News /

Illinois Bans Landlords From Considering Immigration Status When Renting Out Their Properties

Illinois has enacted a law that bans landlords from considering the immigration status of potential tenants when renting out their properties.

The bill, SB 1817, expands the Illinois Human Rights Act to include immigration status as a protected class and will go into effect in January 2024.

The law makes it a civil rights violation to refuse to rent or sell to an illegal alien by adding “protections in the Illinois Human Rights Act for housing regarding immigration status protection and discriminatory advertising.”

Additionally, a third-party loan service provider can no longer refuse services or alter the terms of their services based on a person’s immigration status.

State Sen. Ann Gillespie was behind the push to extend these civil rights rights for non-citizens, claiming that she wanted to make sure nobody was “unjustly denied housing.”

“This law sets clear boundaries, protecting the rights of immigrants and ensuring that financial institutions and service providers cannot engage in discriminatory practices,” Gillespie said in a statement. “Putting these protections in place will promote fairness to ensure people are not unjustly denied housing.”

“By making this change, we are breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for immigrants to establish homes and contribute to our communities,” Gillespie said. “Someone’s background should not disqualify them from buying or renting property.”

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker also signed a bill granting non-citizens access to state driver’s licenses.

Previously, non-citizens were able to apply for a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License, but can now obtain a standard license that is valid for four years. According to a report from Fox News, this legislation will impact over 300,000 people who currently hold temporary licenses.

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias compared the temporary licenses to a “Scarlet Letter” in a statement after Gov. Pritzker signed the law.

“TVDLs have become the ‘Scarlet Letter’ of an individual’s immigration status and sadly exposes them to discrimination or immigration enforcement,” said Giannoulias. “This legislation allows immigrants to obtain standard driver licenses that will serve as authentic identification in Illinois. It will help prevent the stigma, instances of discrimination, and problems that TVDLs have been known to cause while making roads safer and enabling immigrants to use a standard license as identification for basic necessities like filling prescriptions or renting an apartment.”

The governor said the law will decrease the “stigma” around “undocumented immigrants.”

“This legislation is a significant step in eliminating the barriers to opportunity that many undocumented immigrants face,” Pritzker said in a statement after signing the license law. “We’re ensuring every eligible individual can obtain a driver’s license, making our roads safer, decreasing stigma, and creating more equitable systems for all.”

“To be a welcoming state, we must ensure communities have the tools to truly feel welcomed. Providing access to a standard Illinois Driver’s License for our undocumented immigrants is about breaking down barriers that lead to discrimination and creating a pathway so everyone can drive safely on our roads,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “I applaud Governor JB Pritzker and Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias for their determination and commitment to making Illinois a safer and more equitable state for all our residents.”

*For corrections please email [email protected]*