Proposed Law May Prevent Landlords from Threatening Undocumented Immigrants

Friday, May 5, 2017
Sean Larsen

A proposed law could prevent landlords from threatening undocumented immigrants by telling them they'll contact immigration authorities if they don't move out.

The bill that's being considered in Sacramento, would protect illegal immigrants from facing questioning from a landlord concerning immigration status, under the newly proposed measure.

The legislation would also prevent landlords from threatening to report tenants to immigration officials.

Silveira Properties is a family owned property management company in Santa Maria, started by Bryan Silveira's father in the late 90's.

"He's an immigrant.. he moved down here in the 60's ," Bryan Silveira with Silveira Properties Inc. said.

Silveira says with his family's immigrant roots, hearing that there's other property management companies out there that are threatening undocumented immigrants, has struck a chord with him.

"My family are immigrants, my wife's family are immigrants, we come out of immigrants," Silveira said.

A proposed California law would prevent property owners from threatening undocumented immigrants - by threatening to call immigration officials if they don't move out.

"Aside from it being unethical, I just don't even think it's the job of a property manager to be concerned with someone's legal status," Silveira said.

The bill would make it illegal for property owners to question tenants about their immigration status.

"We would never threaten someone like that, I assume that some of my tenants are here without documents," Silveira said. "Even though the property might not be owned by them, for the most part, that is their home."

"People on both sides agree that our immigration system is broken, we have 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country," Hazel Davalos, with CAUSE said.

Hazel Davalos is with the immigrant advocacy group CAUSE.

"This bill is nessecary and it's responding to the extreme fear that's being felt among the immigrant community right now," Davalos said. "It's really up to our statewide legislatures to create a line of defense for our immigrant families that do so much for the state of California."

Supporters of the bill say landlords often threaten tenants without legal status with deportation as way to get them to vacate apartments.

Tenants, in that instance, would have enough legal backing to sue their landlord. The measure will be up for a vote in the Assembly within the next few weeks.

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