Federal appeals court overturns Texas ordinance blocking undocumented tenants from renting
A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that landlords in a Texas suburb may not vet incoming tenants according to their immigration status, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“All of Texas benefits from the contributions of immigrants who live and work in our state,” ACLU of Texas legal and policy director Rebecca L. Robertson said in a statement. “We fervently hope that this case marks the end of the anti-immigrant laws that target our friends, our neighbors, and our family members for harsh treatment.”
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that an ordinance adopted in Farmers Branch in 2008 requiring renters to show legal residence in the country before becoming tenants conflicted with federal immigration law.
“The ordinance not only criminalizes occupancy of a rented apartment or single-family residence, but puts local officials in the impermissible position of arresting and detaining persons based on their immigration status without federal direction and supervision,” Judge Stephen A. Higginson wrote in the majority opinion (PDF).
The Dallas Morning News reported that Farmers Branch officials are unsure whether to continue their fight to uphold the measure. The Dallas County suburb has spent $6 million over the past seven years on legal fees connected to the ordinance.
“Obviously, I am disappointed,” City Council member Ben Robinson told the Morning News. “I didn’t read it that we were stepping on the shoes of the federal government. Anybody who rented an apartment had to make some statement about their nationality.”
[Image: “Real Estate Market – Young Indonesian Couple Moving In A Home Or Apartment With A Packing Case Or Moving Box” via Shutterstock]