FARMERS BRANCH, TX-- Today, the city of Farmers Branch filed a joint document in federal court with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas (ACLU) in which the city agreed to not enforce its current ordinance. The Farmers Branch City Council voted yesterday to direct their City Attorney to draft a new ordinance effectively repealing the city's anti-immigrant ordinance adopted on November 13, 2006.
The ordinance was challenged in federal court by MALDEF and the ACLU. MALDEF and the ACLU had asked a federal court to restrain Farmers Branch from enforcing the ordinance because it violated the constitutional rights of both Farmers Branch landlords and tenants. In response to the lawsuit, the Farmers Branch City Council ordered the City Attorney to draft a replacement to the challenged ordinance. In addition, the City Council called for a voluntary referendum to submit the revised ordinance to Farmers Branchvoters on May 12, 2007.
"Our clients are pleased with the decision by the City Council to reconsider Ordinance 2892. The ordinance is bad for the community and against the law. Hopefully, the City Council will decide to abandon its efforts to turn landlords into immigration agents," stated Marisol Perez, staff attorney for MALDEF.
"Repealing the current ordinance is the right move for the City Council. Litigation will be costly to the taxpayers of Farmers Branch and Ordinance 2892 is an unlawful attempt to override federal immigration laws," said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas.
"We are confident that the residents of Farmers Branch will decide that any ordinance that blames immigrants in Farmers Branch or the city's perceived ills is not in the best interest of their community. Instead of bowing to the pressures of anti-immigrant advocates, we hope that the City Council and the voters will commit to acting in the best interest of Farmers Branch," added Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel for MALDEF.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF, the nation's leading Latino legal organization, promotes and protects the rights of Latinos through advocacy, litigation, community education and outreach, leadership development, and higher education scholarships.
The ACLU of Texas is the state affiliate of the national ACLU, which was founded in 1920 to defend and preserve the civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. The ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project is part of the ACLU's national office in New York and coordinates litigation and advocacy on issues affecting immigration in all fifty states.