New Jersey landlord sued over allegedly renting to illegal aliens (Connolly Properties, civil RICO)

The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) - part of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) - is suing New Jersey's Connolly Properties under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), claiming that that company and others have a habit of renting to illegal aliens and are thus guilty of harboring illegal aliens as well as violating the Fair Housing Act. Connoly is based in New Jersey and has properties there and in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Press release here, biased AP report from Samantha Henry here.

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Interesting theory to sue on. In California, things are moving in the opposite direction. The state legislature passed & the governor signed a law intended as a 'Hazelton ordinance prevention act'. '"Legal challenges asserting constitutionality of any local government ordinance will stop if AB 976 is signed into law." Bill No: AB 976 Author: Charles Calderon (D), et al SUPPORT : (Verified 6/20/07) Apartment Association of California Southern Cities (source) American Civil Liberties Union Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles Apartment Association of Orange County Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation California School Employees Association JERICHO Lambda Letters Project Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund Santa Barbara Rental Property Association Western Center on Law and Poverty Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association

The law: (a) No city, county, or city and county shall, by statute, ordinance, or regulation, or by administrative action implementing any statute, ordinance, or regulation, compel a landlord or any agent of the landlord to make any inquiry, compile, disclose, report, or provide any information, prohibit offering or continuing to offer, accommodations in the property for rent or lease, or otherwise take any action regarding or based on the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant, prospective tenant, occupant, or prospective occupant of residential rental property. (b) No landlord or any agent of the landlord shall do any of the following: (1) Make any inquiry regarding or based on the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant, prospective tenant, occupant, or prospective occupant of residential rental property. (2) Require that any tenant, prospective tenant, occupant, or prospective occupant of the rental property make any statement, representation, or certification concerning his or her immigration or citizenship status. (c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a landlord from either: (1) Complying with any legal obligation under federal law. (2) Requesting information or documentation necessary to determine or verify the financial qualifications of a prospective tenant, or to determine or verify the identity of a prospective tenant or prospective occupant. Landlord can't ask about immigration status Project Sentinel Saturday, March 15, 2008 Q: I am a landlord who tries to be careful about my process in selecting tenants. I would like to ask prospective tenants to provide me with evidence of their legal immigration status. Do I have the right to include such a question on my application form? A: Before this year, there was confusion about the right to inquire about immigration status, but the question has now been clarified by the Legislature, at least for purposes of state law. As of Jan. 1, Section 1940.3 prohibits a landlord from inquiring about the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant or prospective tenant or occupant of residential rental property. The statute also prohibits any local government from enacting any contrary ordinance. The statute states that landlords continue to have the right to request information to document the financial qualifications of a prospective tenant through any other means. The statute also indicates that the landlord remains free to comply with any federal law, but in our view, there is no federal law requiring a landlord to investigate a tenant's immigration status. Comment: usdefender 3/14/2008 9:16:14 PM I expect eventually federal law will permit inquiring about legal status to be in this country. California is a land of non-citizens, but after the financial bath of home abandonments caused by illegal imigrants defaulting on loans things will change. Th

continued... This country is for citizens, not illegal immigrants. Though their lobbies are extremely powerful, and great confusion is promulgated over this simple stupid issue, people who reside here illegally are criminals under title 8 of immigrations law. I can certainly see why a reasonable landlord, an American citizen, wants to inquire of an applicant their legal status. It may have very severe financial consequences to rent to an illegal alien, or it may not. But look at this report... Faced with a 5 percent national unemployment rate in December, 1 in 6 manufacturing jobs vanishing since President George W. Bush took office, and an unimpeded flow of illegal immigrants into the country, immigration reform activists are calling on Washing California Landlords Can't Ask About Immigration or Citizenship Status Landlords in most states are free to inquire as to their applicants’ and tenants’ immigration status and to reject applicants who are in the United States illegally. As long as landlords don’t use immigration status as a mask for illegal discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin, such a practice is not illegal. Notable exceptions include the federally subsidized “Section 8” program, which requires proof of legal residence before tenants may participate; and New York City, which has prohibited landlords from inquiring as to their tenants’ citizenship or immigration status for years (NYC Admin. Code § 8-107(5)(a)). As of January 1, 2008, however, all California landlords are prohibited from inquiring as to their prospects’ and tenants’ immigration and citizenship status. (Calif. Civil Code § 1940.3.) The law also forbids any municipality from passing laws that direct landlords to make such inquiries. Landlords may still require documentation that will determine or verify the financial qualifications of an applicant, or to verify the identity of a prospective tenant. Effective date: Jan. 01, 2008