Proposal Bars Rules Targeting Illegal-Immigrant Renters

AP, May 26, 2007

Cities and counties could no longer enact ordinances barring landlords from renting to illegal immigrants under a bill approved Thursday by the state Assembly.

The legislation comes more than six months after the city of Escondido sought to involve landlords in immigration enforcement, a job the bill’s supporters said should be reserved to federal authorities.

The Assembly passed the bill, 42-23. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“We shouldn’t be asking landlords to be de-facto immigration officers,” the author, Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Whittier, said during the debate. “Cities can’t have their own foreign policy and neither can the state.”

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Calderon’s bill would bar ordinances that required landlords to collect information or take any other action regarding a tenant or prospective tenant’s citizenship or immigration status.

Republicans described the bill as legally ambiguous and said it could make it difficult for landlords to obtain legitimate information to ensure tenants can pay the rent.

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