Luke Villarreal (left) argues immigration policy with Jane Patterson outside of city hall Nov. 13, 2006, in Farmers Branch, Texas.
A federal appeals court is weighing a Dallas suburb's bid to overturn a judge's ruling that the city tried to impose unconstitutional restrictions on home rentals to illegal immigrants.
A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals didn't immediately rule after hearing arguments Tuesday over a housing ordinance that Farmers Branch's city council enacted in 2008.
Farmers Branch says U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle erred last year in ruling that its ordinance is pre-empted by federal immigration law. The city argues that denying illegal immigrants access to rental housing isn't fundamentally different than denying them employment or public benefits.
Landlords and tenants who challenged the city's ordinance said the licensing scheme adopted by the council impermissibly intruded on the federal immigration system.