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Immigrants and Fair Housing

While the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on national origin, it does not directly forbid discrimination based on non-citizenship or immigration status. Therefore, housing policies that restrict housing only to those who are citizens are not on their face in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Indeed federal statutes restrict immigrants from certain housing programs, including subsidized housing and housing vouchers.

Nonetheless, all persons including immigrants and undocumented immigrants are protected from discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, or any of the other protected classes in the Fair Housing Act. Consequently a policy where immigrants who are Hispanic are asked for documentation proving their status but not immigrants from Canada would be illegal.

Undocumented immigrants may be fearful to complain for fear of deportation; however, federal policies offer some protection to undocumented aliens who file fair housing complaints.

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