Hispanics Counter Anti-Migrant Idea With Buy-In Plan

Stephanie Sandoval, Dallas Morning News, August 29, 2006

One City Council member’s idea to limit illegal immigrants in Farmers Branch has prompted a plan by opponents to promote and sell homes in the city to Hispanics—including illegal immigrants.

A group of Hispanic and civil rights groups on Monday announced Compre Farmers Branch, a consortium of real estate agents, lending institutions and others aimed at helping Hispanics buy homes in Farmers Branch. Compre is Spanish for “buy.”

They’re hoping Hispanics will purchase all 157 homes they say are on the market in that city—including the home of City Council member Tim O’Hare.

Mr. O’Hare has come under fire by the groups for suggesting that the city consider adopting local ordinances that would make it harder for illegal immigrants to live and work in the city. The ideas include penalizing landlords and employers who lease property to or employ illegal immigrants, making English the city’s official language and eliminating subsidies for illegal immigrant children to participate in some of the city’s youth programs.

The groups have said the suggestions are an attempt to rid the city of Hispanics and called Mr. O’Hare and his ideas racist.

Mr. O’Hare said his issues are only with people who are in the country illegally and have nothing to do with race, ethnicity or national origin. The ideas are part of a larger attempt to clean up and turn around neighborhoods that are in a state of decline, he said.

“It’s the American dream. . . Raise your family in a nice idyllic place like Farmers Branch, in the shadow of Big D,” said Hector Flores, immediate past national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “It’s idyllic, Main Street, U.S.A. We thank . . . [Mr. O’Hare] for bringing that to our attention.”

Mr. O’Hare said he’s glad to see the Farmers Branch effort.

“Any and all races are welcome to come buy my home,” he said. “I have no problem with people of Hispanic heritage buying a home. I have a problem with anyone who is here illegally moving to or living in Farmers Branch.”

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