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Law puts renters' status off-limits
The San Diego Union-Tribune ^ | 10/12/2007 | Michael Gardner

Posted on 10/12/2007 10:12:06 AM PDT by South40

SACRAMENTO – California has become the first state in the nation to prohibit local governments from forcing landlords to check the immigration status of tenants.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed landmark legislation that was drafted as a direct response to an Escondido ordinance – quickly abandoned – that would have required landlords to prove their tenants were legal residents. “We need to be assured that landlords cannot be compelled by local government to compile dossiers and become de facto immigration police,” said Ron Kingston, who helped craft the state legislation on behalf of the Apartment Association of Southern California Cities.

Under the measure, cities and counties cannot pass laws requiring landlords to collect any information about the residency status of tenants or applicants. The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, also prohibits landlords from collecting that information independently.

The legislation was backed by an unusual alliance of business groups, immigrant rights activists and civil libertarians.

Local officials in California and across the nation have expressed frustration over the federal government's inability to control the flow of illegal immigrants. Some cities, like Escondido, have attempted to take matters into their own hands.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Francisco Castillo said the governor understands the emotions but still “believes that local and state governments should not be forced to assume the responsibility of the federal government.”

Assemblyman Charles Calderon, who carried Assembly Bill 976, said the governor's support will help soothe some hard feelings among Latinos, given Schwarzenegger's position on issues such as support for extending the border fence and opposing driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

“He signed it for all the right reasons, but it raises his standing significantly,” said Calderon, a Whittier Democrat. “It gives him a shield if he has to veto some of the other controversial bills. It's a big plus for him.”

Some Escondido officials criticized the governor and lawmakers who approved the bill.

“I think sometimes legislators sit around trying to figure out what they can do to win political bonus points,” said Marie Waldron, the member of the Escondido City Council who proposed the ordinance last year.

“I guess if they had to pass a law saying we can't do it, that means we were doing something legal originally,” Waldron said.

Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler, who opposed the city's ordinance, said Congress must step in.

“Just like I thought the city of Escondido can't successfully be involved in immigration enforcement or immigration laws, I don't think the state of California can, either,” Pfeiler said. “It really is a federal issue. The federal government needs to solve these issues.”

In Escondido, where Latinos make up 42 percent of the residents, the City Council adopted an ordinance in October 2006 forcing landlords to prove the legal status of tenants and applicants. Undocumented tenants would have been evicted within 10 business days. Landlords who did not comply would have faced fines and suspension of their business licenses.

Escondido withdrew its ordinance in December under legal pressure from landlords and immigrant activists. Federal Judge John A. Houston had issued a temporary restraining order against Escondido, saying the city was trying to “step into the shoes of the state and federal government.”

Similar local laws have been enacted in other states, but most have been challenged as an unconstitutional invasion into federal jurisdiction.

In one closely watched case, a federal court in Pennsylvania struck down several attempts by the city of Hazelton to impose checks for legal residency.

“Whatever frustrations officials of the city of Hazleton may feel about the current state of federal immigration enforcement, the nature of the political system in the U.S. prohibits the city from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme,” the court ruled July 26.

Assemblyman Calderon said he believes the law will encourage other states to follow California's lead.

“This legislation will be a bellwether for the rest of the country,” he predicted.

In California, landlords feared being punished by local ordinances that could, in turn, expose them to costly lawsuits from renters and their advocates, said Kingston, who represents the apartment owners association.

Even though Escondido withdrew its ordinance, Kingston said, the state had to step in.

“There was clear evidence landlords in the surrounding region were facing panic,” Kingston said. “They felt their city was next. They needed immediate clarity.”

A ballot measure similar to the Escondido ordinance was proposed in San Bernardino County, but it failed to advance very far.

California lawmakers approved the law along party lines. No Republicans voted for the measure.

Landlords were joined by immigrant activists, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

“Property owners and prospective tenants can rest easier today,” David Blair-Loy of the San Diego chapter of the ACLU, said in a statement praising the governor's action.

In an earlier letter of support, MALDEF's Francisco Estrada said the legislation also would “help reduce anti-immigrant hysteria” created by local efforts to track residency status.

But Schwarzenegger's veto was criticized in anti-illegal-immigration circles.

“He violated local-control principles and excuses people who break the law,” said Mike Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly, a statewide grass-roots group.

