I’m sure you all know about U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle’s finding that Ordinance 2952 was an attempt to enforce U.S. immigration laws, which Boyle said only the federal government can do. Thus, that Farmers Branch ordinance banning illegal immigrants from renting apartments in the city is unconstitutional.

“The American people are tired of judges legislating from the bench,” O’Hare said. “We will finally have our opportunity to have this matter heard at the appellate court level where we fully expect to prevail…This decision is not unexpected but welcomed because it allows us to get closer to this ordinance becoming reality.”

Well, but earlier, he said “I am confident this new proposal is consistent with the intent of Farmers Branch voters, and will withstand any legal challenges.”  We already know that that confidence was misguided. Just like the confidence that insurance would foot the bill for litigation.

Renters’ ordinance in Farmers Branch over illegal immigration struck down by federal judge

So, now what do we do? Well, we can:

  • Throw more money at it. If the city finance director is correct, we will have spent Three Point Two, Four, Five Million Dollars so far fighting lawsuits. And the end is not near. We could easily double that figure in the next few years. And what will we get for our millions? Hmmm, let’s see: we will have “won” the ability to force landlords to become immigration experts. Farmers Branch has 600-700 rental units, so that means that  we would save  maybe 400 units from being occupied by illegal immigrants. Wow – that’s $10,000 per unit. Wow. 

Oh: but wait; will that do anything, anything at all to curb illegal immigration? Ummmm – NO. The illegal immigrants can just move to apartments and homes all around, but not in, The City in the Park. They’ll be spending money in those cities, yet continue coming into Farmers Branch to work in our yards, in our homes, in our businesses. So, here’s a better idea:

In Austin, at the ACLU of Texas, legal director Lisa Graybill praised the ruling saying it “confirms what we have known from the beginning of this fight, back in November, 2006 — that Farmers Branch’s effort to legislate in the realm of immigration is a quixotic attempt to circumvent federal law and clearly established precedent. With this third strike, hopefully the City of Farmers Branch will get out of the immigration enforcement business and move on to address its municipal obligations through more constructive and constitutional local policies. “

Well now, Why didn’t we think of that before? Ms. Graybill has a great idea and we need to think about it. How about the City Council do this:

Let anyone rent in the City, but Increase Code Enforcement. Yes! That’s the ticket. We can Legislate Illegal Immigration from the Code Enforcement trucks! After all, our City Council can make the rules, right? They create the ordinances that make our city upscale and desireable. So all they have to do is create some ordinances “for the Health, Safety, and Welfare of the citizens” and to make Farmers Branch a desirable neighborhood. Who could argue with that?

Now, this is not an easy task, as the City Council has managed to make darn-near everything we do in and around our homes subject to the whims of the Code Enforcement Personnel (Legislating From The Truck), but I’ll bet they missed some stuff. Let’s see, how about:

  • No religious statues, signs, banners, jewelry, articles of clothing, anywhere that anyone on public or private property, or international airspace, can see, feel, smell, or suspect.  Okay – churches that have filed an official Certificate of Worship may have one or two items – but that’s it. We can say that that is in support of our separation of church and state, and for the good of all people.
  • No color on homes, cars, clothing, cosmetics (including lipstick, eye shadow, and hair color), flowers, signs, and personal or private property of any type not specifically mentioned in this ordinance that may be considered an eyesore or otherwise objectionable by anyone on private or public property, or that can be viewed in photographs with Farmers Branch public or private property in the background.
  • Make it unlawful to speak any word that may be construed as foreign, or that has its roots in foreign languages. including, but not limited to: alligator, avocado, banana, bonanza, cafeteria, cigarette, hurricane, jade, mesquite, mosquito, patio, potato, ranch, rodeo, rumba, shack, silo, stampede, tomato, tornado, tuna, and vanilla.
  •  Barbeque (oops – an illegal word) or otherwise cooking outside: must have screened area. Must have permit stating date and time, permission from neighbors, wind direction and velocity,  type of food being cooked, type of fuel being used, certified barbeque safety course, list of guests and eligibility of each to eat in this country. Also, Code Enforcement must delegate someone to sample the food before it can be served to anyone else.
  • Increase inspections. Right now every rental property has to have a Certificate of Occupancy on file, listing the occupants. What if one of those occupants was pregnant, and The City didn’t know? In order to maintain our health, safety, and welfare we must check each home more often.

Okay, now this may have a side effect, because people will not want to rent here if they have to be inspected every month. But hey – we all know that renters are a blight on society anyway, right? That’s why we have to watch them so closely. And without renters the Code Enforcement crew could get back to measuring grass height, and spotting empty pots, and checking fences and accessory buildings for signs of deterioration, and judging outdoor furniture for outdoor-worthiness.

It’s difficult to assess the impact illegal immigration has had on any given community, all the more so in a Dallas suburb, where residents may be working, shopping, and drawing upon services like hospitals in other parts of the Metroplex. O’Hare has said that illegal immigrants are overburdening the schools, but in interviews school officials disagreed with that notion. He has also complained that some illegal immigrants are committing crimes, and while that is true, they don’t appear to be committing any more crimes than the rest of the population. (Police chief Sid Fuller noted that in a community where violent crime is very low, illegal immigrants stand out only when it comes to driving without a license or insurance.) Nonetheless, O’Hare insists that his constituents are fed up: “They would go through drive-throughs and the people on the other side couldn’t understand English. They were getting frustrated over pressing ‘one’ for this and ‘two’ for that. We had a Montessori school owner complain about how she’d find used drug needles and used condoms in front of the school, right across from a place everyone knows rents to illegals.” And he has the evidence of last May’s election to back him up. “We did what an overwhelming majority of our town wanted to do,” he said.

Now he’s talking: it is so frustrating to sit in your car and order fast food when you can’t understand each other. I thought a lot of that was due to the bad acoustics around the speaker, but why not blame it on the other guy? And fast food is fattening too, but I guess we can’t blame language on that. Or could we ………….?

But now, pressing buttons on the telephone – that is a real problem. And so many times the thing you want to talk about is not covered by any of your button choices. If I want to ask a question I can’t get a human person at all. Would the litigation stop that? Hey – and a lot of times, especially with a “Service” organization I can’t even understand a human if I do manage to stumble upon one. They sound like they’re living in a foreign country or something. Will our millions fix that?  If it does it would be worth every single penny of the 5 million.