AB1660 Fights against Housing Discrimination against Immigrants

With AB 60 just beginning to take effect, it seems that illegal immigrants have taken the first steps on the path to being accepted in society on a legislative level. While not allowing undocumented immigrants to stray outside of California state lines, the licenses attributed under AB 60 will allow illegal immigrants to hit the roads legally, after having passed the same tests as the rest of us.

A companion to the bill, AB1660, will hopefully work to fight discrimination against illegal immigrants presenting these new licenses as identification when applying for housing or employment. For those unfamiliar with the new driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, the cards themselves are nearly identical to those of US citizens aside from one small difference: a small disclaimer that reads “federal limits apply”. AB1660 was created in an effort to keep those three words from fueling damaging discrimination. This brings up some interesting questions, and we have the answers to pressing issues such as…

– Will illegal immigrants still be able to sign a lease or get renters insurance?

– Can undocumented immigrants still be held to contracts and sued?

– Is it actually illegal for a landlord to discriminate against people with AB 60 licenses?

– Can assembly bill 60 be used to demand additional documentation from applicants?

– How will landlords deal with immigrants presenting this new form of identification?

First, it’s important to understand AB 60’s role in all of this. When AB 60 was written into law, the California Vehicle Code was amended to include illegal immigrants in its section forbidding discrimination at business establishments. While most people don’t typically think of residential areas as business establishments, in the strictest sense, they are. AB1660 was created simply to clarify this discrimination provision and separate establishments based on which laws apply to them. Housing, including rental properties and leased homes, are included in this, making it illegal to refuse an applicant based solely on the type of driver’s license they hold. In the state of California, an undocumented immigrant’s license will work.

With that clarification comes the answer to the other questions asked, and the answer to most of them is a simple and resounding “yes”. Landlords are allowed to ask for a government-issued ID as well as the applicant’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, and current address, but they aren’t allowed to request things like work authorization. Even in the case of requesting a Social Security number, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number can be substituted without cause for rejection. Even a lack of SSN or TIN is no cause for the client to be turned away, as there are other methods of identity verification to be explored.

All laws applicable to US citizens also apply to undocumented immigrants in the case of a housing application. Illegal immigrants can be sued, held to leases, prosecuted, and held responsible for breaking contracts. Contracts are still legally valid and binding. Anyone 18 or older can sign a housing contract, regardless of immigration status or what license they carry.

For now, it’s important to know your rights as an undocumented immigrant, and to fight for your fair treatment when seeking housing. If you hold a license, federally valid or not, you’re entitled to use that license for many different things, and knowing what situations that license is valid in is an important part of holding it.

How do you feel that discrimination against AB 60 license carriers could be further controlled? What areas of life might these undocumented immigrants be discriminated against the most? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!