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Old 11-14-2006, 10:15 AM   #1
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Let this set a precedence

FB moves against illegal immigrants

10:07 PM CST on Monday, November 13, 2006

By STEPHANIE SANDOVAL / The Dallas Morning News

FARMERS BRANCH Council members unanimously approved tough new anti-immigration measures Monday evening, including one that makes English the official language.

In a series of 6-0 votes, the council members without discussion approved fines for landlords that deal with illegal immigrants and allowed local authorities to screen suspects in police custody to see if they are in the country illegally.

The votes were made in a room in City Hall packed with people who clapped as the votes were tallied in favor of the measures. In a parking lot outside, hundreds of protesters against the rules hoisted American flags and recited the Pledge of Allegiance in English before the votes were taken.

The vote came up in a public meeting Monday evening after an all-day closed meeting with the city attorney where council members discussed the legal ramifications of the proposals, intended to keep illegal immigrants away from the city.

Opponents of the measures, meanwhile, collected signatures on a petition urging the city not to become the first in Texas to pass such strong anti-immigrant laws. They submitted more than 80 signatures to the mayor's office Monday.

Supporters say the ordinances are necessary because the federal government has failed to address the issue.

But critics argued the proposals could lead to sanctioned discrimination and racism.

Opinions were divided during public comments taken after the council's votes had already been cast.

"Thank you for staying the course," Farmers Branch resident Joe Reynolds told the council members.

Luis De La Garza, an engineer from Mexico who has lived in the United States for 25 years, expressed dismay.

"I don't know what to say. I don't like this, I don't know what is going to happen," he said.

Council member Bill Moses blamed what he called inadequate federal law for forcing their vote.

"I'm just sorry that the federal government has put us in this position," he said.

Attorneys with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a civil rights advocacy group, told city council members during the closed meeting that the proposals could violate federal law.

The group said it would evaluate any measures approved by the council to determine their legality.

The rules could force untrained business owners and landlords to evaluate a wide array of immigration documents to determine if the person carrying them is legally in the country, MALDEF staff attorney Marisol Perez said.

More than 50 municipalities nationwide have considered, passed or rejected similar laws, but until now that trend hasn't been matched in the Lone Star State.

Such sentiments and the proposed ordinances trouble many people in Texas, where many Latino families can trace their roots here to the era before statehood.

Since 1970, Farmers Branch has changed from a small, predominantly white bedroom community with a declining population to a city of almost 28,000 people, about 37 percent of them Hispanic, according to the census. It also is home to more than 80 corporate headquarters and more than 2,600 small and mid-size firms, many of them minority-owned.

"They're afraid that Farmers Branch is becoming Hispanic," said Christopher McGuire, a resident of the city and spokesman for a group called United Farmers Branch. "It's going to happen, and that's not a bad thing."

The local debate over illegal immigration began in August and spawned demonstrations by both sides.

The proposals follow a vote this year in Hazleton, Pa., to fine landlords who rent to illegal immigrants, deny business permits to companies that employ them and require tenants to register and pay for a rental permit.

However, a federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the Hazleton ordinance while he considers a lawsuit against the town by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups.

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Old 11-14-2006, 10:37 AM   #2
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lots of em

I support them and their efforts, but we all know LULAC and ACLU will fight them with all their might.
Doesnt ACLU stand for AMERICAN civil liberties union? Why are they fighting in behalf of the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS and not our US CITIZENS protecting and fighting AGAINST the invasion instead of FOR?
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I respect scootertrash because well... He's like the Jesus of building and fixing .
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:00 AM   #3
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I don't see what the problem is. Seriously.

Would someone explain it to me?
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