Politics

Court Rules Texas Suburb’s Law Banning Some Immigrants from Renting Unconstitutional

In the latest ruling on a series of laws targeting immigration that local governments across the nation have passed, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said multiple parts of the ordinance in Farmers Branch are unconstitutional and encroaches on the federal government’s authority.
July 23, 2013

A Dallas suburb’s law banning immigrants who are in the United States without legal permission from renting has once again been blocked by a court.

In the latest ruling on a series of laws targeting immigration that local governments across the nation have passed, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said multiple parts of the ordinance in Farmers Branch are unconstitutional and encroaches on the federal government’s authority.

“We conclude that enforcement of the ordinance conflicts with federal law,” the court said Monday. The appeals court relied heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year that struck down parts of Arizona’s immigration law.

The suburb’s ordinance would have required all renters to obtain licenses. The city’s building inspector would check an immigrant’s status and deny licenses to anyone in the country without permission. Landlords who allowed immigrants without permits would have faced fines or revocations of their renters’ licenses.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court decides to step in, Farmers Branch won’t be allowed to enforce the ordinance, which has sparked an expensive legal battle. As of late last year, the city — with about 29,000 residents just a few miles north of Dallas — had spent nearly $6 million on legal bills and expenses related to immigration laws, a Farmers Branch spokesman has said.

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