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Farmers Branch Immigration Ordinance Loses In Appeals Court

Farmers Branch Mayor Bill Glancy

A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that stopped a ban on renting to illegal immigrants in Farmers Branch. KERA’s BJ Austin says the city must now decide if it will continue the expensive legal battle.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ordinance passed by Farmers Branch overstepped the town's authority. Opponents had argued all along the way that immigration enforcement is the sole responsibility of the federal government.

Passed in 2008, the Farmers Branch ordinance required an immigration check of anyone wanting to rent. Illegal immigrants would be barred, and landlords who knowingly allowed them to stay could have their rental licenses revoked.

Farmers Branch Mayor Bill Glancy says the City Council was trying to “do things that it feels is what the country is all about” and he says that includes being a “law abiding community.” He says council members will talk with attorneys before deciding if they’ll take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Glancy: You know we’ve benefited over the years from a lot of other cities fighting battles where they went through a big court battle to sustain what is legal and not legal when dealing with issues. And so, I guess the city has ended up being the person that carries the torch on this issue. And I think, you know, if the ordinance is ever upheld by the courts, I’m sure a lot of other cities would probably jump on it and adopt the ordinance.

So far, Farmers Branch has spent at least four million dollars defending the ordinance.