Politics

Should Tenants have to Show their Immigration Status? Federal Court Says ‘No’

| by Sarah Siskind
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On Monday, a federal court of appeals overturned a local Texas ordinance obliging renters to prove their legal residence before becoming tenants.

Specifically, the fifth district court of appeals in New Orleans ruled that the ordinance, passed in 2008, conflicted with federal immigration law.

“The ordinance not only criminalizes occupancy of a rented apartment or single-family residence, but puts local officials in the impermissible position of arresting and detaining persons based on their immigration status without federal direction and supervision,” writes Judge Stephen A. Higginson in the majority opinion.

On the other hand, the ordinance, passed right before the 2009 recession might have eased the housing bubble in the small Texas suburb. Some of the highest risk subprime mortgage loans were to undocumented immigrants. Banks saw these waves of immigrants crossing the border as a sea of untapped markets.  As early as 2005, people worried about predatory loans and rewarding illegal immigration with real estate.

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Defenders of the ordinance did not view it as being anti-immigrant but rather anti-illegal immigration. After spending nearly $6 million to defend the local ordinance, the Dallas County suburb is unsure whether to continue fighting to uphold the measure.

Sources: Raw Story, CNN Money