Posted: 4/18/2008 4:42:31 PM EDT
I don't get it, instead of "fair housing" shouldn't illegals get DEPORTED?
State housing commission to lose federal funding due to illegal immigration case
Friday, Apr 18, 2008 - 09:19:50 am CDT
The Associated Press
OMAHA - A federal agency is immediately pulling funding from a Nebraska commission designed to fight housing discrimination, citing in part the state attorney general’s refusal to prosecute a case on behalf of two illegal immigrants.
A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development official said Thursday that it would no longer reimburse the state for pursuing discrimination cases and would stop forwarding complaints it receives to the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.
“We believe that the people of Nebraska are not gaining their full rights under federal fair housing laws - so we can’t let that happen,” Bryan Greene of the Housing and Urban Development department told The Associated Press.
The decision cannot be appealed, but the federal agency can choose to refund the state in 30 days if it improves, Greene said. Otherwise, the state commission could be decertified, leaving the federal agency to pursue Nebraska landlords who violate U.S. civil rights laws.
“It’s not something we do lightly,” said Greene, who noted that local and state agencies elsewhere have been decertified in the past, but not frequently.
Nebraska was informed of the decision in a letter from Housing and Urban Development received Thursday.
Greene said 37 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 70 other municipalities get funding from Housing and Urban Development, but are required to have laws and policies comparable to federal housing laws. Otherwise, the federal agency takes the cases.
Nebraska gets $2,400 in federal money for each case it investigates, said Anne Hobbs, executive director of the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission. Hobbs estimates the commission would lose $240,000 annually if can’t satisfy federal officials.
“We would lose a significant number of staff,” she said. “It starts to have kind of a domino effect” on other commission functions.
The commission - which also pursues job discrimination and public accommodation cases - expected to meet Friday to decide what to do next.
The commission has bitterly fought with Attorney General Jon Bruning over his refusal to file lawsuits based on complaints forwarded to his office.
After the commission forwarded the latest case involving the illegal immigrants, Bruning said the state should consider shutting down the commission entirely. He said he would not use taxpayer money to pursue a case on behalf of an illegal immigrant, even if he or she had a legitimate complaint.
Greene said that drew concern from federal officials because, under the federal Fair Housing Act, aggrieved people are covered regardless of immigration status.
The case involved a Lincoln couple that filed a complaint with the commission alleging they were discriminated against by their landlord. According to both Hobbs and Bruning, the landlord asked the complainants to provide drivers’ licenses after becoming concerned that too many people were living in the apartment.
“We’re concerned about this rather broad statement that the attorney general can pick and choose which cases to bring,” Greene said.
Since 2003, the commission has forwarded 41 cases to Bruning’s office, but only one was prosecuted and none has gone to trial, according to the commission.
But, according to Bruning’s office, it’s actually pursued 22 of the 58 cases its received from the commission.
Bruning has said shoddy casework by commission staff limits the number of cases he can pursue.
Hobbs said she planned to recommend that the commission take legal action against Bruning to force him to prosecute cases the commission forwards.
In a statement released by his office Thursday, Bruning said his office and the state commission are working on a memorandum of understanding that should address the concerns raised by federal housing agency.
What I think is that cities and their agencies that are "sanctuaries" or otheriwse do not cooperate with ICE omn the detection and deporation of illegal aliens should lose ALL federal funding.