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Comments by YACCS
Monday, August 21, 2006

It's not racist, really

I don't hate Mexicans, really

Farmers Branch proposal would target illegal immigrants

Proposals would affect landlords, employers; some say rules would draw lawsuits

11:21 AM CDT on Monday, August 21, 2006

By STEPHANIE SANDOVAL / The Dallas Morning News

FARMERS BRANCH – Illegal immigrants are responsible for much of what's wrong with Farmers Branch, says City Council member Tim O'Hare.

So he proposes making it harder for illegal immigrants to live and work in the city.

Today, the City Council will discuss possible ways to do that, including prohibiting landlords from leasing to illegal immigrants, penalizing businesses that employ them, making English the city's official language and ceasing publication of any documents in Spanish, and eliminating subsidies for illegal immigrants in the city's youth programs.

Some Hispanic advocates say doing so would brand Farmers Branch as a racist community and embroil the city in protests and lawsuits.

"The reason I got on the City Council was because I saw our property values declining or increasing at a level that was below the rate of inflation," Mr. O'Hare said. "When that happens, people move out of our neighborhoods, and what I would call less desirable people move into the neighborhoods, people who don't value education, people who don't value taking care of their properties."

He also said local schools have dropped in recent years in state rankings, and retail operations cater to low-income and Spanish-speaking customers, leaving "no place for people with a good income to shop."

"Illegal immigrants are a large cause of it," he said.

So he wants to see the council adopt provisions similar to those adopted by Hazelton, Pa., in July and since then adopted or under consideration by other cities in Pennsylvania, California and Florida.

The 2000 census showed that 25.2 percent of the population of Farmers Branch was foreign-born. The census did not report how many were illegal immigrants.

'City of hate'

The idea already is generating strong reaction among Hispanic leaders.

Hector Flores, immediate past national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said adopting such local ordinances is tantamount to racism.

"Farmers Branch now is going to be a city of hate," he said. "I'm sure the Statue of Liberty must be crying right now, knowing some of our subjects in this great democracy of ours are conjuring up to make life more miserable for those who are here trying to eke out a living, contributing to our great country through their sweat and tears, only looking for what our forefathers were looking for when they came here."

Domingo Garcia, a Dallas lawyer and one of the organizers of a march in downtown Dallas last spring that drew nearly 500,000 people in opposition to proposed federal immigration legislation, said if the city enacts such ordinances, it can expect litigation.

"And we can guarantee the city of Farmers Branch taxpayers that if such an ordinance was to pass, they should be prepared to see property taxes increase to pay for ... not only having the ordinance overturned as unconstitutional, but having to pay attorneys' fees for whichever group decides to sue," Mr. Garcia said.

Look, illegal immigrants still have some rights under the constitution. Cities can certainly go after businesses which break the law, but renting isn't one of them, nor is publishing documents in multiple languages.

Without a legal document examination, there is no way to know who is a citizen, a resident or an illegal. But you can tell who is Mexican at a glance. So what do you do? Not rent to Mexicans, not hire Mexicans. Even if the intention is pure of heart, the reality is that this leads to discrimination againstAmericans.

And TimO'Redneck is being cute. He really hates living around Mexicans regardless of where they were born.

posted by Steve @ 1:12:00 PM

1:12:00 PM

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