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Illinois Becomes 2nd State In US To Enact Immigrant Tenant Protection Law

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a new measure Wednesday to protect tenants from being evicted based on their citizenship or immigration status.

The Immigration Tenant Protection Act goes into effect immediately. Under the law, landlords cannot evict or intimidate tenants by threatening to disclose their status to any person, entity or law enforcement agency.

If a landlord or property owner tries to evict, retaliates or reports an immigrant or their families, those affected can bring a civil suit against the landlord for damages and injuries as a result of the action. The landlords can also be fined up to $2,000 for each violation as well as attorneys fees.

"Where you were born has nothing to do with the ability to pay rent on time, which is what the relationship between a landlord and a tenant should really be about," Pritzker said. "We're making Illinois the first state in the Midwest to protect our immigrant tenants and give them a little more relief in these tumultuous times."

Illinois State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is one of the bill's sponsors.

"Tenants should feel free to come forward and report these important habitability issues no matter their status," Castro said.

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