FARMERS BRANCH (CBSDFW.COM) - After years of fighting, the Farmers Branch City Council is going to take a little more time to decide if it should keep that fight up. City leaders heard from several residents Tuesday night on its long and costly legal fight for an ordinance banning immigrants, who are in the U.S. without legal permission, from renting property in the city.
The council left the meeting though without making a decision.
Leaders have been fighting to implement the ordinance for seven years. Legal battles involving immigration-related lawsuits have cost taxpayers an estimated $6 million so far. Attorneys said Tuesday that quitting now, would likely result in another two to three million dollars paid in attorneys fees to other parties.
Late last month, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans found the ordinance unconstitutional, agreeing with a lower court’s decision that ruled against the city.
Several residents encourage the city to keep up the fight, noting that a Nebraska court recently upheld an ordinance inspired by the one in Farmer’s Branch.
“I promise you that there is still support out there,” resident Mark Baker told the council. “We voted on it 2 to 1. 2 to 1 voted to go forward with this legislation. I’m asking you to follow that vote.
Just as many in the audience though, said they felt it was time for the city to cut its losses.
“I think its time to fold out tent,” said Carol Dingman. “It’s not our city’s responsibility to fight this for the country.
Farmers Branch Mayor Bill Glancy wants city leaders to take their time. “We’ve got 90 days before we have to make a decision on the process of an appeal; whether they want to take it to the Supreme Court or not,” he said.
The proposed ordinance would require all renters in the city to have a license. Part of the application for that license includes questions about the individual’s legal status. If the person applying for a license was found to be in the country illegally they would be denied a permit and any person knowingly renting to them could be fined or have their renter’s license revoked.
Mayor Glancy said trying to resolve the matter swiftly doesn’t mean it’s resolved correctly. “Haste makes waste in a lot of those type of things and dealing with the justice system in this country is a very difficult road to travel,” he said, adding, “I am not of a mindset that I want to push the council to make a quick decision on it. Let’s think it through. Let’s make sense o of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”
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