The town of Farmer’s Branch, TX attempted to pass a law this month which would heavily penalize landlords for renting apartments to illegal immigrants. The city ordinance, which was approved by a significant majority in a city vote, requires managers to verify that renters are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants before leasing to them, with some exceptions. Violators face fines of up to $500 a day.
Three times, opponents of the ordinance filed requests in federal court to have it repealed ~ and yesterday, finally, U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay overturned the ordinance, ruling that only the federal government can determine whether a person is in the United States legally. Judge Lindsay cited the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which makes federal laws and U.S. treaties “the supreme law of the land.”
Perhaps the concern is that, if local law enforcement officials are endowed with the responsibility of controlling illegal immigration on their own, this authority might be misused for racist and potentially unconstitutional purposes. Nevertheless, preventing local communities from addressing illegal immigration seems the best way not to address the problem effectively. An unwieldily bipartisan agreement made in Congress … does.
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