A Texas town’s rental ban on potential tenants that may not lawfully be present in the US is up for review as it has been argued that the ordinance is unconstitutional and interferes with federal immigration law.
The Texas town’s rental ban is part of a larger xenophobic push in Farmer’s Branch, one that not only prohibits landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants and allows a family to be evicted based on unverifiable immigration status but one that also sanctions local business that employ undocumented workers and declares English the unofficial town language.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is defending the Texas town’s rental ban, and Kobach has advocated for a larger volume of immigration-related laws overall. According Kobach, those who oppose the rental ban can find no legal support to justify an objection. He explains:
“The problem with the plaintiffs’ argument is that they cannot identify a single federal statute that the Farmers Branch ordinance conflicts with.”
However, critics of the Texas rental ban argue that enacting such a statute would create a system superseding the federal channels already in place set to handle immigration legality. Plaintiffs’ attorney Nina Perales explains that individuals not normally charged with verifying “papers” would, under the rental ban, be charged with ascertaining a tenant’s immigration status:
“That’s something that the building inspector is going to have to figure out for himself … This is a complete divergence from the federal system.”
An additional attorney for the plaintiffs, Duncan Biles added:
“No one other than the federal government has the authority to classify aliens.”
Arguments in the town rental ban’s case referred back to the controversial Arizona “show us your papers” law.