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FARMERS BRANCH -- In English and in Spanish, the message is the same and directed at the city of Farmers Branch.

A rally Friday evening marked the first day of a boycott protesting city leaders' decision to defend an ordinance banning illegal immigrants from renting there.

Lower courts struck down the law, but city leaders are appealing to the Supreme Court.

Boycott organizers asked Latino residents not to shop, work, or send their kids to school. Karen Garcia stayed home from school.

'I don't think it's right,' Garcia said. 'People are trying to kick us out of here. We have the right to be here.'

Garcia spoke on behalf of her mother, who speaks little English. She said many of her classmates and kids who live in her apartment complex did not attend school either.

The rally was held in a park near Heritage Circle and Josie Lane in Farmers Branch.

'This area, it's 90-percent Hispanic. 85 percent are probably undocumented,' said activist Carlos Quintanilla. 'This is the battle ground. This is what the whole litigation is about.'

Quintanilla called Mayor Bill Glancy, putting him on speaker phone in front of the crowd.

'They want to send a message to you that they will stand up and fight against any law that denies their parents the right to live in the city of Farmers Branch,' Quintanilla said, urging the group to call again and often. 'They've been very quiet the past six years, and so they've given carte blanche to the City of Farmers Branch to continue its anti-immigration legislation.'

'It's kind of futile at this point,' said longtime Farmers Branch resident Lib Grimmett.

She supports the ordinance the city passed and the decision to appeal the lower court rulings. She blames outside influence for the boycott and believes it will be ineffective.

'The bottom line for us is this is about the rule of law,' she said. 'This has nothing to do with their children or them or anything else.'

This was just the first Friday. Organizers say five Fridays from now when the boycott ends, Farmers Branch may have finally heard them loud and clear.

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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