Mobile home park accused of discrimination
Sun Staff Reporter
A Mexican couple who tried to move into Greenlaw Mobile Home Park in Flagstaff allegedly was discouraged, discriminated against and ultimately denied access to a trailer they owned because it was located on the park's property.
Now the park owner faces a lawsuit brought against the company by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.
Goddard said the park managers acted illegally under the Arizona Fair Housing Act. Park owner Jean Osborne said the claims are inaccurate and have been "devastating" for the park owners.
The charges are being brought on behalf of homeowner Imelda Rivera Berumen, who purportedly was denied access to a trailer last summer that was donated to her and located at the Greenlaw park. Berumen told attorneys the park discouraged her from applying, and then denied four applications from her because they were incomplete. A fifth was accepted and then overturned because the manager believed a Social Security number of Berumen's co-applicant wasn't his, and his identification card was expired.
Berumen also allegedly was harassed by the managers threatening to call immigration services if she didn't stop complaining about the decision.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from refusing to rent, or requiring different terms and conditions, because of an applicant's national origin.
While Osborne said she wouldn't comment on the specifics of the case, she said the charges claiming racial discrimination are "unfair."
"Our park has a number of Hispanic people in it. Our managers are Hispanic. I can't understand why this has taken the turn it has," she said. "It's just so unfair."
Their application process for all tenants includes a Social Security number, birth date, current address and telephone number.
Berumen's application was denied because of too few credit references, length of employment, no credit line, and that a social security number on the application was fraudulent, according to court documents.
A number of park residents also told investigators that mobile home park manager Kathy Bayham has forbidden illegal immigrants to stay with family members who were legally living in the park, according to the document.
Osborne said this is the second incident the park has had since it was opened in 1965; the other one has been settled.
"Some of the claims that this lady has made are just not true. We deny them 100 percent," she said. "It's been a good, clean park for so many years. It's been a quiet park. Most of the people are really happy to be there. It's just been devastating for us."
Boot them out of the country NOW!!!!!!!!!
I'm noticing a trend..............
Farmworkers Sue FEMA Over Disaster Aid
The Associated Press
February 14, 2006
MIAMI -- A coalition of Florida farmworkers has sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency, alleging the government refused to help undocumented farmworkers displaced by hurricanes with housing because of their immigration status.
Many farmworkers who were denied federal help after their homes was destroyed were forced to live in cars and other dangerous situations, while trailers intended for emergency housing went unused, according to a lawsuit filed last week.
FEMA spokeswoman Debbie Wing on Monday declined to comment on the case.
The workers were denied short-term disaster housing during the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, including relocation to mobile homes or hotels, because they did not meet the government's definition of "qualified alien," the lawsuit said.
The Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations and the Farmworker Association of Florida said in the suit that federal law exempts short-term non-cash emergency disaster relief from restrictions based on immigration status.
Emergency aid from the government would have mitigated the effect of the storms on farmworker communities, according to the lawsuit, which asked the court to review FEMA's actions in withholding or delaying relief to undocumented farmworkers.
Hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 ravaged much of the housing used by farmworkers and the rural poor.
In one instance, FEMA brought 92 trailers to a mobile home park destroyed in 2004, but more than 40 of them were left unoccupied because of restrictions on their use by undocumented immigrants, according to the lawsuit.
The suit also names acting FEMA chief R. David Paulison as a defendant. It seeks a permanent injunction restraining the agency from denying emergency assistance to undocumented farmworkers and a judgment that the policy violates current federal law.
In 2005 alone, four hurricanes _ Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma _ caused $7.5 billion in insured damages and were blamed for 63 deaths in Florida.