Five nonwhite invader families living in a northern Virginia mobile home community have sued their landlords for “discrimination” after they were asked to prove their legal right to be in the US.
The court case, filed on behalf of the Hispanics by an attorney named Ivy Finkenstadt from the Legal Aid Justice Center, claims that a demand to see legal residence “disproportionately affects Latinos.”
According to a Washington Post report, the request from managing agents A. J. Dowskin and Associates, Inc., to all residents of the mobile home park consisted of asking for either a social security card, a passport, or a valid visa with documentation when signing or renewing their leases.
If successful, the suit could set a national precedent in the private rental market, and prevent private property owners from stopping illegal aliens living on their property—even if it is rented to a legal resident.
According to the complaint, more than a dozen residents of the Waples Mobile Home Park in Fairfax County, “are being forced to move because the park’s managers are refusing to renew their leases if any resident in the household lacks proof of legal status.”
One of those who moved after being unable to fulfil the requirement, Rosy Giron de Reyes, said the landlord said her husband and 5-year-old son could stay but she would have to leave.
“It’s affected me a lot, especially economically,” Giron de Reyes said through a translator Monday outside the federal courthouse in Alexandria, where the lawsuit was filed.
Attorneys for the families are alleging that the requirement for all tenants to have a Social Security card, visa, and related documents or a passport is “discriminatory because it disproportionately affects Latinos.”
“This type of discrimination is all too common, but the law is unfortunately far from clear,” said Finkenstadt. “We are hoping that the federal court in Alexandria will take it one step further and prohibit this practice by a private landlord.”
According to the lawsuit, the park management told residents that the documents they sought were necessary to run criminal background checks.
The landlord also required those households with “undocumented residents” to change from annual leases to month-to-month leases, according to the lawsuit, and imposed a $300 monthly fee in addition to the $765-per-month lot rent.
“They’re kicking out people who have a history of paying bills on time and who have been good tenants,” said lawyer Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, director of immigrant advocacy for the Legal Aid Justice Center and co-lawyer in the case with Finkenstadt.
“Even if the court ultimately decides the landlord has a right to do this, it’s equally clear the landlord doesn’t have to do this,” Sandoval-Moshenberg added.
A reaction by one reader, “Dis Qusted,” in the Washington Post’s comments section raised the real issues behind the suit:
“Progressive, leftist legal aid group and high profile multi-national law firm combine in an attempt to get a wholly legal process defined as discrimination. Sickening.”
And commentator “MLou Simpson” added this:
“I don’t want to appear totally insensitive, but if they’re illegal immigrants, what gives them the right to sue anybody? Seems to me if they can’t be bothered to get documented and go through the legal process, they have no rights whatsoever.”