Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, ACLU of Texas (American Civil Liberties Union of Texas), ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Weil, Gotschal & Manges, Cagle & Broiles,
Tim O’Hare, then a Farmers Branch council member, unveiled his vision for a crackdown on illegal immigration.
November 13, 2006
On November 13th, 2006, City Council members of Farmers Branch, Texas unanimously approved tough new 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 sues the city and the council for alleged violations of the state’s open meetings laws for deliberating on immigration-related ordinances behind closed doors. The lawsuit in state court is filed by the pro bono affiliate of the Bickel & Brewer law firm.
December 22, 2006
Three Farmers Branch apartment complexes sued the city in federal court, asking that the ordinance be declared unconstitutional. Bickel & Brewer represented the complexes.
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 Immigrant’s Rights Project.
May 12, 2007
By 2-1, voters endorse a retooled second rental ordinance in a referendum. Within days, the same legal groups ask a federal judge to block enforcement.
August 29, 2008
A Dallas federal judge issues a final judgement that stopped enforcement. But Farmers Branch officials say they’ll begin enforcing a different ordinance with a similar purpose.