Dallas Morning News reports: A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s ruling that a Farmers Branch ordinance banning illegal immigrants from renting in the city is unconstitutional. The decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Wednesday echoed a lower court ruling that the power to control immigration rests only with the federal government — not states or cities.
“This is a national problem, needing a national solution. And it impacts the nation’s relations with Mexico and other nations,” the decision said. The appeals court judges said that the ordinance was more than a housing regulation and was “designed to burden aliens, both documented and undocumented, in Farmers Branch. As such, the ordinance serves no legitimate city interest.”
Farmers Branch Mayor Bill Glancy said he hadn’t read the decision or spoken to the city’s outside lawyers about it. But he said, “I have supported our stance on illegal immigration because I feel something must be done.” Glancy said he couldn’t say whether the city would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court — something former Mayor Tim O’Hare vowed the city would do. So far, the city has spent more than $4 million on legal fees fighting for the ordinance.
“The federal courts have made clear that cities cannot make their own immigration laws and target residents for expulsion simply because of their race or nationality. This ordinance was intended to discriminate against Hispanics.”
The appeals court noted other attempts to regulate illegal immigration in Arizona, Alabama and in Hazleton, Pa. “This increasing treatment — some might say mistreatment — of illegal immigrants around the country only reinforces what the Supreme Court has said in explaining why a national policy on immigration unimpeded by the whims of the various states is paramount,” said the decision, written by Judge Thomas Reavley.
Kris Kobach (of John Tanton's Hate Group F.A.I.R, and on Mitt Romney's campaign team), is part of the legal team for Farmers Branch. He said he was disappointed. He crafted many pieces of legislation around the country that would crack down on illegal immigration.