AM Update: 9/19/12
8:57 am
Wed September 19, 2012

AM Update: Immigrant Housing Law Under Review, Huston-Tillotson Grant, Rain Helps Edwards Aquifer

The first day of autumn is still a few days away but Central Texas is already enjoying more fall-like temperatures thanks to a weak cold front. Here's a look at today's morning headlines:

Appeals Court to Review Immigration Housing Law

The 5th Circuit US Court of appeals is set to review a proposed law that would ban illegal immigrants from renting homes in Farmer’s Branch, a suburb of Dallas.

The law requires that all renters in Farmer’s Branch fill out paperwork proving their immigration status.  Illegal immigrants could be denied housing or be evicted from their current home. Under the law, landlords who knowingly continue rent to illegal immigrants would be subject to fines and revocation of their renter’s license.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund sued the city to prevent the law from being enforced. A district court ruled that the law was unconstitutional on the grounds that regulating immigration law is a federal prerogative.  A three-judge panel from the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s decision in March. The full membership of the court will review the earlier decision today.

Huston-Tillotson Gets Nearly $2 Million Grant

Huston-Tillotson University in Austin is getting more than $1.9 million in federal funding.

It’s part of a grant program by the U.S. Department of Education that aims to strengthen historically black colleges and universities.

The money can go towards a number of things including expanding student services, building new facilities and faculty and staff development.

Rain Helps Refill Edwards Aquifer

The Austin area’s recent rainfall has helped refill the Edwards Aquifer.

The Edwards Aquifer is up 10 feet over the last several days – enough to lift stage 3 water restrictions for most customers in the San Antonio area.

Edwards Aquifer Authority spokesman and interim General Manager Roland Ruiz spoke with Texas Public Radio's  Joey Palacios:

“This is the first time we’ve had this kind of rain fall this year," said Ruiz. "And when I say ‘this kind of rainfall,’ I mean a rainfall that lasted over a span of 48 to 72 hours that was kind of a slower rainfall that allowed for a lot of water to soak into the ground."

Barton Springs and Barton Creek are part of the aquifer – which runs underneath Williamson, Travis and Hays Counties and goes on to supply water to 1.7 million people.