Farmers Branch's rental ban to get second hearing Wednesday
Source: The Dallas Morning News
A Dallas suburbís long, expensive fight to ban illegal immigrants from renting homes will get perhaps its most important hearing Wednesday before a largely conservative group of judges with the power to influence the national immigration debate.
Farmers Branch was sued four years ago after it passed an ordinance allowing the city building inspector to evict any illegal immigrant renters. Its case will now go before the full membership of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, comprised of 10 active judges appointed by Republican presidents and just five by Democrats.
So far, no court has allowed Farmers Branch to enforce any form of the ordinance. But the appeals courtís rare move to hear the case a second time, months after a different three-judge panel ruled against Farmers Branch, could be a sign that the town might finally get a victory.
The current ordinance, which replaced an earlier 2006 version, would require all renters to obtain a $5 city license and fill out an application that asks about their legal status. Then, the cityís building inspector would have to check whether any immigrant applying for a license was in the United States legally. Illegal immigrants would be denied a permit, and landlords who knowingly allow illegal immigrants to stay as tenants could be fined or have their rentersí license barred.