Judge Grants ACLU, MALDEF Request to Block Anti-Immigrant Ordinance in Texas During Duration of Trial

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
June 19, 2007 12:00 am

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FARMERS BRANCH, TX – A federal district court in Texas today sided with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and issued an order that blocks an anti-immigrant ordinance from taking effect in Farmers Branch while a legal challenge continues.

“We believe that the court’s order will be made permanent should this case proceed to trial,” said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas. “Today’s decision should serve as a cautionary tale for other Texas municipalities that have considered similar ordinances: they will best serve their constituents if they concentrate local dollars on local issues such as schools, law enforcement, and community improvement.”

The ordinance was initially adopted by the Farmers Branch City Council in January and was approved by Farmers Branch residents in a referendum vote on May 12. Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Sam A. Lindsay granted attorneys for the ACLU and MALDEF a temporary restraining order to block implementation of the ordinance. Today’s preliminary injunction order maintains the status quo and prevents the ordinance from going into effect until a ruling is reached in the lawsuit filed by the ACLU and MALDEF challenging the legality of the ordinance.

“Around the nation, every judge who has reviewed these local anti-immigrant ordinances has put a stop to them,” said Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel for MALDEF, who argued before the court. “Immigration reform is a federal responsibility and local anti-immigrant ordinances only hurt city economies and community relations.”

MALDEF, the ACLU of Texas and the ACLU Immigrants Rights Project filed the lawsuit against the city on December 26, 2006 in federal district court on behalf of residents and landlords who will be adversely affected by the anti-immigrant ordinance. The groups charge that the ordinance violates federal immigration law and illegally puts landlords in the untenable position of serving as federal law enforcement agents. The groups also charge that the ordinance violates the fundamental rights of both landlords and tenants.

A copy of the order is online at: www.aclutx.org/files/FB_doc109.pdf

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