Farmers Branch, Texas Despite loud protests from scores of pro-immigrant demonstrators, the City Council in this Dallas suburb adopted ordinances Monday night to crack down on illegal immigration and to make English the city's official language.
Opponents of illegal immigration broke into cheers when the council voted unanimously to pass ordinances that will:
¢ Require city officials to conduct nearly all official business in English.
¢ Prohibit landlords from renting apartments to people who cannot prove their citizenship or legal status.
¢ Have city police enter into a cooperative agreement with federal immigration officials to target "criminal aliens."
Hundreds of people on both sides of the issue were turned away from the council chambers for lack of space. They sometimes tried to out-shout each other in the City Hall lobby by chanting slogans. A police officer with a bullhorn told them they had to be quiet or leave.
Other officers milled about the crowd thick with American flags, protest signs and camera crews. Police kept riot gear, transparent shields, helmets with face masks and batons behind the receptionist's desk in City Hall's spacious lobby.
Such scenes soon could come to cities in nearby Tarrant County because anti-illegal immigration activists in Arlington and Fort Worth said they will push for similar measures. City Council members from Fort Worth, Arlington and Bedford recently told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram they worry such proposals could attract lawsuits and turn their meetings into heated debates.
Hispanic groups addressed the Farmers Branch City Council during its work session meeting in the afternoon.
Members of the League of United Latin American Citizens presented a petition with about 150 signatures urging the council to drop the anti-illegal immigration measures.