MALDEF

Vasquez v. City of Farmers Branch, Texas

In November 2006, the City of Farmers Branch became the first city in Texas to pass an anti-immigrant ordinance. Ordinance 2892, and its later replacement Ordinance 2903, required landlords of apartment complexes to verify that every person living in an apartment in the City, was a United States citizen or an eligible immigrant.

On behalf of landlords and tenants, MALDEF challenged the constitutionality of the City’s Ordinance. MALDEF was successful in quickly blocking enforcement of the City’s Ordinance with a preliminary injunction and finally in May of 2008, U.S. District Court Judge Sam A. Lindsay determined that Ordinance 2903 was preempted by federal law and violated Plaintiffs’ right to due process. The judge ordered a permanent injunction prohibiting the City from enforcing Ordinance 2903.

However, on January 22, 2008, the City of Farmers Branch enacted yet another ordinance. Ordinance 2952 requires all renters in the City to obtain a “residential occupancy license” and further requires that all adult non-U.S. citizen renters to provide information demonstrating their “lawful presence” in the United States.

MALDEF, the ACLU Immigrants Right Project, and the ACLU of Texas have filed a separate lawsuit, Reyes vs. City of Farmers Branch, challenging the constitutionality of Ordinance 2952 arguing that the City’s latest attempt to regulate in the area of immigration continues to violate the U.S. Constitution as well as state and federal laws. That ordinance is temporarily enjoined as the challenge proceeds.

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