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  1. #1

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    TX: Judge Temporarily Halts Farmers Branch Rental Ban

    Judge temporarily halts FB rental ban

    Ruling cites conflict with U.S. law; backers say voters' will ignored


    12:00 AM CDT on Tuesday, May 22, 2007
    By STEPHANIE SANDOVAL / The Dallas Morning News
    ssandoval@dallasnews.com

    FARMERS BRANCH – A day before the city planned to start enforcing an ordinance banning apartment rentals to most illegal immigrants, a federal judge put a temporary stop to the plan, ruling that it "conflicts with federal law."

    Legal experts said the ruling Monday by U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay signals that the ordinance may face trouble in federal court despite Farmers Branch voters' overwhelming approval of it May 12. Federal courts have issued rulings stopping other cities from implementing similar laws.

    Judge Lindsay, in a 20-page ruling granting a temporary restraining order, said Farmers Branch had wrongly used federal laws governing who receives housing subsidies to write its ordinance and had created its own classification system for determining which noncitizens may rent an apartment in the city.

    "The court recognizes that illegal immigration is a major problem in this country, and one who asserts otherwise ignores reality," Judge Lindsay wrote. "The court also fully understands the frustration of cities attempting to address a national problem that the federal government should handle; however, such frustration, no matter how great, cannot serve as a basis to pass an ordinance that conflicts with federal law."


    Criticism, approval

    Farmers Branch City Council members criticized the judge for ignoring residents' approval of the ordinance, which would require apartment managers to verify that renters are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants before leasing to them, with some exceptions. Violators face fines of up to $500, and each day would be considered a separate violation.

    "I am disappointed that the judge chose to ignore the will of the people," said City Council member Tim O'Hare, who proposed the ordinance. "However, I am hopeful ... the judge will not grant the preliminary injunction and allow us to enforce the ordinance as voted on by two-thirds of our residents."

    Marisol Perez, staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the judge's decision is in line with court decisions elsewhere that have stopped similar laws.

    "We are pleased the judge has recognized this ordinance is illegal and in violation of the U.S. Constitution," Ms. Perez said. "This sends a clear message that these types of ordinances should not be passed by local cities."

    A temporary restraining order is issued to preserve the status quo until a hearing can be held. A hearing must be held within 10 days to determine whether the order will be lifted or whether a temporary injunction will be put in place to prevent the city from implementing the law until the case goes to trial, attorneys on both sides said.

    "Immigration has historically and constitutionally been an issue that's delegated to the federal government, and local governments should not be involved in enforcing immigration laws," said Barbara Hines, clinical-law professor at the University of Texas and director of the university's Immigration Clinic.

    Dr. Hines said that though a temporary restraining order is just that – temporary – until a determination can be made whether to issue a preliminary injunction, and a preliminary injunction wouldn't even mean the city would lose at trial, it is an important step.

    "I think a ruling striking down the Farmers Branch ordinance [with a preliminary injunction] would send an important signal to other communities that are contemplating a similar ordinance," she said.


    Supremacy clause

    Judge Lindsay said in the order that because the city is trying to regulate immigration differently from the federal government, the ordinance is in violation of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have argued that the ordinance ventured into an area – immigration – reserved exclusively for the federal government.

    That argument has been accepted by federal courts in lawsuits brought against Hazleton, Pa., and Escondido, Calif., which also adopted ordinances against illegal immigration.

    The court criticized the city for using federal regulations governing which noncitizens may receive housing subsidies instead of adopting federal standards that determine who is here legally.

    The ruling is a good indication the ordinance will be overturned after further hearings, said William A. Brewer III, an attorney representing some of the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit

    "This is really game, set and match," he said. "He is reading the law the same way we do, this ordinance as being unconstitutional and pre-empted by federal law."

    Residents who support the ordinance have criticized opponents for pursuing the lawsuits and petitioning the court to halt the city from implementing the ordinance after residents voted in favor of it. Other supporters say opponents, who petitioned the City Council to put the matter to a public vote and called themselves Let the Voters Decide, should let the matter rest now that voters have decided.

    "I do not understand why we have a vote on it and it doesn't seem to matter to the judge," City Council member Bill Moses said.
    THE POOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT IN MY AVATAR CROSSED OVER THE WRONG BORDER FENCE!!!

  2. #2

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    Judge Lindsay said in the order that because the city is trying to regulate immigration differently from the federal government, the ordinance is in violation of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.
    The city is actually trying to regulate illegal immigration, that is the difference between Farmers Branch and the federal government.
    THE POOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT IN MY AVATAR CROSSED OVER THE WRONG BORDER FENCE!!!

  3. #3
    tvlgds's Avatar
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    If the federal goobermint would enforce the laws, the cities and states wouldn't have to try. The funny thing is, that AMERICANS have to provide social security numbers and credit checks have to be run in order to even rent an apt............the old double standard is alive and well. Same thing for bank accounts, but B of A and others are pandering to illegals by allowing them to show only a Mexican Matricula card, which MEXICAN banks don't even accept. I have had B of A since 1988, and recently moved to IBC, because they DON'T take pander.......for now, anyway.

  4. #4
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    OI! The people have voted and now this idiot judge is going to stand in their way?

    Hey I'm about to dump my BofA card too.

  5. #5

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    Hey Dagmar, just wanted to say that I love your "remember the Alamo" items. I just checked them out! My dh has an ancestor who died at the Alamo, Daniel Cloud.
    Just your ordinary, average, everyday, American mom!

  6. #6
    cee
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    illegal immigration

    Isn't IBC owned by a Mexican Corporation? I heard that it was and that is probably why they won't accept the matricular card.

    No judge should ever be allowed to overrule the voice of the voters. No judge should ever be allowed to create legislation. They also should not be allowed to stay in office for life. That is crap about the constitution. If the feds won't protect this country then the states and cities should. Cee

  7. #7
    Senior Member steelerbabe's Avatar
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    Here's some more info. on this judge:

    http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judges/lindsay.html

  8. #8

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    Yes, this is a Clinton-appointed judge. 'Nuff said.
    THE POOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT IN MY AVATAR CROSSED OVER THE WRONG BORDER FENCE!!!

  9. #9
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Moved to news section and added to the homepage

    http://www.alipac.us/modules.php?name=N ... e&sid=2188
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    sandoval has written past articles in the dallas paper and
    has done nothing but critisize the city and the ordinances

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