Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Farmers Branch Passes New Anti-Immigrant Ordinance

The City Council of Farmers Branch, Texas unanimpously passed its latest antiimmigrant ordinance.  A few days ago, we posted a story about the city's latest immigration efforts.

Under the ordinance, Farmers Branch would use a database employed by state and federal agencies to verify whether immigrants are entitled to rent apartment and houses.  If federal authorities cannot confirm legal residency status, the person would have 60 days to provide proof.

According to the N.Y. Times, however,

"a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said there is no such database the city can use for the purpose they say they intend to use it for. ''There is no database where the city or anyone can pick up the phone and give alienage, like yes this person is legal or no that person isn't legal; there is no such database,'' Maria Elena Garcia-Upson said. In addition, the database the city refers to is used to verify whether legal non-citizens are eligible for public benefits. But many people who are in the country legally, such as foreign students, are not eligible for federal or state benefits, she said."  (emphasis added).

The city's measure would take effect 15 days after a ruling on the ordinance currently being contested in court.


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