ACLU and MALDEF Disappointed In Farmers Branch Election Results

Legal Challenge Renewed as Ordinance Goes into Effect

May 12, 2007

FARMERS BRANCH, TX – The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) expressed disappointment that residents of Farmers Branch voted to let an anti-immigrant ordinance go into effect and vowed to renew their legal challenge as a result.

“The silent majority in Farmers Branch agrees that this illegal ordinance will drain the community of resources and ultimately hurt the reputation of the City. We will act quickly to prevent Ordinance 2903’s enforcement,” stated Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel for MALDEF.

Ordinance 2903 is one of several anti-immigrant initiatives across the country that would require landlords and business owners to act as law enforcement agents to verify the citizenship status of potential tenants and employees. Similar ordinance have been enjoined in Pennsylvania, California, and Missouri.

“We are clearly disappointed by the election results, but this does not mean the fight is over,” said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas. “We will be renewing our challenge in court immediately and are confident that the judicial process will restore the rights of both landlords and tenants in Farmers Branch.”

The ordinance was challenged in federal court by MALDEF and the ACLU when it was first passed. MALDEF and the ACLU had asked a federal court to restrain Farmers Branch from enforcing the ordinance because it violates 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 Branch voters on May 12, 2007.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund