DALLAS (CN) – A federal judge voided a Dallas suburb housing ordinance that blocked illegal immigrants from renting apartments by requiring landlords to verify tenants’ immigration status. U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay permanently enjoined the city of Farmers Branch from enforcing the ordinance.
The ordinance, passed in January, required all tenants to obtain a “residential occupancy license” before renting a house or apartment. Only U.S. citizens and tenants deemed “lawfully present” in the country would be eligible for licensing, while unlicensed tenants would be denied housing or face eviction.
A group of apartment owners, residents and advocates argued that the ordinance violated their 14th Amendment due-process rights.
In granting the injunction, Judge Lindsay said the ordinance would cause landlords to lose business to neighboring cities, and would create uncertainty for legal immigrants who don’t have the necessary documentation for a housing license. Lindsay agreed with the plaintiffs that the ordinance is pre-empted by federal immigration law and violates their constitutional rights.