Texas Town's Ban on Renting to Illegal Immigrants Goes to Court

Ordinance allowed building inspectors to evict based on immigration status


A panel of federal appeals court judges is expected to hear arguments Wednesday concerning a Dallas suburb's ordinance banning illegal immigrant renters.

The suburb of Farmers Branch, population 28,000, was sued four years ago after officials passed an ordinance allowing the city building inspector to evict renters based on their immigration status, according to city spokesman Tom Bryson. Voters had already approved a similar ordinance by referendum the year before, 68% in favor in an election with 45% turnout, Bryson told the Los Angeles Times.

Because of legal challenges, the city has never been allowed to enforce the ordinance, which replaced an earlier 2006 version. The newer ordinance would require renters to buy a $5 city license, fill out an application disclosing their immigration status and allow the city's building inspector to check it. Illegal immigrants would be denied permits, and landlords who rented to them would be fined or could lose their renters' license.