State Watch

Illinois enacts law barring landlords from evicting tenants over immigration status

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a bill into law Wednesday that prohibits landlords in the state from evicting residents due to their immigration status, the second state in the nation to do so.

The law, which passed with bipartisan support through the state legislature after a broader version was vetoed by former Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), also prohibits landlords from using their clients’ immigration status in any way to intimidate them, including barring landlords from threatening tenants with calls to immigration officials.

{mosads}Those found guilty of doing so can be fined up to $2,000 for each violation, according to the governor’s website. The bill takes effect immediately.

Pritzker signed it into law at a ceremony Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune, celebrating Illinois as a “firewall” against President Trump, whom he called a “xenophobic” president who is creating a “climate of fear.”

“Where you were born has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to pay rent on time, which is what the relationship between a landlord and a tenant should really be about,” Pritzker said. “And I’m proud that by signing this bill, we’re making Illinois the first state in the Midwest to protect our immigrant tenants and give them a little more relief in these tumultuous times.”

The bill was modeled after legislation that passed in California last year, which prohibits landlords from asking tenants about their immigration status.

State Sen. Cristina Castro (D), one of the bill’s sponsors, celebrated its passage in a statement Wednesday urging tenants to come forward and report landlord abuse.

“Tenants should feel free to come forward and report these important habitability issues no matter their status,” she said. “This was an important piece of legislation that I worked on tirelessly for over a year now. I am glad that it was signed into law today.”

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