Proposal: Outlaw Renting To Illegals

Howard Fischer, Arizona Star (Tucson), Feb. 2, 2006

PHOENIX—State legislators are set to consider proposals designed to get illegal entrants where they live.

The House Committee on Federal Mandates and Property Rights will debate a measure Monday to make it illegal for landlords to rent to people not in this country legally.

That same proposed law also includes a provision to ensure that those here illegally don’t buy homes, either. It would bar banks from lending money to anyone who does not have a Social Security number. By definition, that includes people who are undocumented.

But the fate of both proposals is far from certain amid opposition from the affected businesses.

Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, lobbyist for the Arizona Multihousing Association, said landlords and leasing agents are not experts in immigration law. And the legislation does not spell out what forms of identification would be acceptable, putting landlords in danger of unintentionally breaking the law.

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But Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said the identification numbers were designed to allow people who are not citizens to engage in banking and other financial transactions, not to borrow money and buy homes. And he said federal law already makes it a crime to encourage or induce someone to come to this country illegally.

“A mortgage certainly does that,” he said. “It’s outrageous to think you can buy a home and have no business in this country.”

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