According to the Houston Chronicle residents of Farmers Branch have voted to make it illegal for landlords to rent to illegal immigrants:
Voters in this Dallas suburb became the first in the nation today to prohibit landlords from renting to most illegal immigrants.
The ban was approved by a vote of 68 percent to 32 percent in final, unofficial returns.
“It says especially to Congress that we’re tired of the out-of-control illegal immigration problem. That if Congress doesn’t do something about it, cities will,” said Tim O’Hare, a City Council member who was the ordinance’s lead proponent.
The first such anti-illegal immigrant ordinance requires apartment managers to verify that renters are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants before leasing to them. Minors and people 62 and over are exempt from having to prove their immigration status or citizenship. Families that include citizens and illegal-immigrant members could lease if they meet three conditions: they’re already tenants, heads of households or spouses are legally in the U.S., and the family includes only a spouse, their minor children or parents.
As Mr. O’Hare says, local governments are trying to take up the feds slack in many aspects of the illegal immigration problem. Kudos to him for sticking with the idea after a city council ban was abandoned late last year over fears of a legal battle.
Opponents plan to seek a restraining order to stop the city from enforcing it and try to get the case to trial.
Although local proposals aimed at regulating illegal immigration have historically been approved, they often fail to pass constitutional muster, said Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute office at New York University School of Law.
“There is significant frustration, so that’s what’s driving it,” Chishti said. “But the simple fact is they cannot do too much other than impress upon the Congress the need for immigration reform.”
We’ll see, Mr. Chishti, we’ll see.
The margin of victory in this case and the strong voter turn out – triple the usual number of voters participated – clearly indicate an overwhelming majority of citizens favor this sort of legal restriction on illegals’ rights.
The court system would do well to bear this in mind when this case is inevitably put before them by proponents of illegal immigration.