With tensions running high over both soaring housing costs and increased threats of deportation, California lawmakers moved Monday to give more tenant protections to immigrants living in the state illegally.
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.
“During this time when so many of our immigrant communities are vulnerable, we’ve heard too many stories around the state of immigrant tenants who were targeted by certain unscrupulous landlords due to their status,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, who carried AB 291.
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.