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California Legislature

Landlords who threaten immigrant tenants with deportation can face civil claims in California

Anti-eviction signs decorate the Rodney Drive apartments in Los Feliz. (Christina House / For The Times)
Anti-eviction signs decorate the Rodney Drive apartments in Los Feliz. (Christina House / For The Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday to prevent landlords from threatening immigrant tenants with deportation, measures he said were part of broader efforts by his administration "to bolster resources and support for the immigrant community."

One proposal by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would bar landlords from disclosing information about immigration status in order to intimidate, harass or evict tenants without following proper procedures. It also would allow immigrant tenants to file civil claims against their landlords if they do.

Another bill by Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) would ensure that no state office or entity in California could compel a landlord to obtain and disclose information on a tenant's immigration status.

The bills were part of a package of legislation introduced by majority Democrats to extend protections for immigrants without legal residency in the U.S., as the Trump administration has called for greater immigration enforcement.

Their approval came amid a state housing crisis and as immigrant rights advocates across the state have received reports of landlords threatening to report tenants to immigration authorities. Often, the advocates say, the threats are in response to residents reporting issues such as exposed electrical wiring or vermin.

“Trump’s escalating war on immigrants is ripping apart families, and mass deportations could be our new reality,” Chiu said. “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.”

To read the article in Spanish click here

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