Farmers Branch Immigration Fight Marches On

City Council unanimously agrees to appeal judge's ruling

The Farmers Branch City Council has decided to continue a multimillion dollar court battle over an ordinance banning illegal immigrants from renting property in the city.

Last month, a U.S. District judge ruled the ordinance unconstitutional because it attempted to enforce U.S. immigration laws, something the judge said only the federal government can do.

"Ordinance 2952 is a regulation of immigration and is preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution because the authority to regulate immigration is exclusively a federal power," Judge Jane J. Boyle, of Dallas, wrote.

Boyle issued a permanent injunction that the city be prohibited from enforcing the ordinance.

The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to appeal the judge's ruling.

Police escorted one man out of the meeting. Residents of Farmers Branch, the fastest-growing city in Dallas County, are divided over whether or not it is worth it to appeal the ruling.

"With Kenny Rodgers' words: 'You have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them,' and I hope you fold on this issue," one woman said.

"If we don't take a stand on this illegal immigration issue -- you look around at Oak Cliff, you can look at Southeast Dallas. If you want Farmers Branch to become that, then vote against moving forward with this," one man said.

Legal fees to defend three versions of the ordinance have cost the city $3.2 million since 2006. Pressing ahead with an appeal is estimated to cost another $150,000. The city estimates costs could eventually exceed $5 million.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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