Mon March 3, 2014
Supreme Court Will Not Hear Farmers Branch Immigrant Housing Case
The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an appeal from the City of Farmers Branch regarding an ordinance that would have made it illegal to rent or provide housing to immigrants in the country without documentation.
Since its passage, civil rights group like the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund have taken issue with the ordinance, which was designed to keep undocumented immigrants from renting apartments and homes in the Dallas suburb.
MALDEF’s Nina Perales was one of the lead attorneys fighting the ordinance and said it damaged the city from inside-out.
"The problems created by the ordinance were much bigger than the immigrant community and many people in the town were Latino -- some were immigrant, some were not -- but when the tensions rose around this ordinance it was affecting everybody," Perales said.
Perales said the Supreme Court’s decision to deny the Farmers Branch appeal puts an end to the seven-year court battle.
"It’s going to create a great improvement in the day-to-day business of Farmer’s Branch, because the city has spent over $6 million litigating the case and it will also help repair the relationships in the city that have been really been strained," Perales said.
ACLU of Texas’ Terri Burke said this week’s decision isn’t the first time Farmer’s Branch wrote this type of anti-immigrant housing ordinance.
"They rewrote their ordinance, they’d pass a new one and we’d go back to court -- they kept losing," Burke said. "I hope, for goodness, the people of Farmer’s Branch will get on with recognizing the contribution of all their residents of their city.”
Attorneys hope it closes the chapter on the issue and sends a message any other community contemplating similar measures.