A few years ago, when I did a long piece on immigration reform, people told me America was getting toasted in the international competition for skilled immigrants.

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Ralph Isenberg is on a Wild Crusade Against Domingo Garcia over May 5 Immigration March

Categories: Immigration

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Mark Graham
Isenberg, a long long time ago.
Ralph Isenberg and Domingo Garcia haven't always been enemies. Back in 2010, in fact, they were all set to dine together at a fundraiser with President Obama, until Isenberg was unceremoniously disinvited by the White House.

Their relationship has since gone south, reaching its nadir this month with Garcia's Cinco de Mayo immigration march.

Isenberg dubbed the event as the "Mega Dollar March." Yahoo News ran a piece headlined "Money, Politics Overshadow Dallas Immigration March Plans"

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Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert: Beware of Islamic Terrorists "Trained to Act Hispanic"

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Rep. Louie Gohmert
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert is once again contributing to the public discourse, drawing connections between the attack during the Boston Marathon and immigration reform. On CSPAN's Washington Journal today, Gohmert, a Republican from East Texas, expressed concern over ethnicity-shifting terrorists aiming to abuse the U.S. immigration system:

"We know that Al Qaeda has camps over with the drug cartels on the other side of the Mexican border. We know that people are being trained to come in and act like they're Hispanic when they're radical Islamist."

Gohmert also compared the Boston bombing with attacks in Israel, saying: "Finally the Israeli people said this is enough. They built, over 70 percent of it is a fence and the rest is a wall to prevent snipers from knocking off their kids. They finally stopped the domestic violence from people that wanted to destroy them. I am concerned we need to do that as well."

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