Suburb Adopts New Anti-Immigrant Law

Anabelle Garay, AP, January 24, 2008

Leaders of a Dallas suburb that was blocked from enforcing a ban on leasing apartments to illegal immigrants approved a new rule Tuesday to require prospective tenants to get a city license to rent homes and apartments.

The measure, approved unanimously by the City Council, requires tenants to provide information to the city, which would then check with the federal government to determine the person’s immigration status.

Anyone deemed an illegal immigrant would be banned from renting.

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Nearly 200 people packed into City Hall for the council vote. Dozens lauded the council, while dozens more denounced city officials for continuing to push immigration-related measures.

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Under this ban, Farmers Branch would use a database employed by state and federal agencies to verify whether immigrants are entitled to certain benefits, such as housing and food stamps, said Michael Jung, an attorney with Strasburger & Price LLP.

With the new proposal, a person who isn’t a U.S. citizen would provide a number issued by the federal government that shows their lawful presence in the U.S. The number could be from any of a variety of legal documents.

If federal authorities cannot confirm legal residency status, the person would have 60 days to provide proof.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said there is no such database the city can use for the purpose they say they intend to use it for.

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