April 5, 2017
Advocates across California are seeing a rise in the number of landlords threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on their undocumented tenants. Many of these tenants are afraid to contact anyone about the threats out of fear of being deported.
One of these landlords in San Mateo, California has been caught. The landlord reportedly tried to scare his tenant into signing a new lease with higher rent after her abusive husband – who was the lease holder – left their apartment. The woman had recently obtained a restraining order against her husband for domestic abuse.
“While undocumented renters and members of mixed-immigration-status households have always been vulnerable to abuse and intimidation, California legal-aid experts say that reports of explicit deportation threats are pouring in from every part of the state.
‘The scale at which it’s happening has increased dramatically since the November election,” says Jith Meganathan, policy advocate at the Western Center on Law & Poverty. “We have somewhere between two-and-a-half million and three million undocumented individuals living in California, most of whom are renters. Unscrupulous landlords are taking advantage of their knowledge of that fact to deprive tenants of their legal rights.’ “
Organizations mentioned/involved: Western Center on Law & Poverty (WCLP), Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, National Housing Law Project (NHLP)