Immigrants, Cops and Slumlords in the Midwest
Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Vol. 29, No. 61, Fall 2004
33 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2009
Date Written: Fall 2004
This essay considers housing and rental issues impacting Latina/o immigrants in the Midwest with two legal concerns underscoring its focus. Part III addresses the use of police officers in housing inspection law and its intersection with property and landlord tenant law. In Illinois, the immigrant presence is also primarily of Mexican ancestry with approximately four percent of the total comprising the undocumented community. In Bensenville, Illinois, landlord Steve Trojan believes officials target and charge him with violating occupancy laws because of his Latina/o residents. Housing code inspection raids, comparable to drug raids, thus breach a tenant's privacy interest, quiet use and enjoyment of the unit, and yet fail to protect a community's health and safety standards. A tenant's legal interest sustains additional harm when after an inspection raid housing officials immediately eject the tenants. Several housing conditions in DeKalb emphasized the need for a landlord/tenant ordinance. Partly in response to the Latina/o Law Students and others, the former mayor of DeKalb organized a task force to determine whether a landlord/Tenant Ordinance was necessary. This essay accordingly makes a plea for statewide landlord/tenant law that considers the effects attached to slum housing in general.
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