AILA Applauds Fifth Circuit Decision Striking Down Local Anti-Immigrant Ordinance

Friday, July 26, 2013

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

AILA Applauds Fifth Circuit Decision Striking Down Local Anti-Immigrant Ordinance

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauded the recent 9-5 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which recognized that a discriminatory ordinance in Farmers Branch, TX was unconstitutional because it conflicted with federal immigration law.

The ordinance, which had been blocked by federal courts in advance of the decision, would have required all prospective renters to provide information about their immigration status to the city and receive a rental license from the city building inspector after such status had been determined.

The ordinance was the latest in a set of steps taken by the City of Farmers Branch in an attempt to prevent undocumented immigrants from living in the area. In its amicus brief, AILA raised a number of important issues regarding the concept of "lawful presence," among them that the determination of whether a person is to be removed from the United States is an elaborate process during which time the foreign national is entitled to remain in the U.S., and that certain federal policies may permit eligible foreign nationals to remain in the U.S. notwithstanding a lack of status.

"AILA recognized the inequality and anti-immigrant discrimination that this ordinance was intended to institute and we were proud to file an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiffs. The brief was the result of a tremendous effort by the AILA Amicus Curiae Committee and in particular, Nicholas Chavez, an AILA member from Ft. Worth, TX," said AILA President Doug Stump. He continued, "This kind of city ordinance is similar to those which were enacted during some very dark days in our nation's history, days when localities used measures to segregate racial groups and promote injustice. And unfortunately, laws like this have not disappeared from the fabric of our society. Our country should be better than that. We hope that other localities will take this ruling to heart, along with the Supreme Court's decision on Arizona's SB 1070, and reconsider any plans to establish further discriminatory regulations."


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 13072601.