Today, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted en banc review to Reyes, et al. v. City of Farmers Branch. The case involves a 2008 city ordinance that requires people to provide proof of citizenship before they can rent a residence in the Dallas suburb.
In 2010, a trial court judge found the ordinance unconstitutional because it was local "regulation of immigration" entrusted to Congress by the Constitution and therefore was pre-empted under the Supremacy Clause.
In a 2-1 decision on April 9, a 5th Circuit panel affirmed the trial court's ruling. Senior Judge Thomas Reavley, in a majority decision joined by Judge James Graves, wrote that the sole purpose of ordinance was to remove illegal immigrants from the city, which “contravenes the federal government's exclusive authority over the regulation of immigration and the conditions of residence in this country . . .”
Judge Jennifer Elrod concurred and dissented, writing that Supreme Court and 5th Circuit precedent should have yielded a different result. She wrote that, while the ordinance "no doubt concerns illegal immigrants, it is simply not a regulation of immigration as defined by the Supreme Court. . . ."
--- John Council