Dolgetta Law

Illegal Immigrants, Rentals and Fair Housing Discrimination

The fastest growing component to the U.S. population in the past decade has been the Hispanic community. The expansion of the Hispanic population, including illegal immigrants, has generated a highly emotional issue for many Americans. What rights should be granted to illegal immigrants? What rights do illegal immigrants have to housing? Do the Fair Housing Laws apply to illegal immigrants? In an environment in which one out of nine residences in the U.S. is estimated to be vacant (there are an estimated 14 million apartment units, homes and condominiums currently vacant) these issues assume heightened importance for immigrants, for landlords and for Realtors.

Fair Housing Laws and Illegal Immigrants

Federal, state and local Fair Housing Laws protect persons seeking shelter. Virtually every Fair Housing Law prohibits discrimination based upon national origin. It is clear that the Federal Fair Housing Laws protect persons who are legally in the United States as well as those who are not. U.S. Government policy regarding protection of illegal immigrants can be used by the government to deny funding by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of various programs. States which refuse to support Fair Housing for all persons do so at the risk of losing such funding. The Associated Press recently reported that Ron Haskins, a former welfare advisor to President Bush, placed enforcement of Fair Housing Laws as a priority. When asked if that included providing legal services to illegal immigrants, Haskins stated that on issues such as Fair Housing, it is appropriate to spend money on issues that “advance the interest of society.” It is clear that President Obama will similarly want to ensure that Fair Housing Laws administered by HUD will be fully enforced.

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