Escondido Councilman Sam Abed, who supported the city's ordinance, said: “It's unfair for a sovereign country to sit there as millions and millions of illegal immigrants come to the USA without a background check . . . and not being able to be asked a question (about legal residency). It's just unbelievable.”


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: crimaliens; illegalimmigration; urbanwasteland

1 posted on 10/12/2007 10:12:08 AM PDT by South40
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To: South40

To any sane people left in CA, get out while you can.


2 posted on 10/12/2007 10:15:06 AM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: South40

California being lost is a foregone conclusion.


3 posted on 10/12/2007 10:15:25 AM PDT by Ranger Drew
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To: TLI

Working on it. I will be retiring soon and relocating to property I own in Idaho.


4 posted on 10/12/2007 10:16:27 AM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: South40

I’ll send the Governator all cockroaches that wind up in my apartment thanks to these illegal dirtbags cramming 15 people in an apartment in my building.


5 posted on 10/12/2007 10:16:35 AM PDT by NRA1995 (Mr. President and Congress: This is OUR country and don't you forget it!)
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To: Ranger Drew
I own rental property in California. And given this new law I will not consider renting to anyone who might even look foreign.

So what has this law accomplished?

6 posted on 10/12/2007 10:18:07 AM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: South40

Free Republic will be operated from the other side of the border fence if we do not do something to help Califa . I tried boycotting Califa products , but I got hungry after about an hour . Think , somebody ,think !


7 posted on 10/12/2007 10:19:10 AM PDT by kbennkc (For those who have fought for it , freedom has a flavor the protected will never know)
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To: South40

I wonder what the state could say if the landlords did it all on their own? Not that many would mind you, but it certainly would be away around the stupid law for those that realy cared


8 posted on 10/12/2007 10:20:52 AM PDT by Shots
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To: South40

I voted for Tom McClintock!


9 posted on 10/12/2007 10:21:28 AM PDT by Swordmaker (Remember, the proper pronunciation of IE is "AAAAIIIIIEEEEEEE)
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To: South40
Do not move to Idaho . We still have Larry Craig . We have elk and moose in the streets and nazis . Do not forget the bears , my goodness the bears . If you move from Califa to Idaho , you could be eaten by pervert nazi bears . Idaho is closed for your safety .
10 posted on 10/12/2007 10:23:33 AM PDT by kbennkc (For those who have fought for it , freedom has a flavor the protected will never know)
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To: South40
There is so much I'd like to say and all would get me banned right now.

EXTREME ANGER!!!

11 posted on 10/12/2007 10:24:04 AM PDT by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (RIP Eric Medlen. You will be missed.../ Get well Soon John Force!!!)
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To: kbennkc

I’ve spent months at a time in Idaho. I’ve owned the property since 1978. I know Idaho. I also know my neighbors and they would welcome another conservative in a heartbeat.


12 posted on 10/12/2007 10:26:36 AM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: South40

Mexifornia is forever lost. Leave while you still can.


13 posted on 10/12/2007 10:32:16 AM PDT by DesertSapper (Republican . . . for now.)
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To: South40

Of course you are right , but keep it quiet . Tell people of your land in New Mexico , and Colorado . I will send ammo and potatoes if you change your mind and want to do the Alamo stand .


14 posted on 10/12/2007 10:32:45 AM PDT by kbennkc (For those who have fought for it , freedom has a flavor the protected will never know)
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To: South40

I don’t think the law stops you from checking, it just makes it so the town your property is in can’t make such checks mandatory. It’s a really weird looking law.


15 posted on 10/12/2007 10:34:42 AM PDT by discostu (a mountain is something you don't want to %^&* with)
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To: South40

Arnold Kennedy-Schriber-Schwartzenliberal strikes again!


16 posted on 10/12/2007 10:35:48 AM PDT by gc4nra ( this tag line protected by Kimber and the First Amendment (I voted for McClintock))
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To: Ranger Drew

You mean Mexifornia, don’t you?


17 posted on 10/12/2007 10:37:45 AM PDT by B4Ranch (( "Freedom is not free, but don't worry the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share." ))
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To: South40

If states and municipalities will not obey the law, why should I obey the law - - why should anyone obey the law?


18 posted on 10/12/2007 10:38:57 AM PDT by Beckwith (dhimmicrats and the liberal media have .chosen sides -- Islamofascism)
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To: South40

My C.O. from the Guard lives in Idaho. He loves it. Business taxes a bit high though.


