NY Daily News Article
A state senator — furious after a Queens landlord sent letters to tenants demanding they prove they’re in the country legally or risk eviction — filed a complaint on Monday with the state attorney general’s office.
State Sen. Jose Peralta said the owners of 95-36 42nd Ave. in Corona violated the rights of the tenants by sending the letters.
“This is unreal, and sadly, it seems that it’s open season against immigrants since the election of Donald Trump,” he said. “My district is the United Nations of all senatorial districts, and I am not going to tolerate this, or any other form of discrimination.
Peralta noted that New York is a sanctuary city.
“No one should be asking for legal proof of residency, and much less threatening people if they don’t comply,” he added. “This is unthinkable in 2017 New York City. This is unthinkable in 2017 Queens, the most diverse borough in the city.”
The Daily News first reported the story on its website on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told The News the letter is “abhorrent.”
“We’re living in such incredible times, where people feel emboldened to flagrantly abuse vulnerable individuals, and also defy the law,” she said. “In New York, we’ll never ask anyone’s immigration status.”
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She encouraged anyone who encountered this kind of behavior to report it, calling it a tactic to instill fear.
“We knew that something like this was bound to happen when people feel emboldened in this climate to defy the laws and intimidate people,” she said. “At the end of the day, what this is about is probably getting people out of the apartment so they can raise the rent.”
Assemblyman Francisco Moya also invoked the era of Trump.
“It is absolutely shameful that any New York City landlord, let alone one in a community as diverse as Corona, would stoop so low as to bully and threaten residents into revealing their immigration status,” he said.
“This is a direct result of Donald Trump’s cavalier hate-mongering, creating the impression that behavior like (the owner’s) is now acceptable or even encouraged.”
Antonio Meloni of Immigration Advocacy Services in Queens noted that the city’s housing court doesn’t ask whether people are citizens.
“The landlord is going to try anything he can to get the person out, but legally the judge would not allow it,” Meloni said. “He’s, of course, hoping that they get scared. It happens every once in a while.”
When confronted with the letter by The News on Sunday, the landlord, Jaideep Reddy, apologized.
“That’s wrong,” he said. “I’ll retract that. I’m sorry.”
He blamed the building’s electrician Eddie Peralta, who promptly blamed his secretary and also mentioned Trump.
“What Donald Trump is doing is right. People need to become legal!” he hollered. “Look what we do for all these illegal aliens, and what do they do? They commit homicides. They go raping people.”