2017 Farmers Branch Mayoral Runoff Election

Early Voting from May 30, 2017 to June 6. Election Day is June 10.

There are two candidates left in a run-off election for Mayor of Farmers Branch in 2017. The political advertisements have been interesting. One candidate is leading an issue-based campaign focused on how to move the city forward (Robert Dye), while the other has put-forth considerable effort towards a negative smear campaign against his opponent (Harold Froehlich). To learn more about the individual candidates yourself, please visit their websites directly:

Back to the focus of this site ...

Illegal Immigration Legal Battle in Farmers Branch, Texas

A historical overview of the illegal immigration legal battle between The City of Farmers Branch and the ACLU, MALDEF and others.

After a declaration of English as the official language of The City of Farmers Branch and a revisement of an ordinance previously approved unanimously, City Council members unanimously passed Ordinance 2952 where the aim was to stop rentals of housing to illegal aliens and place the enforcement burden on the city and federal government rather than landlords. Highlights of the ordinance included:

Occupancy License

Anyone wishing to lease a house or apartment in Farmers Branch must apply for a residential occupancy license from the city and provide information about U.S. residency.

Residency Verification

Landlords would not be responsible for verifying the legal residency status of potential renters; that responsibility would lie entirely with the federal government.

$5 License Fee

The proposed license fee would be $5 for each adult occupant, and would be valid as long as the occupant remains at that residence.

$500 Fines

Anyone violating any provisions would face a daily municipal fine of up to $500.

5 Major Lawsuits

From MALDEF, ACLU and others

7.5 Million Dollars

In the cost of legal fees alone

8 Long Years

Of legal battles and opportunity costs

4 Measures Passed

Of questionable intent and legality

Timeline: 2006-2007

August, 2006

Time O'Hare, then a City Council Member, unveiled his vision for a crackdown on illegal immigration.

November 13, 2006

City Council members unanimously approved tough anti-illegal immigration legal measures that included:

  • Making English the official language (Resolution No. 2006-130)
  • Fines for landlords that rent to illegal immigrants, and allowing local authorities to screen the legal status of suspects in police custody (Ordinance No. 2892)

The ordinances received overwhelming support not only from Farmers Branch residents but from citizens across the country. In this same meeting, pending and contemplated litigation was discussed and consultation with the city attorney had been made. Council went ahead with the motions anyway.

December 4, 2006

A Farmers Branch resident sued the city and council for allegedly violating the state's open meetings laws for deliberating on immigration-related ordinances behind closed doors. The pro bono affiliate of the Bickel & Brewer law firm filed the lawsuit in state court.

December 22, 2006

Three Farmers Branch apartment complexes sued the city in federal court. Bickel & Brewer represented the complexes, asking that ordinance 2892 be declared unconstitutional.

December 26, 2006

A similar lawsuit is filed by the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the ACLU of Texas and the ACLU's National Immigrants' Rights Project.

January 8, 2007

City council unanimously approve a call to vote on what would become Ordinance 2903, a revised version of Ordinance 2892 that is better suited to stand legal ground.

May 12, 2007

By 2-1, voters endorse Ordinance 2903, a retooled second rental ordinance. Within days, the same legal groups ask a federal judge to block enforcement.

Timeline: 2008-2014

August 29, 2008

A Dallas federal judge issues a final judgement that stopped enforcement. Farmers Branch officials had previously said they'll begin enforcing a different ordinance with a similar purpose if the ruling doesn't come down in their favor.

September, 2008

The city is sued in an effort to block the new ordinance. Former City Council member Junie Smith joins that lawsuit as a plaintiff.

March 24, 2010

A federal judge rules against the city and its third version of the immigration ordinance. The city appeals.

March 21, 2012

A three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit largely affirms the lower court decision against the ordinance. The city appeals for a full-court review.

August 2, 2012

A Dallas federal judge sides with 10 Hispanic plaintiffs and rules that Farmers Branch's at-large election system violated the federal Voting Rights Act. The move sets in motion the election in May 2013 of the first Mexican-American (Ana Reyes) to sit on the council.

August 20, 2013

After City Council members learn the 5th Circuit has largely ruled against them, they vote 3-2 to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • AYE: Harold Froehlich, Ben Robinson, Jeff Fuller
  • NO: Ana Reyes, Kirk Connally

December 31, 2013

The tally for immigration-related expenses reaches $6.1 million for the city.

June 3, 2014

Farmers Branch City Council unanimously approves $1.4 million settlement for plaintiffs, effectively ending the legal fight to defend the ordinance.