Yet Again, a Federal Judge Tells Farmers Branch it Can't Enforce Immigration Law

Since ex-Observer'er Megan Feldman's done moved back to Colorado, it falls to me to direct your attention to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund's announcement today concerning U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle's order that "permanently enjoins enforcement of Ordinance 2952" -- you know, the latest version of the Farmers Branch ordinance that prohibits apartment owners from renting to illegal immigrants. Boyle's ruling today comes three long years after U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay shot down the ordinance during its first go-round.

In short, Boyle says Farmers Branch can't enforce immigration laws -- only the federal government can. As in: "The authority to regulate immigration is exclusively a federal power," so, sorry, Farmers Branch. You can read the entirety of her 40-page order and opinion here.

MALDEF and the ACLU, its partner in the litigation, are, of course, thrilled with the ruling: "Once again, Farmers Branch has wasted hundreds of thousands of its taxpayer' money enacting and defending an unconstitutional ordinance," says MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel Nina Perales in the release. "This decision sends a strong message that Farmers Branch should stop wasting vital city resources on a string of failures in court." In a separate release we just received from the ACLU of Texas, its legal director, Lisa Graybill, says, "The Court's opinion confirms what we have known from the beginning of this fight, back in November 2006 -- that Farmers Branch's effort to legislate in the realm of immigration is a quixotic attempt to circumvent federal law and clearly established precedent."

But Farmers Branch Mayor Tim O'Hare ain't having it and it threatening an appeal. He tells Dianne Solis today, "The American people are tired of judges legislating from the bench. We will finally have our opportunity to have this matter heard at the appellate court level, where we fully expect to prevail."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky