26 August 2013 ~ 3 Comments

You Cannot Live Here — Restrictive Housing Ordinances as the New Jim Crow

jimcrow_1918_10_04My latest paper is now available for download on SSRN.

“You Cannot Live Here — Restrictive Housing Ordinances as the New Jim Crow” is a cursory review of the hundreds of restrictive housing ordinances enacted in suburbs across the country after the failure of comprehensive immigration reform legislation in 2006 and 2007. The paper is timely because Farmers Branch, a Dallas, Texas suburb, lost an en-banc appeal of the their restrictive housing ordinance at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last month. The restrictive housing ordinance in Farmer’s Branch requires all renters to verify their legal status with the city and authorizes the city’s building inspector to verify with the federal government whether occupants are lawfully present in the United States. After losing at the Fifth Circuit for a second time, the City Council of Farmers Branch voted 3-2, to pursue an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The thesis of this paper is simple. In a time when people do not like talking about race and racism, I contend that the proliferation of local anti-immigrant restrictive housing ordinances in predominantly white residential areas is motivated by racial animus towards Latinos, and parallels Jim Crow era racial zoning laws and sundown towns. Combing urban studies and immigration, I also contend that a great influx of Latino immigration has transformed how place and race is lived in America because Latino immigrants challenge the black/white binary that has long shaped U.S. race relations, and their continued migration to suburbs will likely play a transformative role in changing the urban/suburban landscape.

Lal, Prerna, You Cannot Live Here — Restrictive Housing Ordinances as the New Jim Crow (June 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2315834

  • Umesh Heendeniya

    As someone with a bachelor’s degree, I feel embarrassed to admit that I was not aware of the existence or prevalence of “sundown towns” all over the country during the jim crow era, until I read Prerna’s post and became aware of that term. I’ve heard some people advocate the proposition that “brown is the new black.” Thus by researching and writing this paper, Prerna has added recent, factual material that should stimulate this needed debate.

  • Umesh Heendeniya

    As someone with a bachelor’s degree, I feel embarrassed to admit that I was not aware of the existence or prevalence of “sundown towns” all over the country during the jim crow era, until I read Prerna’s post and became aware of that term. I’ve heard some people advocate the proposition that “brown is the new black.” Thus by researching and writing this paper, Prerna has added recent, factual material that should stimulate this needed debate.

  • Umesh Heendeniya

    As someone with a bachelor’s degree, I feel embarrassed to admit that I was not aware of the existence or prevalence of “sundown towns” all over the country during the jim crow era, until I read Prerna’s post and became aware of that term. I’ve heard some people advocate the proposition that “brown is the new black.” Thus by researching and writing this paper, Prerna has added recent, factual material that should stimulate this needed debate.

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