DALLAS (CN) – The City of Farmers Branch on Friday was scheduled to begin enforcing an ordinance that requires renters to pay $5 for an “occupancy license” and show proof of citizenship before they can move in, seven people claim in Federal Court. It is the city’s third attempt to deny people housing on the basis of their immigration status, after the first two attempts were overturned in Federal Court.
A federal judge permanently enjoined the city from enforcing a predecessor ordinance, No. 2903. Ordinance 2952 is a replacement measure.
Lead plaintiff Valentin Reyes and his family have owned their home for more than 30 years. Reyes said he relies on the $850 rental income he gets from the house. He has no interest in his tenants’ immigration status. He says to require him to do so would invade his tenants’ privacy.
Plaintiff Alicia Garcia is a U.S. citizen who has rented apartments in Farmers Branch for 17 years.
Nearly one-third of the property in Farmers Branch is occupied by renters, the complaint states. The mayor and City Council have publicly stated their desire to limit the Latino population of Farmers Branch. Plaintiffs say the city is shredding the Constitution. They want another permanent injunction, and costs.
Farmers Branch is a suburb of Dallas.
Lead counsel for the plaintiffs is Nina Perales with MALDEF in San Antonio.