Farmers Branch: It's Scary

Illustration by Craig LaRotonda

After Farmers Branch passed a series of measures targeting illegal immigrants two weeks ago, the opposition is mounting a fight to prevent the laws from taking effect. (If you need reminding, those laws make English the town's official language, authorize local law enforcement to check the immigration status of suspects in custody and require landlords to verify tenants' legal status. But you didn't really need reminding, did you?)

The newly formed Farmers Branch chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens is circulating a petition to oppose the landlord-tenant measure, which chapter president Elizabeth Villafranca says "goes after the most vulnerable people in our society." The laws have instilled fear and fueled rumors in the town's immigrant community, and Villafranca met last night with a group of 80 to 100 tenants at the Ventana Apartments who feared they had be evicted.

"These people are so scared," she tells Unfair Park.

Families told her they were afraid their children would be penalized for speaking Spanish at school and that they'd have to move by the end of the month. Villafranca explained that even if the law takes effect in January, tenants already renting wouldn't be required to show proof of legal status.

According to LULAC, the group must collect at least 700 signatures before December 10 to get a vote on the measure and possibly prevent it from taking effect on January 12.

A "community walk for justice" is set for Saturday and Sunday to collect signatures. Check-in is at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days at 2704 Valley View Lane. --Megan Feldman