19 posted on 10/12/2007 10:39:54 AM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: Beckwith

I’ve been saying that for awhile.

WHY SHOULD ANY OF THE REST OF US BOTHER TO FOLLOW ANY LAW?????


20 posted on 10/12/2007 10:42:03 AM PDT by TruthConquers (Delendae sunt publici scholae)
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To: kbennkc

You forgot to mention that Idaho has already been tainted by enough Californians that we don’t need anymore.


21 posted on 10/12/2007 10:42:28 AM PDT by The Iceman Cometh (Democrats In Control! (Where's my friggin' free stuff?))
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To: South40
CA landlords can now legally aid, abet, and harbor criminals. Thanks, Arnie.
22 posted on 10/12/2007 10:45:24 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: South40
I was reading this as a good idea until this: "The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, also prohibits landlords from collecting that information independently."

Im all for not making land lords do the job of the INS but to prohibit them from checking on the immigration status of people occupying their property is insane...

23 posted on 10/12/2007 10:47:13 AM PDT by N3WBI3 (Ah, arrogance and stupidity all in the same package. How efficient of you. -- Londo Mollari)
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To: South40

Arnie the Rino.


24 posted on 10/12/2007 10:54:12 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: South40

With the way things are going, soon most all the illegal aliens will be in illegal friendly California. Look at the bright side, at least if you don’t happen to live there.


25 posted on 10/12/2007 10:55:37 AM PDT by Will88
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To: Shots

“The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, also prohibits landlords from collecting that information independently.”

Clearly stated above.


26 posted on 10/12/2007 10:55:39 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: DesertSapper

Forever is a long time.


27 posted on 10/12/2007 10:55:51 AM PDT by ichabod1 ("Self defense is not only our right, it is our duty." President Ronald Reagan)
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To: MEGoody
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
28 posted on 10/12/2007 11:11:42 AM PDT by -=SoylentSquirrel=-
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To: TLI
My C.O. from the Guard lives in Idaho. He loves it. Business taxes a bit high though.

It is far more business friendly that the Peoples' Republik of Kalifornia. That is why Buck Knives left Kalifornia for Post Falls years ago.

29 posted on 10/12/2007 11:13:28 AM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: N3WBI3

Are landlords in California allowed to demand photo ID and run credit checks? The prospect would probably deter a lot of illegals.


30 posted on 10/12/2007 11:16:34 AM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: discostu
I don’t think the law stops you from checking, it just makes it so the town your property is in can’t make such checks mandatory. It’s a really weird looking law.

"The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, also prohibits landlords from collecting that information independently."

31 posted on 10/12/2007 11:17:01 AM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: Squawk 8888
Are landlords in California allowed to demand photo ID and run credit checks?

Yes, landlords in Kalifornia are allowed to inquire and know who they are renting their property to...until now.

32 posted on 10/12/2007 11:21:53 AM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: Old Professer

I doubt that would hold up in a court of law. As long as the questions are not based on religion or race there is nothing even this law that can prohibit you from asking what you want. A good example is they cannot prohibit you from doing a credit check. Any smart owner could use that alone to disqualify a potential tenant. No rental history with references equals no rental for you bozo.


33 posted on 10/12/2007 11:31:23 AM PDT by Shots
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To: TLI

I left 18 months ago. Lived there 30 years.


34 posted on 10/12/2007 11:41:08 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: South40
Open Borders Arnold.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

35 posted on 10/12/2007 11:42:55 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: South40

Missed that part.


36 posted on 10/12/2007 12:18:12 PM PDT by discostu (a mountain is something you don't want to %^&* with)
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To: South40

Sounds like something Bush would do. I guess Arnold is a real Republican.


37 posted on 10/12/2007 12:25:07 PM PDT by isrul (Lamentations 5:2)
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To: stephenjohnbanker
I left 18 months ago. Lived there 30 years.

Well that is a shame because I understand it was a nice place at one time. Then again, I will never get to see Rhodesia and I understand from my friends it was a rather remarkable place as well. Too bad neither one exists any more. Funny thing is they were both destroyed pretty much the same way.

38 posted on 10/12/2007 4:32:32 PM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: TLI

“Well that is a shame because I understand it was a nice place at one time”

It was a GREAT place to live when I moved there in 1976.
Conservative, and the people were nice. Now it is a hellhole, and nobody trusts anyone!!


39 posted on 10/12/2007 5:07:41 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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