U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay Votes "No" on Farmers Branch Ordinance

Illustration by Craig LaRotonda
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Last Tuesday, three days after voters in Farmers Branch voted overwhemingly for the law that bans apartment owners from renting to illegal immigrants, we posted that press release from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas about their having filed a request for a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of the ordinance. Well, today we got another press release from the groups -- this one, celebrating their victory in the courtoom of U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay, who today granted the request. Which means the ordinance will not take effect tomorrow after all.

The full release, complete with told-ya-so quotes from MALDEF and ACLU bigwigs, is after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky


TRO blocks ordinance from going into effect tomorrow, May 22, 2007

FARMERS BRANCH, TX - The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Texas won a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) today to block implementation of an anti-immigrant ordinance in Farmers Branch. The ordinance was initially adopted by the Farmers Branch City Council in January and was recently approved by Farmers Branch residents in a vote on Saturday, May 12. The TRO blocks the ordinance from going into effect tomorrow as scheduled.

Last week, attorneys for the ACLU and MALDEF filed the TRO application to block implementation of the ordinance. U.S. District Court Judge Sam A. Lindsay today granted the requests.

"We are grateful that the court recognized the potential harm to landlords and tenants in Farmers Branch, should this unconstitutional ordinance have gone into effect," said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas. "We are confident that the court's preliminary findings will be sustained as the litigation moves forward."

"Today's ruling sends a clear message that Farmers Branch's ordinance, and other similar anti-immigrant ordinances blocked by courts around the country, are an illegal attempt to usurp federal power to regulate immigration," said Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel for MALDEF.

Attorneys for the ACLU and MALDEF will continue with the suit filed on December 26, 2006 in federal district court on behalf of residents and landlords who will be adversely affected by the ordinance. The lawsuit maintains that the ordinance violates federal immigration law and illegally puts landlords in the untenable position of serving as federal law enforcement agents. The complaint also alleges that the ordinance violates the fundamental rights of both landlords and tenants.

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