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Dallas suburb sued over revised rental ordinance targeting illegal immigrants

[JURIST] Opponents of a new anti-immigration measure [Ordinance 2952, PDF] in Farmers Branch, Texas [official website; JURIST news archive] filed a lawsuit Tuesday arguing that the measure was not properly approved. The ordinance was passed [JURIST report] by the Dallas suburb's City Council last month, but the suit alleges that it was approved in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act [PDF text] because the City Council passed it quickly and secretly during a meeting to discuss legal challenges against a previous measure, Ordinance 2903 [DOC text]. Ordinance 2903, passed and approved by voters last year, was blocked last June when a US federal judge extended a temporary restraining order pending an earlier lawsuit [JURIST reports] maintaining that the ordinance violates federal immigration law and violates the fundamental rights of both landlords and tenants.

If it goes into effect, Ordinance 2952 would require all adults to apply for a city license compelling disclosure of immigration status before they can lease a house or apartment. Any applicant would be permitted to move into their rental immediately, but if searches in a federal database fail to confirm the applicant's legal status, the applicant must prove their legal residency within 60 days or lose the city license. Ordinance 2952, designed to appease opponents of Ordinance 2903 which placed the burden of enforcement on landlords rather than the government, will go into effect 15 days after a final judgment is made in the lawsuit challenging 2903 [complaint, PDF]. AP has more. The Dallas Morning News has local coverage.

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