The city council of Farmer’s Branch, a Dallas suburb, recently took a tough line on illegal immigration by approving fines for landlords who rent to illegal immigrants, making English the city’s official language and letting suspects in police custody be checked for their immigration status.
In “Farmer’s Branch Follies,” Michelle Wucker at the Huffington Post writes:
“Without a doubt, the federal government’s failure to reform our immigration laws bears much of the blame for the counter-productive actions of small towns across the states. Let’s hope that if any good comes of the Farmers Branches of the world, it will be to add to momentum for reform.
Unfortunately, we cannot count on reason from the federal government either. In 1918, the lynching of a German immigrant in Collinsville, Illinois, for supposed “disloyalty” (more likely, for general obnoxiousness, including having accused Americans of failure to display Old Glory sufficiently prominently) pushed a sluggish Congress into action. The law that ultimately passed, however, was not one to prevent lynchings and irrational behavior, but rather to crack down on foreign-born suspicious characters and to muzzle the freedom of speech in general. The logic that turned a lynching at the hands of U.S citizens into justification for the passage of 1918 Sedition Act is, sadly, the same warped reasoning that this year got us Congressional approval of a border fence instead of a set of immigration laws that have something to do with reality.”
Putting the burden on landlords to prove that their tenants have their legal papers in order seems rather unfair to me. But of course, it’s much easier to collect a penalty from landlords. Once again, the state passes the buck to citizens……