NLIHC Joins Amicus Brief to Protect Immigrant Families’ Access to Housing

NLIHC joined the National Homelessness Law Center (NHLC), National Immigrant Law Center (NILC), and National Housing Law Project (NHLP) in an amicus brief supporting immigrant families who filed a fair housing case alleging national origin discrimination.

Four immigrant families (“Plaintiffs-Appellants”) filed suit against the Waples Mobile Home Park in Fairfax, Virginia, to challenge the park’s policy requiring all tenants to provide documentation of legal immigration status to renew their leases. The Plaintiffs-Appellants argued that the policy violates the “Fair Housing Act,” which protects against discrimination based on national origin. The brief states that the trial court’s decision to uphold this discriminatory policy runs contrary to long-standing frameworks that allow mixed-status families to secure housing assistance and other public benefits without proof of eligible immigration status. If upheld, the trial court’s decision could have a disastrous impact on undocumented and mixed-status families.

“Federal law does not require that private landlords inquire about or require their tenants to establish their citizenship or immigration status,” the brief states. “To allow a court to construct such a requirement and allow that faulty interpretation to shield allegations of discrimination would be extremely harmful to the millions of undocumented immigrants and mixed-status families.” The brief argues that such a policy would push immigrant families into more dangerous and unsafe housing conditions. “Congress has not merely acquiesced in the knowledge that some undocumented family members of eligible tenants reside in federally subsidized dwelling units – but has actively modified pre-existing legislation to allow it,” the brief states. The brief provides evidence of such federal programs to urge the appeals court to rule in favor of the Plaintiffs-Appellants.

NLIHC joined the brief due to the organization’s unyielding support for protecting immigrant families’ access to safe and secure housing.

Read the amicus brief at: