Anyone hoping the government will finally start enforcing immigration laws has once again been dealt a blow. In a case that challenged a cities’ rights, specifically Farmers Branch, TX, to block by ordinance landlords from renting to illegal immigrants has found that cities lack the authority to enforce federal immigration laws.
US District Judge Jane J. Boyle said in her ruling, "Ordinance 2952 is a regulation of immigration and is preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution because the authority to regulate immigration is exclusively a federal power.”
The problem with Ms Boyle’s ruling is that Supreme Court precedents states just the opposite. In Edgar v Mite Corporation the Supreme Court ruled, “a state statute is void to the extent that it actually conflicts with a valid federal statute,” something this law does not do. That ruling also set out two criteria, either of which must be met, in order for an ordinance to be considered in violation of the Supremacy Clause. They are:
- Compliance with both federal and state law is impossible, or
- "...state law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress..."
Again, neither instance exists. In fact, this ordinance does not just not conflict, but it compliments Section 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)(b)(iii) which states that any person knowingly aiding, abetting, harboring, or encouraging illegal immigrants is a Felony.
"We are cautiously optimistically that the Farmers Branch ordinance will be upheld on appeal," attorney for Farmers Branch, Kris Kobach said.
Unfortunately, the case has already cost Farmers Branch $3.2 million to defend and city council members that support the ordinance are unsure if they will continue to be able to fund the effort to protect their city’s rights.