December 27, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@aclu.org

FARMERS BRANCH, TX – Today, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, along with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, filed suit in Dallas federal district court on behalf of Farmers Branch residents and landlords challenging the city’s recently adopted anti-immigrant ordinance.   
 
“Immigration enforcement must be left to the federal government, not each local municipality,” said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas.  “Otherwise Texas will end up with a patchwork system that is impractical and unenforceable, and in Farmers Branch, private landowners as well as tenants will pay an unfair price.”

The lawsuit charges that the Farmers Branch anti-immigrant ordinance runs afoul of federal immigration law and places landlords in the untenable position of acting as federal immigration officers.  The complaint also alleges that the ordinance is so poorly drafted that it excludes even some authorized immigrants from renting in Farmers Branch apartment complexes. 

“The Farmers Branch law is a botched attempt to force landlords to police immigration” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel.  “The Latino population of Farmers Branch is a strength, not a liability, and city leaders should not be wasting tax money to drive out people who help the city,” continued Perales. 

The housing ordinance is scheduled to take effect on January 12, 2007.

The complaint filed today challenging the ordinance is available online at: /immigrants/discrim/27794lgl20061226.html
 

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