Landlord Calls ICE on Immigrant Couple for Requesting Deposit Back

Last updated: May 31, 2019 – 1:40 PM

Getting their security deposit back was supposed to be a simple task. All they needed to do is tell their old landlord where to send the check. But for this immigrant couple, a routine housing transaction soon became a life-changing nightmare.

The northwest-side couple had just moved from their apartment, leaving it clean and tidy, and requested that their landlord return their security deposit. Instead of doing what is right, the landlord became irate and refused to return their money. The landlord even threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the husband, an undocumented immigrant.

A demonstrator holds a sign reading “No Human Is Illegal” during a protest in Chicago against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

Much to their shock and horror, he followed through on his threat. ICE came out and arrested the husband, who has been in their custody ever since. Now, a Chicago woman stands to lose much more than her security deposit. “This isn’t the first time we’ve received calls from renters whose landlords are threatening to call ICE on them”, said Javier Ruiz, a Hotline Counselor at MTO. This type of blatant, racist retaliation cannot and should not be tolerated in Chicago, a town that takes pride in its reputation as a sanctuary city. In 2018, A federal judge sided with Chicago, ruling that Trump does not have the authority to withhold federal funding just because it is a sanctuary city.

Today, we must resist policies like HUD’s proposed new rule that would prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing assistance. We must strengthen protections for undocumented Chicagoans. No human is “illegal”; landlords cannot be allowed to uproot families by reporting them to ICE! We must do all we can to ensure that no one is denied housing, public services, or resources based on their immigration status.

All 4 Comments

  1. Housing is a human right- race, ethnicity, status, family-size, creed, religion, sexuality, background, gender expression, age, mobility, etc should not impact a person or family’s accessibility to adequate, healthy, decent housing. Such a practices sustains and grows racism and exploitation in the country among its residents and citizens (including me). Freedom for ALL!!

  2. First things first…don’t rent to undocumented, and for the undocumented, get a sponsor with papers that will allow you to rent. PLAIN AND SIMPLE! Case closed.

    1. First things first Sharon, refusing to rent to someone because they are “undocumented” is illegal. So, you’re encouraging people to break the law, and do something that is immoral and wrong.

      Second, you don’t need a “sponsor” or “papers” to rent an apartment. In Chicago, Existing law prohibits a landlord or an agent from making any inquiry into the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant.

  3. Seem problems here on the north side. Landlords know that immigrant tenants don’t know their rights. And tenants are afraid to stand up to them for fear of losing their housing or worse. Some landlords, won’t write up proper leases either because don’t realize that when they rent out units supposedly don’t have knowledge of the CRLTO, thus not giving the tenant the proper forms, whether the tenants have an annual written lease or month-to-month.

    Some property management companies and independent landlords are real bullies and have come more brazen in their treatment of tenants, especially to those of whom they suspect not to be American citizens,

    Hmm, wonder how this became more acceptable, I ask sarcastically.

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