Immigration News

September 19, 2012

Texas town’s rental ban to get second hearing

DALLAS — A Dallas suburb’s long, expensive fight to ban illegal immigrants from renting homes will have perhaps its most important hearing before a largely conservative group of judges with the power to influence the national immigration debate.

Farmers Branch was sued four years ago after it passed an ordinance allowing the city building inspector to evict any illegal immigrant renters. Its case will now go before the full membership of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, with 10 of its judges appointed by Republican presidents and just five by Democrats.

Arguments are scheduled for Wednesday in New Orleans.

So far, no court has allowed Farmers Branch to enforce any form of the ordinance. But the appeals court’s rare move to hear the case a second time, months after a different three-judge panel ruled against the city, could be a sign that the town might finally get a victory.

The current ordinance, which replaced an earlier 2006 version, would require all renters to obtain a $5 city license and fill out an application that asks about their legal status. Then, the city’s building inspector would have to check whether any immigrant applying for a license was in the United States legally. Illegal immigrants would be denied a permit, and landlords who knowingly allow illegal immigrants to stay as tenants could be fined or have their renters’ license barred.

The appeals court has directed all sides to focus on the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling on Arizona’s tough immigration law. That ruling rejected major parts of the law, but upheld the so-called “show me your papers” requirement, which gives law enforcement authority to check a person’s legal status if officers have reasonable suspicion he or she is in the U.S. illegally.

Farmers Branch’s attorneys argue that the city’s ordinance is substantially different from Arizona’s law and that the Supreme Court didn’t act to stop local officials from restricting illegal immigrant renters.

Attorneys for the landlords and renters who originally sued the town believe Farmers Branch is encroaching on legal territory reserved for federal authorities.

A federal district judge ruled against the city two years ago, and a three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit upheld that ruling in March.

The full 5th Circuit is generally considered to be one of the nation’s most conservative federal courts. Its decision to hear the Farmers Branch case is rare — fewer than 5 percent of petitions for a full court hearing are granted — though the court rehearing a case doesn’t necessarily mean judges intend to reverse an earlier decision.

Based in New Orleans, the 5th Circuit hears cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and its rulings are binding in those states only. But other circuit courts are considering laws similar to the one passed by Farmers Branch, and one circuit’s opinion can be cited by attorneys elsewhere.

Farmers Branch has spent nearly $6 million on legal bills and expenses related to illegal immigration, according to a town spokesman.

 

1
Text Only
Immigration News
  • Republicans blame Obama for stalling immigration

    Republicans are starting to lay the blame on President Barack Obama if an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system fails to become law.

    February 3, 2014

  • Millions more immigrants under the Senate bill

    Landmark immigration legislation passed by the Senate would remake America’s workforce from the highest rungs to the lowest and bring many more immigrants into the economy, from elite technology companies to restaurant kitchens and rural fields.

    July 9, 2013

  • Deal signs bill to fix illegal immigration law

    Georgia’s governor has signed a bill that aims to fix some unintended consequences of the state’s 2011 crackdown on illegal immigration.

    April 25, 2013

  • Obama’s big Hispanic win worries Republicans

    Omayra Vasquez blinks and does a double take when asked why she voted to re-elect President Barack Obama. The reason for her was as natural as breathing.

    November 9, 2012

  • Mexico holds 2 in connection with border shooting

    Federal police have arrested two men who may be connected with the fatal shooting of a U.S. Border Patrol agent just north of the Mexico-Arizona border, a Mexican law enforcement official said Thursday.

    October 4, 2012

  • Government agencies face penalties under immigration law

    Almost 600 city and county government agencies in Georgia could lose access to millions of dollars in state loans and grants for failing to comply with a section of the state’s illegal immigration crackdown.

    September 19, 2012

  • Judge: Police to enforce Ariz. immigration law now

    A judge in Arizona ruled Tuesday that police can immediately start enforcing the most contentious section of the state’s immigration law, marking the first time officers can carry out the so-called “show me your papers” provision.

    September 19, 2012 7 Stories

  • Texas town’s rental ban to get second hearing

    A Dallas suburb’s long, expensive fight to ban illegal immigrants from renting homes will have perhaps its most important hearing before a largely conservative group of judges with the power to influence the national immigration debate.

    September 19, 2012 1 Story

  • Political conventions highlight Hispanic split

    The Hispanics with the highest profiles in this year’s political conventions, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, stand as opposites in a cultural and political split that has divided millions of U.S. Latinos for decades.

    September 5, 2012

  • Report: States passing fewer immigration laws

    State legislatures passed 20 percent fewer immigration laws in the first half of this year than at the same time last year, according to a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    August 7, 2012 5 Stories