California Bill Would Bar Landlords from Reporting Illegal Aliens

David Chiu (Nick Ut / Associated Press)
Nick Ut / Associated Press

California’s Democrat-dominated legislature passed a measure that would make it illegal for landlords to report tenants suspected of being in the country illegally, and would also allow illegal alien tenants to sue their landlords over any violations of code.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the bill’s author, David Chiu (D-San Francisco), says AB291— the “Immigrant Tenant Protection Act”— is about protecting the rights of tenants ostensibly endangered by the threat of Trump’s enforcement efforts:

“Tenants should not have to live in fear simply because they are immigrants or refugees. Trump’s escalating war on immigrants is ripping apart families, and mass deportations could be our new reality,” said Assemblyman [David] Chiu in a statement issued by his chief of staff. “This bill will deter the small minority of landlords who unscrupulously take advantage of the real or perceived immigration status of their tenants to engage in abusive acts.”

According to the Sacramento Bee, the bill — which many in the legislature believe is a critical protection for the state’s massive illegal alien population in the Trump era — empowers tenants to turn the tables, and sue their landlords:

Assembly Bill 291 would bar landlords from disclosing the immigration status of renters or threatening to report them to immigration authorities, either in retaliation for asserting their rights or to evict them. Housing advocates say harassment, intimidation and evictions are up in immigrant communities across California since the election of President Donald Trump.

The measure would allow immigrants to sue over violations, with potential damages of six to 12 times their monthly rent, per tenant. It passed the Assembly on a 48-19 and heads now to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration.

Under existing California law, tenants are already forbidden to ask a tenant or potential tenant about their immigration status.
The bill is currently awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s signature.
Tim Donnelly is a former California State Assemblyman and Author, currently on a book tour for his new book: Patriot Not Politician: Win or Go Homeless.  He also ran for governor in 2014.


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