New law prevents cities from turning turning landlords into immigration police By Jessie Mangaliman Mercury News San Jose Mercury News Article Launched:
As cities across the country grapple with illegal immigration, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new state law Wednesday that prohibits county and municipal governments in California from enacting local laws that would require landlords to ask a tenant's immigration status.
California may be the first state in the country to use state legislation to deal with a growing national trend that began in 2006 when the city of Hazelton, Pa., approved a city ordinance that penalized landlords for renting to illegal immigrants.
"These ordinances are a result of a larger problem," said Francisco Castillo, a spokesman for the governor. He cited "the failure of Congress to enact meaningful immigration reform."
The bills' sponsor, Assemblyman Charles M. Calderon, D-City of Industry, and leaders of a state association of apartment owners, hailed the new law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, as a civil rights victory.
"It's important legislation because it's the beginning of a trend we're seeing throughout the country as cities begin to try to establish their own foreign policies," Calderon said.
"Only the federal government can do that," he said. "It's important that we don't have vigilante justice."
You now, it would be nice if we could have some kind of justice. And waiting for the federal government to deliver is going to be a lengthy process.